Forest School May 8th

Posted 11/05/2017 22:05 : By: EdKenyon

Children become very used to ordered environments and the stereotypical roles which adults and children fit into. Generally, in an educational environment, this involves being within four walls and the adults giving instructions and the children receiving them. While there is undoubtedly a place for this sort of group learning, you could say 'the mainstream system' is rather too weighted in this way.

One of the attributes which makes Forest School so rewarding for children, of any age, is that it places them in a very different setting - where there are no walls or ceiling, or uniform tables and chairs and where the adults are not there to purely impart knowledge. The children are free to explore as broadly as their imagination and creativity can take them; on their own or as part of a group. They have time and space to immerse themselves in nature and to foster their natural curiosity and pursue deep and personal interests. This is incredibly fertile for young minds.

This time, I thought I would share more pictures and snippets of the children's conversations, to try and give you a sense of the breadth of what goes on in their time in the woods. The adults this time were myself, Hayley, Montessori Teaching Assistant Eleanor and Pedagogical Consultant Deb. The children are growing in confidence with every visit to the woods and each child is blossoming in some way or other, fuelled by their growing collection of experiences.

The children chose our normal return path as the way in - they wanted to stop at the Funny Tree (seen on the right)

Deeply interested by the different types of leaf.

A bark hat and a walking stick!

Testing and challenging themselves because they choose to.

Deb has introduced some notebooks and pencils - some of the children are very taken by drawing their surroundings.

Loving getting up close and hands-on.

The girls (correctly) decided the rotten wood where the woodlice were spotted was actually food. They agreed it was chicken! "From the Woodlouse shop!" Said Esther.

"This place needs a clean up!" says John. "We need to watch out for stinging nettles and spiky bits of wood," says Edward.

Having tidied up, they sit down for lunch. "This is our secret hideout," says Edward. "No one can find us," adds Arthur, before asking: "Do you want to eat in here Ed?!"

Then everyone wants a look!!

Working on a personal map of the woods.

Threading and knotting over at the tractor. "Maybe we need to find the screws," says Edward. "And the wheels. And the roof."

Nature can create some strange places to rest and contemplate!

Helping to prepare the fire. "Can we call for the Dragon?!"

Exploring tiny bones found in an owl pellet.

It was a very special Forest School Experience this week.