The Grade 5/6 class has just returned from a wonderful day of fun and camaraderie at Heron Walk, an outdoor education centre in Norfolk County. I was struck by how happy and carefree the children were when the other parents and I arrived to join them for dinner and a closing circle. While we adults only got a small glimpse into what their day was like – trust building activities such as walking blindfolded while being led by classmates, decisions on whether to go through or around the mud (one group shied away and another enthusiastically embraced the goo), yoga exercises, eating wild strawberries, playing with kittens, learning how to be focused and direct their energies for a common purpose – by all accounts it was a joyful occasion.
This year, I have had the privilege of actually participating in two other such events – camping trips. Both times I was impressed with how, after about a day, the kids really seemed to come together in a different way. They lost their set ideas of how they “should” act together and relaxed into just BEing together. Experiencing something bigger than themselves, whether it be running in the sand at the Pinery or splashing in the creek at the Olympiad, brought them closer together. I believe the bonding that happens during these outings really helps them feel held and supported by each other long after the event itself.
As these young people move into adolescence and all that comes with it, I really appreciated today how our children played. They were simply children enjoying each other and their surroundings. No worrying about if their hair looked OK or if that girl smiled at them because she likes them. Just the gift of being with people they like and feel comfortable with. I know this will change all too soon, it is starting already, but I really cherish these opportunities they have been given.
As adults, we want to do what we can to foster this sense of rightness with the world, with themselves, and with others. Meaningful class trips are one more way we strengthen them as individuals and as a group and help to prepare them for what lies ahead. Just another Ordinary Miracle at Waldorf.