On Friday we constructed shelters out of snow. Everyone was active — parents and teacher included, down on our hands and knees, scooping snow — working together to make a giant mound of snow, and later digging it out. I worked with one of the student groups and was amazed by their enthusiasm and motivation. One student cheered us on, telling us how great we were doing and another pointed out good spots to excavate snow. Everyone was engaged and so proud of our hard work. We also talked about our basic needs — food, water, fire, shelter — and which one would be top priority if we had to fend for ourselves in conditions like Friday’s.
When we took a break to let the snow settle, we did a sit spot, where each person finds a spot to sit quietly and see what they notice. It’s silent and still for 5-10 minutes. My favourite sharing when we came back together was from one student, whose experience and description was identical to my own. He noted the sound of the snowflakes landing on his hat, and drawing his attention to the sensation of the snowflakes melting on different parts of his face.
Friday enhanced the children’s resilience and mindfulness, communication and cooperation skills, gratitude and joy. There is nothing like an outdoor classroom!