With Year 3 last week we used the flint and steel to make tiny fires. It was definitely an exercise in resilience and perseverance!
The weather was damp and it took a long time to get the cotton wool to light. The children were given all the time they need to succeed, we were happy for them to try all afternoon if they wanted to. Often when we do this activity it takes a while for the children to relax and understand that there is no set time to succeed. They can adapt how they do it, they can ask friends for advice. Building resilience takes time and luckily at Forest School we can take all the time we need.
As the afternoon went on it was great to see the children support each other, they sat together and gave advice, told their friends not to give up, keep going.
Making little fires serves lots of purposes, the main one being teaching of fire safety. Before they begin, the children have to make sure they had all the safety gear they need. They must manage the area around their proposed fire, they learn to have the confidence to tell people to move away if they are too close.
Once the fire is lit only they are in charge of it. They must many sure that no one comes near, touches it or takes their safety equipment. They are responsible for putting it out and making sure the site is safe after.
Fire lighting was only only one small part of our afternoon! There was den building, swing making, mud cakes, Christmas tree camps and much more.
At Forest School today Year one showed fantastic team work. A group of children decided to throw a rope with tyre attached over a branch then work together to lift the tyre as high up as they could. Some children wanted to be lifted up too. They worked together, they used some fantastic language to communicate what they needed to do, encouraging each other and helping to ensure each other was safe. This activity was completely child led, they created the rules for it themselves and helped each other to achieve their goals. Language, science, maths and PHSE all in one game.
Today at Forest School the children made some amazing discoveries, and some even ended up in space!
When we arrived we made a circle of leaves, this gave us all a chance to warm up, and to explore the field searching for the most beautiful colours we could find.
The children then went off to play, and soon there was a commotion, some had found a “real dinosaur bone”. They used water to unearth it, then spoons and trowels to start digging it up. Some also found brushes to wash it. They had discussions about whether it was a bone or a stone, whether there even were dinosaurs in Oxfordshire, and if it was a Dino.... what type was it?
Another group made a home under a tarpaulin and decided that it was night time, they drew the “blinds” and went to sleep under our shelter. They were going to wake up when it was “6 O’clock, or when the “bell next to their bed went off”.
Another group turned our leaf circle into “a firework rocket” they first collected fuel (water) and sprinkled it on the rocket, then they gathered into the circle, did a countdown, then blasted off. On arrival in space they soon saw aliens. They repeated the journey several times.
Some people spent time experimenting with our swing, getting “stuck” a lot. They used team work to get upright again.
All of these games were completely child led, they constantly chatted to one another, shared ideas and used past experiences to enrich their play. They all worked together really well, inviting others into their games. They were keen to share their ideas with the adults present.
At the end of the session we gathered around the leaf circle and took turns saying what we though we would find if we jumped into it, then took turns jumping. The circle became all kinds of things, ice cream, a whale pool, a firework ( a safe one), warm water.
Each child had an idea and had the confidence to share it with the group.
At the end of the session we huddled like penguins in the centre.
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