With the bundles of pollarded Elder we had cluttering the grass, I felt it high time we made use of this versatile resource last week on Forest School and decided to craft some woodland jewellery with the children on Forest School. In order to complete them, we dusted off the tools that hadn't seen much use of late and checked the saw blades and the drill bits and charged the batteries for the drill. The method is very simple, but despite this simplicity we still talk the children through the processes step by step, highlighting how we use the tools safely, what they're need for or their purpose and we use them effectively. Taking it in turns they carefully used a Tenon saw to cut a few elder beads and then using a tent peg poked out the middles so that they could be threaded onto a piece of wool to make the desired necklace or bracelet. Sometimes the soft pith in the middle was too small for the tent peg so we pulled out the electric drill to help make a more suitable hole for threading. This was definitely one of those weeks where you got to see a child's threshold of concentration as this not only tested their gross motor skills but the threading was a really good test of their fine motor skills as well. There were quite a few "concentration tongues" popping out of children's mouths as they threaded! I also enjoyed that some children, decided to colour their beads in with charcoal to give it a little personal touch too. Very creative.
Many of our children are well versed to using our Forest School tools, and helped the newer children who have moved up from the burrow understand the tools work. Quite often during the opening "tool-talk" I'll tell the children the complete opposite of what they need to do to see if they remember that's not the way to do it! The children thinks it's hilarious, but I find it much improves their recall if they remember Red Fox being an imbecile! A few of the children I let use the saw unaided as they had the ability to keep the saw straight and and strength and confidence to power it forwards and back. You could see the pride in their faces when I let them do it on their own, that little bit of responsibility goes a long way with a child of that age, especially when using tools. I also introduced some 'Stop' signs this week too, as a control measure to restrict which paths the children could venture down. Now, I know you may be thinking this goes against everything we stand for (giving the children the freedom to explore) but this week's activity involved the children and adults working in a small area of the cabin and when some finished, naturally we let them go off and enjoy what they'd made. But should they go too far without us, we would be unable to see them or help them in the event of an accident so we restricted their movements until the whole group and adults we ready to explore as collective. After all, adventures are best shared I think...
Children came away with necklaces and bracelets; some for themselves, some for mums and dads, others for their SuperHero alter egos, others to help and protect them on their journeys and adventures. A lovely week all round.
See you all next week!