Wild Child is all about learning the art of being in nature. We work to help the children deepen the understanding of the world they sense, and build up the knowledge of connection a little bit at a time. One of the most important components of the Wild Child program is getting children out into natural areas. Having children experience a new space is one of the easiest ways to get them engaged and excited. All of the games and activities are designed to get them to use their senses more fully, inhabit their bodies, use their imaginations, and ask questions.
Sierra Club's Wild Child Blog
I'm so excited to start this adventure with the children of PEI!
There is magic in nature. As a small kid growing up in the PEI countryside I climbed trees, swam in streams, & watched the shadows of clouds race by on the hillsides in my valley. My earliest memories are of being fascinated by the tiny life all around me in overgrown meadows and the peace I felt sitting in the tall plants waving in the ever present summer breezes. I counted the tiny white moths, lady-bugs, and earthworms as my friends. I held countless little lives in my hands; toads, frogs, garter and northern redbelly snakes, and my all time favourite; spotted salamanders!
The last two weeks have concluded my scheduled visits for Wild Child (although I do have make-up visits scheduled for next week due to all the snow days!). These weeks have been really fun. I have noticed that the by my 3rd, 4th, and 5th visits that relationship with children really starts to become more evident. I remember many childrens names and we can recount experiences from my past visits. Children’s excitement levels seem to increase with each visit. I have also noticed increased comfortability in myself as I revisit each daycare. In terms of relationship building and material retainment, I am curious how a week long visit to each daycare would compare to the bi-weekly visit approach that I have taken. This may be something that the next season of Wild Child could consider trying.
The last two weeks has really shown me that there is a large amount of community interest and support to get children back into nature. Perhaps you saw the segment on CBC’s Compass with Boomer or made it out to the fundraiser for the Wild Child Program, or maybe you will pick up the Guardian this week and read about Wild Child in the paper.. regardless, the support for this program has been great and is very encouraging to those interested in getting nature programs into childcare and education systems. From news stories to fundraisers, I am getting the notion that people genuinely want children to reconnect with nature. What an inspiring message!
Two weeks of stormy, cold, snowy weather can put quite the damper on outdoor fun... so sometimes you have to bring “the wild” inside!
On the days where it is too cold for the little ones to venture out into the snow, there is a giant blue tub of animal items that I bring them. There is a little bit of everything in this tub, including: a beaver pelt, coyote skull, robin’s nest, porcupine quills, barred owl wing, and turtle shell (to name a few).
I journey my way through Charlottetown, meeting some of the most interesting individuals with the most profound messages and ideas you could imagine encountering. What do I do? I play with kids in nature!!
Over the past month, children in Charlottetown and surrounding areas have had the opportunity to take part in an environmental education program that is designed to support children in exploring, experiencing, and playing in nature.
A second Sierra Club Wild Child Nature Immersion Program is underway in PEI, only this time: it’s winter fun!
It is truly an amazing experience to slow down and let our imaginations wonder. At one visit, the kids and I made up a game called “Chipmunks” all on our own while we were discussing animals that need trees to live. The game was a relay design where children had to run to a tree, grab a nut or pinecone (we used whatever we had on hand), then run back to their “hole” to store the nut for the winter and tag the next person in line. The first team to go to the tree and back twice “won” the round. As the weeks unravel, I become more amazed at the creative minds of the children I meet. My visits are a valuable reminder of why play and imagination are key to healthy, engaged living.