Earlier this year, some local moms started talking about what their 2, 3 and 4-year-olds would be doing in the fall. Some would be in school, some would not. From that discussion grew the idea of an outdoor-based play group … and what better location than the EcoVillage? With fields, woods, gardens, and playgrounds, there are endless nooks and crannies for young ones to explore.
The parents were so enthusiastic about the idea that we suddenly had 20 families on the list to participate! We split the group in two, with half meeting up on Monday mornings and the other half meeting on Thursdays mornings. We gathered for the first time this week. After meeting each other, both groups received a tour from caretaker “Grammy Jojo” (Joanie Freeman). She won the hearts of kids and adults instantly by warmly inviting us to use the EcoVillage any time. “This is not just my home – this is a place for all of you, so use it any time you want. Come for events, or just bring the kids over any time to play.” Then we met the goats and chickens. The kids swarmed around them happily!
There’s not much that we need to teach the kids – they already know how to get dirty, make toys out of leaves, sticks and grass, hide in tunnels made by small holes in the bushes, make new friends, negotiate the rules of games, jump from high places, run freely through fields, pet animals gently, eat ripe cherry tomatoes like candy, and laugh from their bellies. With all of this innate knowledge, the parents mostly just stand back and enjoy watching our little ones exploring the beautiful outdoors.
The play groups will continue to meet weekly from 9:30AM – noon on Mondays and Thursdays. Each week, we begin with songs and games in circle time and then various parents will coordinate weekly activities, leaving plenty of time for free play and exploration. We’ll be out there rain or shine, having fun in all kinds of weather.