Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Recent Happenings at FVFS

Seems it's time for an update of the recent goings on at Fraser Valley Free School!

We are lucky to have found Britannia, a creative, energetic teacher who values self directed learning, exploration and imaginative play. She has been facilitating the classes, introducing new activities, project themes and spending time getting to know the kids and their interests. 

The kids have been busy playing, making and exploring. We have built a storage unit to make it easier for them to direct their own activities by accessing materials and cleaning up independently. They are loving the convenient access to their supplies.

They have been exploring monster creations, knights, cardboard construction, science experiments, valentines art, paper airplanes, clay animals, catapults and much more. 


   


   


We have invited mentors to come in and share their knowledge and expertise. Jessica Bouchard, a local artist, introduced the kids to multi­ media art. They experimented by incorporating crushed rocks, gems, pompoms, feathers and other materials in their paintings and each took home a canvas of their own art creations. We noticed a few weeks later, some kids were using this new skill as they created independently. It was cool to see that connection stick.


   

We also had Kidz Construction Crew visit. Lily the Lego Lady brought lots of lego blocks and great ideas for collaborative and individual projects. She taught the kids how to make their lego structures stable and what pieces could be used to make parts of animals (antlers, hoofs etc). She also led a workshop focusing on constructing mazes. She demonstrated how to build the walls and leave spaces in the labyrinth for marbles to roll. She had helpful ideas about how to organize and store Lego too. Great math days for sure!





     


    
We took our first field trip to The Reptile Guy in Abbotsford to visit his many reptiles. He was engaging and fun. The kids were captivated by his knowledge and displays of danger as the
Snapping Turtle, Martha, bit a full water bottle in half with her large beak. He encouraged the kids to hold snakes, lizards and turtles. Some of the kids loved it, some were more hesitant and enjoyed just observing. He also helped some of the adults face their own fears of snakes and tarantulas!





 

A nice rhythm has been developing at the school. We begin the day with circle time consisting of a brief meditation, story and game. We then break off into smaller groups for sharing. If kids (or adults) bring something they've made, there is an opportunity to share, ask for ideas and talk together. 
Sharing is usually followed by free play in the gym and then project work in the classrooms. Kids will focus on whatever project idea has been introduced, continue with a pre-existing interest/project or play freely. There is usually a mix of activities happening as the kids are free to choose how they wish to spend their time.
We often have a second session in the gym where the focus is on organized games for those who enjoy that.


    




         



The collaborative approach of teacher, parents and students help us figure out what the kids may want to explore next. We've noticed if some of the kids are not interested in the activities provided they find ways to make and create things that are applicable to whatever type of creative play they are interested in. Play is a driving factor for children. Given the freedom to imagine, create and pretend together they learn about communication, problem solving, and conflict resolution. The opportunities for learning are endless. When learning is valued in every part of life there is joy, freedom, engagement and sense of pride in what has been accomplished.

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