The “noticing rock” is part of the morning routine at Nature’s Niños Nature-based bi-lingual Pre-K in East Montpelier. The boisterous group that ran up the hill gathering piles of grass all settled into silence for a moment on the “noticing rock.” Facing all directions the youngsters noted different colors of grasses, the lighting, and a few last leaves. Teacher Betsy Barstow has built this quiet reflection into the routine as a balance to active play, or as she says, “time to breathe in and out.” Active play in the forest mud kitchen, the rope “spider web”, and games of hide and seek are balanced with stories and sharing gratitude. Leaving the forest, the children again take a quiet moment of reflection to look back on the forest, remember their time there, and say thank you and goodbye.

“Spider web”

Betsy allows time for the group to “Go slowly, be open to what happens. Let children take the lead.” One day her students spent the morning following a turkey, closely observing and wondering where the turkey would go next. She says, “I wish every child had the opportunity to be in the moment and follow a turkey!”

Male Wild Turkey. Mcvoorhis, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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