Forest School July 3rd 2017

Posted 03/07/2017 23:07 : By: EdKenyon

What a privilege it has been to be part of this wonderful group of children as they have explored both the natural world and themselves over the past 10 months.

As we left our wonderful Forest School woodland for the last time with this group, it was clear to see that every single one of them, each in their own way, is a very different child from the one who first tentatively (in most cases!) took their first steps on our Forest School journey last September.

They are more independent; more confident, more curious and more in tune with nature. They are the living example that 'The hundred languages of children' really do exist. They will not conform to the one-dimensional adult view of the world where a stick is a stick! A stick to them can be (and has been!) a broom to sweep the woodland paths; a trap to capture imaginary beasts; a drum stick to play out a rhythm on a tree stump; a friendly dog to walk with them; a bridge across a muddy puddle; a ramp for mice to scamper up to their 'Mouse House'; a roof for a slug house; an excavating tool for digging up a mound 'where wolves live'; a weapon to take on the evil stinging nettles "so my friends don't get stung"; and many, many more.

They have challenged themselves time and time again and realised that they have the solutions - making us adults almost redundant!

Today, the children welcomed our new Forest School Teacher Joann, who is joining us in August, to the woods. For the first time in months, the children led us up the 'old' track to the base camp. There were regular stops for bugs, mud and exploring.

One of the children asked me to saw a dead branch of their 'bouncy branch' - so I invited those children who wished, to help me saw the wood up using the bow saw. I knew the children were ready for this tool - one to one with me. They have been so good around our campfire that their understanding of instruction was at the right level.

So with a glove on their helping hand, they joined me at the bowsaw and cut their own piece of wood while their friends sat at a safe distance and watched. Their focus was superb.

After this, there was a bit of a musical interlude as some of the children used sticks to bang against parts of a tree. They recognised the different sounds made when they hit different parts. "We're making music!" Says Esther.

"Someone has to sing with a microphone!" Says Edward, before they searched for an appropriate stick. However, just like many young bands, no one seemed keen to be the singer, so there carried on with their drumming.

By far and away the most time was spent exploring the woodland surrounding our camp. They are now so comfortable here - burrowing under shrubs, hiding behind trees, lying down among the plants as they enjoy hide and seek. Woodland is now a place for them to feel comfortable in and to just be children, free from constant adult direction.

May that feeling stay with them as they grow.