If I asked you about your favourite childhood memories and most memorable play experiences, what would they be?
I am so fortunate to have had many wonderful childhood memories. I grew up in North Vancouver near the foot of Grouse Mountain where the forest began just outside our backyard and extended up to the top of the mountain. I spent many happy days playing in the woods with the children in the neighbourhood. I didn’t know it then but I was a very lucky child to have the forest as my playground.
One of my vivid memories involves a time when we were walking along the trail and came upon a fallen tree. The tree had fallen in just the right spot to create a natural seesaw and we were in heaven. Somehow, nature’s seesaw is so much better than a brightly coloured playground see saw that is man made. We had a fabulous time playing on that fallen tree and didn’t come home until we were called for dinner.
Fast forward to today and my preschool class with our most recent trip to the beach. The children had the idea of carrying pieces of driftwood around and arranging them into a design. There was one really long piece that required four children and Teacher Cindy to carry. It was heavy but we were able to move it around. And then a magical thing happened.
We put the driftwood down on top of another piece of driftwood and voila! It quickly became evident that we had a natural beach “sea-saw” made of driftwood. D and J sat down right away to give it a try and pretty soon they realized that 5 or 6 children could all ride the see saw at once. Such cooperation! It was great to see many children together enjoying the same experience. It was like the see saw brought them together. Yes, it totally took me back to my own childhood!
It is times like this as a preschool teacher that I know I have found my calling. I am living and breathing my passion every day. These are the moments when I feel I am good at what I do. I am making a difference in the lives of children by taking them outdoors and giving them time to play. I know I am appreciated by their parents who give a lot of time and energy towards the preschool. And though the work I do is not high paying, it is fulfilling and that is what makes it easy to get up and go each and every day. This makes me feel so incredibly grateful.
I know the children were sad to leave. The loose parts of the beach present so many possibilities. I could empathize and didn’t want to tear them away but I knew we would be back for more beach adventures. You can’t beat nature’s playground!
What are your fondest memories from childhood?