I am an early years professional who is passionate about a child’s need to learn through play, particularly through their own freely chosen play. I am particularly keen on outdoor learning, again particularly in outdoor play in a natural environment.
We were very busy at Nursery today! We made a new sign for our garden and then went out for a walk to find some autumn treasures. We found apples, elderberries, hawthorn berries and loads and loads of brambles. We picked some and will try making some jam to eat with our bread. We also spotted some conkers on a conker tree and acorns on an oak tree. So many things to see in our countryside 👍🏻
Day 3 of FL training began with learning to tie another knot – this time a clove hitch, a light hearted start to the day.
Forest School “teaching” aims to be student centred and we entered into a discussion of the different types of learners and how we, as FL student, are experiencing and engaging with the process of learning. Deeper discussion on learning theories and theorists and I was pleased to hear some new names as well as the well known traditional ones such as Piaget, Skinner and Froebel.
Our identification task today was wild flowers, a real favourite of mine and one which has a significant emotional connection to my dad. I loved searching around the woodland environment looking for spots of colour and was amazed to find so many when at first glance it had seemed that there were only some bluebells around. We spotted and identified garlic mustard, wood sorrel (we’ve been spotting that in our own woods for a few weeks now), wood anemones, dog violets, speedwell and red campions.
We used our knot skills to put up a shelter, my group took some time getting our shelter right. Our first attempt just didnt do what we all wanted it to. We learned some important skills in communication and teamwork getting to our final version – a simple but effective shelter for us to sit and relax.
As we headed back to lunch we took a quick time out visit to see the amethyst cave, a stunning below ground level box walled in amethysts. Quite stunning.
Our afternoon session was focussed on making in the woods with tools and clay. My group were the environmental police for the day, a pressured task so make sure all participants were working to make their items with careful thought on our impact on the woodland environment. This certainly made me reflect on how we treat our woodland. It’s a delicate balance trying to promote interest whilst also wanting to protect the environment. I’m not sure if we are getting that balance quite right just yet.
The first 3 days of training have been very enjoyable and certainly thought provoking. Reflecting on practice is always such a worthwhile experience and having time to do that almost a luxury. I’ve certainly come away with not only lots of homework but lots to think about.