Schoolyards aren’t often the best place to go exploring. Most of the excitement has been tamed out of them in the interest of safety. They are mowed, and raked, the equipment inspected and rules established. They are fun but they aren’t known for adventure. That’s why we take community walks, so that we can have those exciting experiences of not always knowing what’s around the corner. We can’t always leave the property, however, as community walks require extra adults.
Fortunately, there are often corners of wilderness left standing around the edges of the schoolyard, small areas where small people can feel like they are stepping into a great unknown, where the mowers don’t go and where the goldenrod grows higher than your head.
It all started because of our fascination with ice.
The puddles in the schoolyard have been icing over as the temperature dips below freezing each night.
The children have been fascinated by the sheets of thin ice that are floating on the surface each morning and take delight in smashing it, feeling it, and in spite of our best efforts, tasting it.
Once they’ve exhausted the supply of ice near the school, they go in search of more ice, in the smaller puddles in the field.
This quest lead them to the back of the field where the grass grows long and there is a patch of brush that probably resembles what the landscape looked like 50 years ago, before our school was built. The ground is squishy and soft and in places there is a lot of standing water. The children were undeterred and plunged into the brush. BU said: “This is a great adventure.”
We found frost on one side of the field and noticed that there wasn’t frost on the other side. We wondered why.
KN thought it was because it had snowed on one side but not on the other. AQ noticed that there was only frost where the sun wasn’t shining and she inferred that the frost had already melted on the sunny side of the field.
FN found grass and plants frozen into the ice.
We have also been having conversations about why some ice is clear and other ice is white, we have observed ice melting, and we have also tried painting with ice!
Bring on the cold!