A Sense of Place

Have you ever thought about how living in a place can shape you and the life you live?

I live on the southern tip of an island.  It is a big island; big enough that I’ve never actually driven far enough to see the northern towns of Port Hardy, Port McNeil and Coal Harbour.  Still, living on an island means that I am limited to where I can go by car.  And it also means that unless I want to limit my entire life to staying put on that island, I’ll need to travel by ferry (less costly) or by plane to see other parts of the world.  IMG_4851

Ferry travel shapes our lives here on Vancouver Island.  So much that my preschoolers’ play frequently features ferry boats.  They build ferry boats that have room to carry cars and people.  They create ramps for cars and people to walk or drive onto the ferries, and they even rescue people from the water, tossing in life preservers.  It is a pleasure to watch the ferry boats become more complex with moving parts and new ways to transport people and vehicles.










Here, we all understand what it means to wait for a ferry.  To miss a ferry and for those of us who’ve spent our lives using ferries as a means of travel, we know how it feels to be the last car on the ferry.

How does the place you live influence your life?  What methods of travel are popular where you live? How do children come to understand their sense of place in your community?  What is your sense of place in the world?

Feel free to leave a comment!




When the Ocean Becomes the Teacher

Here’s a fascinating learning story from a recent trip to the beach with our smaller outdoor program group.  We often say that the environment is the third teacher.  This story is a great example of how that can work.

D thought it would be fun to “launch” a small driftwood log out into the ocean. Then he and J would wait patiently for the waves to bring the log back to the point where they could actually reach out and get the log. They did this over and over many times.  In fact I marvelled at how long they spent with the task considering the fact that there was a lot of watching and waiting involved.

They both had to use some self-regulation to keep from wading right into the water and huge amounts of patience as the waves were barely a ripple and each time it took several minutes for the log to finally come within reach.

Can you think of a more fun way to learn patience?  I cannot!  If we told the children “today we are going to practice patience,” it would probably be met with a huge groan or protest.  And yet this was a pastime that seemed like it might continue all morning!

Then I asked about what might help get the log back faster.  (I couldn’t let the ocean be the only teacher that day.) D had two ideas:

He explained we either needed a wave maker to create bigger waves or something long to help reach the log from a further distance.

Problem-solving at its best!

Reflecting on these ordinary moments shows me what a great teacher the ocean can be and why the outdoor classroom is so valuable.

The best classroom and the richest cupboard is roofed only by the sky.   -Margaret McMillan

Mini Blog Tour

Hello Readers!

A wicked migraine has visited me this week so not much excitement for blogging I’m sad to say.  But at least you know I’m a real person and not a blogging machine.

Just in case you are interested, I am trying to get a little more exposed to the world beyond this little blog simply.cindy so I have the privilege of posting on Roberta Pimentel’s blog every second Monday (I’m doing a series titled Tiny Humans) and on May 19th, I get the privilege of appearing on Norah Colvin’s blog blog in her monthly author spotlight!  Yay!

Thanks for stopping by simply.cindy and I hope to have some more fun posts for you soon.


Swings and Sharing

We are very fortunate to have three swings in our preschool’s outdoor play area.  Swings take up a lot of space so it can be difficult to fit them in and yet, they provide so much enjoyment.  The challenge with swings is sharing.

Often, once a child is on the swing that child does not want to stop.  It is way too much fun. And there lies the problem.  We have 15 children and 3 swings.  And we have several avid swingers in the group. We can set a timer but then the adults are helping and the goal is self–regulation so how do we get there?


Here’s an excellent example.  Today was a gray windy day and when A decided to get off the swing I commented, “Thank you for sharing the swing with your friend, he looks really happy to get a turn; I am so proud of you.”  Then I gave her a hug.

Child’s response: ” That’s because I’m a nice girl.  I share sometimes.  I share on windy days.”

Notice I didn’t say “Good job!” or “Well done!” or give any praise.  I just thanked her, hugged her and told her I was proud.  Then she happily came to her own conclusion.

Will she share the swing next time?  I guess we have to wait for a windy day 😉

“Trust yourself.  You know more than you think you do.” -Benjamin Spock

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