Learning Story – Noticing Spring Coming on the Land

Learning Story – Noticing Spring Coming on the Land 

The Week of March 28, 2023

What Happened?

We were so happy to be back together at Bushkids after March break, and to be noticing many signs of spring coming on the Land.

During opening circle, the Bushkids shared knowledge they had about animals that hibernate (that may soon be coming out of hibernation!), animals that change colour between winter and spring (such as ptarmigan and snowshoe hare), and animals such as birds that migrate great distances at this time of year.

We did a sit spot after opening circle and asked everyone to be as silent as they could to notice the sights, sounds, smells, and feel of the Land and how it is changing at this time of year. The Bushkids were so quiet and attentive, it seemed like they didn’t want this quiet time to end! They noticed many
changes right away, such as dirt and bare rock appearing on the sliding hill, lichen visible on the rocks, less snow on the trees, squirrels and other animals getting busier, and a fresh breeze.

We went to Fairy Fortress and noticed big changes since last month – the icicles that used to cover the steep rock face were nearly all gone. We climbed across a big tree that has fallen onto the lake and wondered if we will still be able to play on this tree in a few weeks as the lake starts to melt. We dug into the soil and small rocks around the roots of the fallen tree – it’s
been a long time since we’ve been able to do this! The sun was warm and many of us got super hot and sweaty from all the climbing and hiking and walking through deep snow – it’s good to bring lots of extra clothes at this time of year when the temperature changes so much throughout the day and it’s easy to get wet.

Why is it Important?

At Bushkids, one of our principles is Land Leads Learning – we take our cues and often our learning plans from how the Land is changes with the seasons. This is an excellent time to learn about how animals, plants and the landscape respond and adapt to seasonal changes. It is also an excellent time to practice our skills of observation with all of our senses, investigation and inquiry, including coming up with interesting questions to pursue.

What Does This Mean For Next Time?

Several questions arose during opening circle about hibernation – such as when do bears come out of hibernation around Yellowknife and in other parts of the Northwest Territories, and how do they know when to come out of hibernation? The educators committed to do some research and revisit this topic in a future session. 

Some of our Bushkids families have been fortunate to recently harvest caribou and muskox, and generously offered to share it with the Bushkids, so we expect in the coming weeks to be preparing caribou and muskox meat and revisiting our sharing circles and discussion about these important northern animals and how they have helped to sustain and shape the identity of northern peoples.