Sink or Swim

What a wonderful week! We finally got round to my planned Forest School session that was somewhat hastily aborted last week. The children were all very excited to venture to this new unexplored place, it was hard to keep them from doing a runner on the way to Brook! This week’s Forest School has revolved around the children experimenting with materials, testing to see which ones would be the best for making boats which is next week’s activity.  The sessions ran as per normal - a walk down to a spot near the Brook, tucking into our delicious snacks and drinks (thanks to Val), discussing our Forest School rules then another short walk down to our little watery idyll. Although we had some mixed weather this week, when the sun shone, the dappled light reflecting on the ripples and the gentle sound of the water trickling over the stones made for a very tranquil scene...well until we arrived and started throwing stuff and generally having a whale of a time! (no pun intended - whales are salt water denizens only! Come on, keep up.)

Also this week there has been an increased focus on the Early Learning Goal of ‘Health and Self-Care’ especially getting the children to ready themselves. I can put my hands up and say on occasion I am guilty of completely changing the children in their waterproofs and wellies for speed so we can get them outside and maximise their time. However there has been more of an effort in pushing the children to put on their own waterproofs coats and wellies. Some do it anyway, but others need a little prompting and direction which is fine. It all takes practice.


Once down at the brook, the children armed themselves with a variety of different materials and one by one we examined them, thinking about what they were made of, what they looked like, and how the felt before they chucked them in the Brook. Some of the materials included plastic balls which the children enjoyed racing, plastic bottles that we filled with water and also floated empty, metal bowls and shells to mimic a boat’s structure, which we also filled with water to test it’s buoyancy, as well as wood of different sizes to challenge their conceptions of weight in water. Once I was happy the children’s understanding, I then let them experiment with their own materials lying on the bank or shore.

I was really pleased with the understanding across the week and levels of spontaneous discussion that surrounded the subject when testing their own materials, mostly leaves, stones and clumps of mud. The wider learning the occurred was also fantastic. When the children had had their fill of throwing things and soaking the adults and themselves in the expected splashes, some decided a little exploration was in order. Some went fishing, others searched for treasure in the water (mostly pottery, but one girl found a beautiful chipped marble), whilst another group did some serious discussion around a rather large single dog footprint on the shore. The discussion around this conversation is worthy of a blog post by itself, but two of the best descriptions I heard of its origin included: Water Bears (very common around the Midsomer Norton area so a possibility), and another boy decided it must belong to a tree, who had decided to move house. Fair enough.

Another wonderful week dusted off. Here’s to the weekend!


R. Fox

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