Monday, 16 September 2013

Snail Party!

The Snail Park lived up to it's name well and truly today...
after a downpour of rain we went outside in the hope to splash in puddles and get wet in the downpour - but as we went out the downpour stopped and the sun tried to get out... the path turned river that we had thought of playing with vanished as quickly as it had appeared - the water was evaporating before our very eyes... so what about snails... maybe we would find a few today...

A few..
in the end we lost count... but it was more than 50 I can tell you that...

the children were fascinated about how they would climb over each other - were they fighting, or hugging, or just not aware of each other?

We were also fascinated by the variety - not only of the beautiful shells with their different patterns and colours - but also their slimey bodies came in different colours too! And some were big and some were middle sized and some were REALLY small!
there was a lot of gentle touching... the children are more familiar with the snails now - and even the ones that had shown a great deal of fear or disinterest before the summer break were now fully focussed on getting to know the snails.

after a while some of the children started to do their usual climb walking - from one end to the other of the fencing... this time they paused - MORE snails and they were feasting on rosehips by the look of things...

the children decided that all the snails should get to try the rosehips - so all 50 something snails were transported over - ALL the children were involved in this.

and here the snails got to have their party. PLENTY discussions about whether snails HAD to be at the party and whether or not they were free to leave when they wanted... and did the snails really want to be placed on top of each other like building blocks, or would they want more space... not easy questions to answer...

There was also spiders to be spotted, woodlice to follow and the rain had also given us the opportunity to play with the water on the leaves.

A busy morning in the Snail Park!

Reflection December 2013
Without a shadow of a doubt the snail park is the children's favourite park... even now when there is virtually no vegetation left, we don't really find snails or other forms of wildlife (although the bushes are now filled with birds (sparrows) seeking warmth together). Ellen and I have often wondered why THIS park is their favourite - maybe it is because this is the "park" we visit the most as it is closest - when we don't have much time to walk to the park and play then we play in the snail park. This means the children have developed a relationship with the park - and this relationship offers a kind of security that allows their play to develop rather than always discovering. New parks ARE fabulous for meeting the new and challenging - but they do not always allow children to deepen their own understanding of their own play - of trying things over and over and over again - and adding new twists and adding new challenges...
Looking back at the snails I see that interacting with wildlife is an excellent and natural way to help the children develop and act upon their sense of empathy. It's a shame that we are unlikely to see snails again until late April (if we are lucky) or May.
Animals ARE a great way for children to develop their sense of empathy... so maybe I will have to see if there is a way we can inorporate that into our routine and include it in the project "Tillsammans på Torget" (Together on the Square) - again I am thinking big, and I am not sure of time, possibility etc etc... but rather too many ideas to choose from than no ideas at all...

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