Reflecting beauty, harmony, goodness

There was a child went forth every day; 
and the first object he look’d upon, that object he became;
and that object became part of him for the day, 
or a certain part of the day,
or for many years, or stretching cycles of years. 
The early lilacs became part of this child, 
and grass, and white and red morning-glories, 
and white and red clover, 
and the song of the phoebe-bird,
and the third-month lambs, 
and the sow’s pink-faint litter, 
and the mare’s foal, and the cow’s calf… 
Walt Whitman


 The soft, furry head of a rabbit reflects and calls forth the native tenderness inside a child

The soft, furry head of a rabbit reflects and calls forth the native tenderness inside a child

Nature as a mirror

SOLA endeavors to provide an environment and immersive experiences that reflect the beauty, harmony, and goodness of the world around the young child.  In this way, they learn to reflect- 'to become'- these qualities as they develop, learn and grow.

CHildren are given time to see, sense, experience and feel the goodness of nature through time spent with their animal friends on our farm, during forest exploration, and while carefully tending vegetable and flower gardens.  They begin to recognize how  nature reflects goodness by giving itself to them freely, just as they tenderly, graciously offer their laughter, reverence and care to the natural world.

 In the orchard, the apple trees reflect to children that all things grow and thrive- and offer sweet treats-  when cared for with loving hands.

In the orchard, the apple trees reflect to children that all things grow and thrive- and offer sweet treats-  when cared for with loving hands.

 
 Compassionate guidance during a watercolor activity

Compassionate guidance during a watercolor activity

Modeling human virtue

Our SOLA Kinder-forest teachers lead the children through their daily work and play cycle with gentleness, encouragement and reassurance. As the guiding energies- the 'moon and sun'- of the classroom, they embody an authentic, peaceful, centered presence for the children. Kind words, kind hands, and kind thoughts and feelings are modeled and communicated.  While the teachers lead and guide, they also work collaboratively alongside the children- knitting, cleaning, preparing snack, singing, and holding the integrity and wholeness of the circle of companionship. 

 Leading children into the forest on a rainy Spring morning, a teacher invites the children to experience the wetness of rain, the green-ness of grass, and budding apple blossoms

Leading children into the forest on a rainy Spring morning, a teacher invites the children to experience the wetness of rain, the green-ness of grass, and budding apple blossoms


 Friends mimicking silly faces during a nature walk

Friends mimicking silly faces during a nature walk

Peer mirroring in The mixed-age kindergarten

A mixed-age kindergarten provides fertile ground for older and younger children to share leadership roles as they model or mimic playfulness, kindness, respect, care, and of course....silliness!  Older children assist or comfort younger ones, mimicking the care and reassurance they are given by their teachers, parents or other adults. Younger children readily learn respect and reverence as they witness and experience these qualities in slightly older children.  Within the fellowship of work and play, the children develop their ability to work with and empathy for others and awaken their innate capacities for kindness, care, respect, joy, patience, honesty, and other human virtues. 

 Older playmates often guide and support the younger children, expanding their imaginative capacities and modeling collaboration

Older playmates often guide and support the younger children, expanding their imaginative capacities and modeling collaboration