IMG_9921

Strawberry Fields Forever

We ended our school year together picking strawberries in bright sun and sweet fields on Sauvie Island.

IMG_3163  IMG_3164 DSC_5925  DSC_5852

We visit the farm twice a year, in the fall and in the spring to witness the changes in the seasons. One of the main components of the HFP curriculum is cultivating our connection to the earth. Visiting the farm lets children see the source of our food. Their curiosity is fed by seeing, touching, smelling and tasting the bounty of the land.  This is hands-on, sensory learning at its finest.

DSC_5857

IMG_3151

We gathered for circle time and then headed out on the tractor for a hayride to the strawberry fields. Each child picked their own basket of delicious, ripe berries and then we took a tour of the farm.

IMG_3118   IMG_3127DSC_5829   DSC_5887

IMG_3136

IMG_3138

IMG_3133

IMG_3152

DSC_5929

DSC_5914

DSC_5849

We returned happily to the cool shade beneath the cherry trees for snack, songs, and stories. Each child had a special moment with Teacher Susan as she handed out completion certificates. The certificates were specially designed by HFP alumni parent, Scott Ramsey, an amazing tattoo artist, featuring northwest critters painting at the easel. We said bittersweet farewells to each other, but look forward to seeing our friends at our HFP park playdates throughout the summer.  (See home page for summer get together dates).

IMG_9921

Hiking Near Balch Creek

IMG_1810  IMG_1795

HFP families gathered just east of the Audubon Society in the quixotic early spring weather to join in circle time and to sing songs for the earth and her creatures.

IMG_1863  image

We headed down the trail towards the pavilion and pond where cutthroat trout live. The murky pond promised possible glimpses of frogs and turtles…

IMG_1844  IMG_1843

Continuing towards the creek, and splitting off in groups, we saw different native plants:

IMG_1860   IMG_1892TRILLIUM                                                                      SALMONBERRY BLOSSOM

image  imageIMG_1989 IMG_1874  IMG_1882

We played a predator/prey chase game in which mice (children) could nestle into a hole or camouflage themselves in order to avoid becoming the owl’s (Teacher Susan’s) next meal.

IMG_1833   IMG_1829

image   image

We got up close to many native friends of the sky, water and earth.

IMG_1823  IMG_1822  IMG_1832

Our forest circle time included a birthday candle ritual and a farewell song for a friend’s last day before moving to Denmark .  How special to celebrate while surrounded by moss, fern and trees!

image  IMG_1990

It was a day of friends, trees, magnificent birds and lots of exploring!

IMG_9921

Macleay Park Field Trip

macleay4

Way back in March our classes bundled up and headed to one of Portland’s oldest parks, Macleay Park. We climbed the hill along Balch Creek and noticed the new plants unfolding, the creek full and raging, and the animals exploring the warming weather.

macleay1

macleay3

macleay2

macleay5

An HFP parent shared this story:

We had a great time hiking Macleay Park. There was a warm spring rain pelting down, but L kept taking her hood off. When I asked her if she wanted to put it back on because her hair was getting wet, she replied, “Nope, because I’m a Nature Girl!” She continued on her hike, identifying ferns and cedar trees, soaking and delighted. Another magical HFP moment.

macleay6

macleay7

macleay8

IMG_9921

Field Trip — Tryon Creek State Park

In January our classes explored a beloved trail at Tryon Creek State Park. It was the first hiking field trip for many of our children and it was exciting to connect with each other outside in nature.

tryon1

tryon17

tryon18

After the field trip, Susan mentioned that she noticed children connecting with and trusting their friends’ parents in a way that is special and unique to our co-op community.

On this she said, “One piece I treasure about our co-op is parents’ relationships with their children’s friends and with other families. Our society doesn’t readily support closeness or inter-dependence. But as we extend ourselves to others and widen our circle of friendships— broadening our sense of family to include multiple families, we teach our children that they are fully loved, known and supported. We benefit from a community and increase our children’s sense of safety and belonging. At today’s Tyron Creek trip one child held a friend’s mother’s hand walking up the steep trail; one child’s father chatted with another child about the tree roots he balanced on; another mother assisted a friend’s younger sibling as he balanced along a log. These were just a few of many supportive interactions our caring community extended to “other” children.”

Another HFP parent said, “I so agree! I love the way my children have claimed multiple other HFP parents as their friends, their people, across generation, family lines.”

And another added, “Life’s trail is full of opportunities to reach out of your comfort zone and support each other. Children rarely look back and think, ‘Wow, I had too many parental role models.’ The opportunity of communal support is knocking and these kids are answering.”

tryon9

tryon10

tryon12

tryon13

tryon14

tryon15

tryon16