At last some sun! For the first time this year we have been able to get down to the woods to run our woodland sessions this week, and allow the children the chance to explore and play in the dappled sunshine. Forest School has been an extension of last week's where we have been working hard to reinforce the basic rules and procedures around our sessions not only to refresh the children who are already well established, but also for the new children to Free Rangers who are still learning and developing an understanding. Thankfully we have been blessed with spells of sunshine amongst some short sharp rain bursts and some rather unforgiving cloud cover, but on the whole the weather has meant our waterproofs also took a break from their usual abuse, allowing us to get down to Otter Brook Woods nice and quickly. The woods is either a short walk down the cycle track, or across one of our Nursery Paddocks. The walk in itself is an opportunity for learning as there and many sensory distractions for the children to investigate, like horses, interesting plants, dog walkers (although their dogs are for more interesting), and the swishing Brook and its little weir.
Once there, it was a similar setup of having our snack time, going through our Forest School rules (See here for a recap of last weeks) and then playing 1, 2, 3, Where Are You?! The children were once again very imaginative in the spaces where they hid, and interestingly there was less ‘herd-mentality’ opting for single trees, or completely disappearing behind thickets and bushes with only a little pair of eyes peeking around the side. When running something like this, it’s important to establish the boundaries of the playing area, so the children know where the acceptable distance is for them to reach. We have easy marking points in OBW as it has many natural boundaries, but in a larger woodland, perhaps have the children set their own with marking sticks which is an excellent way of developing responsibility.
Once they have had their fill, usually after 3 or 4 games, we allow them some free time in the woods for them to further explore, or this week, many wanted to go ‘fishing’, finding some long sticks and seeing what they could fish out of the brook. What a lovely week.
Enjoy your weekends, and get out in that sunshine whilst it’s here!