“Play is a biological necessity that puts the child in the driving seat.”
The play theorist Bob Hughes inspired the recent Forest School Association conference with his words about play. There were challenges in that speech for us all too. He talked about when children’s play becomes sexualised and violent. Play which makes us, the adult uncomfortable. He said that if we truly support the play process then we should allow it to ‘play’ out. That a child needs to have a range of experiences for their healthy development and the adult should not intervene with this process. For me and for others at the conference this conundrum is manifested regularly in the woods when we see a child’s interaction with living things and when those thing are killed or harmed because of the interaction.
com·mon·sense \?kä-m?n-?sen(t)s\ adjective : sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts
People often say that effective risk assessments are the application of common sense. I tend to agree, but, different people have different perceptions based on their differing experience. The questions are then; how do we collect all that sense? How do we hold it in common so that everyone in a team, organisation or partnership shares the wealth of experience on offer? This is the role, to my mind, of the risk assessment. The process of collecting all that experience and judgment together to give us a ‘common sense’ of what is possible and how we make it work for the benefit for the participants.
But when children are given the opportunity to direct their own play and learning, then what they are doing could go beyond the collective experience which is recorded in those risk assessments. How do we make judgements then? [..read more..]
When I walk into the woods it’s nice to try and see what invitations there are for the senses; a whiff of wild garlic, dappled light, a splash of yellow woodland flowers, birdsong, an uncurling frond of bracken, you know, the things that really invite your senses to come alive.
Working with an inspiring trainer, Jayaraja, together we will explore the core principles of mindful communication.
We will look at the kinds of behaviour we find challenging in the children we teach, support or parent. We will seek to understand the causes of this behaviour – to see what children are deeply needing when they behave in ways we experience as ‘difficult’.
We will look at our own patterned responses to this behaviour and look at creative strategies we could use instead. [..read more..]
Risk taking is widely understood to be a natural part of a child’s development. Adults who work with children are moving on from thinking of risk only in the context of ‘the risk assessment’ which decides those things are too dangerous to allow. [..read more..]
Well-being is really important, especially if you are working outside all day in the cold and rain. So with that in mind I thought I would share with you some of my favourite outdoor cooking treats, suitable for a day on the woods or a Forest School. [..read more..]
There are some projects that really stay with you. I worked with Brudenell Primary School in Leeds for over two years, helping them embed Forest School into their curriculum, and providing training and support. [..read more..]
Stacey’s hapa zome with clover, dandelions, grasses, berries and petals
This is a wonderful creative technique that I often share with participants on training courses and with the children I work with. This week someone on a course made something so beautiful it reminded me I wanted to share this a bit more widely. [..read more..]
Bradford Community Environment Project (BCEP) has been involved in the Forest School networking group in Bradford since its inception, and have been involved with the development of Forest Schools in the Bradford District since 2005/6. [..read more..]
I took my fire top popcorn maker with me to the woods this week. Had I known it would be it’s last outing, I might have marked its passing in some way. The children were intrigued by the popcorn maker. A conversation I had with a group of 9 and 10 year olds went a bit like this: [..read more..]