A walk to the park delivers! The city’s squirrels and a group of geese join the inquiry. After children leave a nest besides a tree, a squirrel approaches to check the nest out. Picking up the clay nest, the squirrel moves the nest to the other side of the tree. The children and the squirrels are now in a dance of communication. Paying attention to each other’s movements, we become aware of each other.
A child is interested in leaving a nest high up on a tree for the squirrels. She has noticed that the squirrels assemble their nests in the forks of tall trees. How to get there?, she asks. Another child suggests that we watch how the squirrel climbs. “May be,” he says, “we can learn from them”. We stop every time we spot a squirrel climbing. We observe. We pay attention. We slow down. The squirrels, though, are fast. They move up or down the trees so quickly that the children are having trouble grasping exactly how they do it.
Then there are the geese who flew into the park right at the time we were carefully placing the clay nests. A child guests that the geese came into the park because they saw us with our nests. “They are hoping to nest in one of our nests”, she says. May be. Why not? After all biologists remind us that urban geese use human-built structures during nesting season… .
The geese sparkle much conversation in the classroom. An educator tells the children about two geese who take care of their nest in a courtyard where humans have been prohibited to enter.
A few weeks after our encounter with the geese, a child announces that he was going to make eggs with clay (not nests) while the other children continue to diligently make clay nests to take to our next walk. About half an hour later, an educator sees the child sitting in a corner of the room with approximately 10 large eggs on his lap. Not knowing what was going on, the educator invites the child to join the rest of the group in nest making. Immediately, the child responds that he can’t. “I’m nesting,” he says.