How to keep a clean house:-
1) don’t have two children
2) get a cleaner (you always have to pick up before they come)
3) lobby the ABC to remove Mr Maker from daily screenings
4) contract nits – you’ll have to wash the entire house
5) invite your mother-in-law to stay
6) watch mad men to channel your 50’s housewife – in fact do this anyway just for Don Draper!
Needless to say my house is not clean…….. or tidy…… I’m thinking of working harder on point 3……
Miles goes back to school tomorrow. In spite of the mess that holiday was nowhere near long enough!
Many friends and fellow bloggers will know by now that I considered home schooling my children. That said, when Miles told us that he wanted to go to school we went on the search for the perfect public school. I’m sure everyone knows how hard that process was – I really struggled. Eventually we decided on a more inner city school that doesn’t have a lot of outdoor area but the classroom and teacher that we saw gave me a fabulous feel for what they had to offer. One of my gorgeous friends Sam said it best – ‘you can always take them to the park after school but you can’t get them a better education’.
The school that we chose may not have much outdoor area but the gardens that they do have are part of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Schools programme and are devoted to edible plants. This programme is another of the reasons that we chose the school given as I want reinforced to my kids what real food is and where it comes from. Behind the gorgeous old Queenslander that is Miles’ classroom is a Paw Paw tree laden with fruit, wandering the outdoor amphitheatre today was a bush turkey and down the hill is the ‘Outdoor Learning Area’.
Inspired by the autumn leaves that the class collected Miles took us on the most amazing discovery this afternoon. The outdoor learning area is full of colour from the gardens and fruit. We explored trails that led us under passion fruit vines dripping in fruit, past the chooks scratching and clucking at us and around pumpkin leaves that we peered under finding growing delights! There are frog ponds where we spotted darting tadpoles, a bird bath and a wishing well. We followed meandering pathways to cross the rainbow bridge and played music with thongs on a tubed xylophone – at that point I needed a shaved head and blue face 😉 We met Mr Young the gardener who talked to us about Arrowroot that they grow for the chooks, he let the kids pat a big black hen and feed them some weeds, Mr Young also found two perfect eggs for us to bring home for more discovery.
What I loved as much as the space and nature that they have cultivated was how Miles flourished in the environment. He led Tilly and I around as if it were his own garden, he knew where all of the different plants were and what fruit or vege they grew. Miles found a bamboo stick which he used to peel back giant leaves and search beneath for hiding gourds. He abandoned the paths for the wilderness where he squatted and stretched and climbed, all the while talking about his weekly adventures discovering new parts of this oasis. He was proud of this place and I could tell that it was really special to him and something that he loved sharing with us.
Miles’ prep teacher calls the Outdoor Learning Area food for the soul and I couldn’t have put it better. Her love of the space inspires the children to also love and respect it and fuels their learning at school and at home.
This is why I’m so happy that our lives evolved this way. I’m doing my ‘Grateful’ post today and today I’m grateful for chickens and frog ponds, passion fruits, pumpkins and our guides be they gardeners, teachers or 5yr olds full of wonder.