With Spring fully upon us, we've enjoyed getting reacquainted with a very different looking Forest School site last week on Forest School. Coming back after Easter, we were welcomed back to a site in full swing, and it has given the children plenty to keep them occupied. Swallows, not to mention a plethora of other feathered friends have provided a beautiful soundtrack on our return, our apple trees are in full blossom with their delicate scent, the Bluebells have poked their little hats through the grass and the cow parsley is now as tall as me giving a white topped labyrinth of pathways and hiding spots for the children.
We've had many new Rangers start with us in the Den and I'm happy to say that they've all settled brilliantly as well as showing some amazing confidence out on Forest School. We've given them the chance to explore this new wonderland by giving them free reign over what they want to do each day and because of the dynamic mix of children we have, the sessions have been really varied. It being spring, the warmer weather has prompted mini beasts out from their wintery slumber and back into the light, which hasn't escaped the children's watchful gaze. It's probably been the one activity that has been present in every nearly every session this week, so a possibility for next week's focus, especially visiting the pond as the fascinating hidden world beneath the mysterious murky depths, holds the children in rapture.
It was a week of climbing, exploring, cooking, stirring, stomping and jumping with joy. Hide and seek, or our Forest School version "1, 2, 3, Where Are You?" was very popular too, given the scope of hiding places for the children, and they even found out a new little hiding place behind our cabin, which had me guessing for a while!
We also had an ice cream shop popped up in the fort through some of the windows, and they supplied a wide range of frozen desserts! This isn't the first time either: casting my mind back to our first Forest School session I remember the old wooden playhouse that the children liked to climb into, also turned into a ice cream parlour (with extortionate prices I seem to recall!)
Furthermore we checked in on our slowworm, toads and frogs, as well as the pond on occasion to see how they were doing. I'm quite sure they will get rather annoyed with us eventually and move elsewhere but until then the children hold them in high regard. We also found an ants nest which fascinated the children no end, as they watched the little black specks quickly scuttled their eggs down into the maze of tunnels below the ground. Similarly the plentiful beetles and creepy crawlies that scuttled around making use of the sun kept the children exploring, moving and peeking into nooks and crannies, a treasure hunt of sorts, only that the treasure tended to be rather slimy...
Allowing the children free reign over the site is excellent not just for the children, giving them freedom of play to create co-operative games and stories to act out, but also for me as well, as it helps to tailor Forest Schools sessions for the children and see how they best use the site so we can develop and plan accordingly. The best thing about the children is that they play on their strengths. They won't do an activity if they don't enjoy it, but most will try it first. Many will also take an activity and morph it's use, appropriating the resources to suit the needs of their play. A child's imagination is a truly powerful thing.
A lovely week overall and next week would be more of the same!
Thanks for reading,