Reverence and respect in Jackson Park

It was a privilege to watch our home child care crew pick up litter as they showed appreciation for their world. We walked tenderly and with purpose on the land which we enjoy and know to be traditional Anishnaabe territory. The enthusiasm which the children brought to this seemingly mundane work allowed me to reflect on the joy children see in their world.

Their perseverance allowed me to consider my own determination and ability to be present in each and every moment. These children saw a job which needed to be done, persisted in achieving their goal, and did so happily and gladly. If that isn’t inspiring I don’t know what is! As we continued on our way, the children stopped to view the water level and the path which the water had taken earlier in the season when the ground was saturated. I feel lucky that we are able to observe the changes in the water patterns, and see how the weather affects the water which lives within our forest and we survive because of.

What does this tell us about the delicate balance of our eco system? Expanding upon this study of water we perched upon a hill near the water closed our eyes, and listened. “I hear the water moving fast!” said Ada. When we opened our eyes we focused on the beauty around us, watching a grackle hop from rock to rock in the water.

During play a friend stopped what they were doing and exclaimed “I see the sunshine!!” The light was streaming through the trees and the situation of the sun in relation to the branches provided such a beautiful, glowing picture. I was moved by how enchanting this simple encounter with the sunshine was for our friends.

As I watched the friends move sticks over logs, climb hills, swat bugs, chat with one another about their plan for their fort, and discover new and exciting flora I reflected on how I could support both their cognitive and physical development in this beautiful space.

There was a lot of interest in the trajectory of large sticks. It was a delight to watch Riley drag a stick over the log in her way. Ada used her whole body to propel herself over the fallen tree in front of her which was more than half her height.

In this free, opened ended space filled with limitless possibilities I saw only competence, wonder, excitement, cooperation and passion. I cannot wait to add a few provocations which support an interest in local flora (we found many types of fungi, made willow tree crowns, and collected maple keys) and movement of materials and bodies within the woods.

~ Emily Warren, Home Child Care Consultant