What a lovely autumn day we had today in the woods. We put up a hammock and the children enjoyed taking turns swinging in it. We made a fire and, this week for a change, cooked some damper bread over it. The children kneaded the dough before we wound it like a snack around a stick and held it over the fire. The wood was very damp so we all had to work hard to keep the fire going. We collected some wood to store which will hopefully keep a little drier for future occasions.
We have had a new table delivered and our children set to work to build it, checking the instructions beforehand and making sure they had all the pieces they needed.
It was lovely to be back in the woods today! We have a new play site and enjoyed exploring it and seeing what different things we could find there. We had several new children with us today and it is amazing to see how much more confident and independent they became after just a few hours in the woods. We are looking forward to seeing how our sessions develop as we become more familiar with the new site.
We each chose a special tree in our site and gave it a name. The names we chose were Nursery, Bramble, Firework, Violet, Tractor, Baby Teddy, Florence and Lanky Larry. We will be keeping an eye on our trees as we move further into autumn and then winter so see how they change.
Today our children were engaged in sorting sticks and matching the different kinds of wood. Some of the sticks were marked with the ancient Celtic Ogham alphabet and some with the English name and so we tried to work out which sticks matched. The bark and markings on some of the wood were quite different.
At Playgroup we are aware that our role in children’s early years goes beyond the direct and explicit learning opportunities we provide. We also influence them through our attitudes, beliefs and behaviours. This is particularly significant when we think about the influences we have on their understanding of and attitude towards nature, the environment and the development of a sustainable world.
Our woodland play sessions are an ideal platform for us as adults to encourage our children to develop respect and responsibility for nature and the natural environment. In the playroom we have also been encouraging children to recycle paper and plastic bottles while we also compost our food waste.
More recently we have started creating ecobricks. These are plastic bottles we are filling with the single use plastics which cannot be recycled. The plan is to collect all the single use plastic in playgroup so, for example, the wrappers on fruit we buy, the plastic wrappers some of our mail us delivered in etc. The children are already enjoying using scissors to cut these in to small pieces and then stuffing them into a plastic bottle. We plan to monitor how long it takes to fill each bottle.
Although you will see many creative projects for benches, stools and igloos made from ecobricks and indeed, we may at some point attempt to make some of these, the initial aim of this project is to develop an awareness of the amount of single use plastics we are in contact with every day. Over time we would hope to see that our children develop a better understanding of, and attitude towards, issues of sustainability.
We had an amazing visit to the woods this morning. The temperature was -7 when we arrived to set up and still only -1 when we packed up to go home so it was a very challenging environment for our children. Rather than spend all our time in the camp we decided to go on an adventure. It was quite dark at our camp but we could see the sunshine hitting the tops of the trees. We decided to walk higher up the woods to see if we could find the sunshine. It was quite a trek but we found lots of really interesting things along the way. There are so many dens in our woods, we had a wee sit down in just about all of them. The cold weather had made amazing patterns in the woods, we spotted tiny icicles that looked fluffy and others that looked spiky.
We found the sunshine at the very top of the hill. There was a fantastic view so we got the binoculars out to see what we could see.
We walked back down the hill and saw so many different footprints – we spotted lots of different boots as well as some bike tracks and then even some doggy prints too.
Back at our camp site we cuddled up in our tent with some cosy stones, blankets, hot chocolate and a (few) biscuits. We have a request for jam pieces next week, not red jam though.