Forest School

I’ve been working on a planning template for my own sessions and for participants on my courses. I’m enjoying it as a way to think through my sessions whilst taking a lead from the children and young people.

I call my starting points ‘springboards’. I’ve written about springboards before. That previous post was from 2010! 

Feel free to download this template and let me know if you use it. 

I’m working slowly on a part 2 to capture reflections and observations. 

 

A video tutorial how to make a rope ladder. I love this way of tying knots. The left hand side and right hand side of the body working together.

 

You can use the same knots with different lengths of stick or twig to make Christmas tree shapes. The large one is made using fishing wire to make the lines invisible. 

 

Let us know if you try it. 

I’m one of life’s enthusiasts. A cheerleader by nature. Recently however I’ve been trying to curb my natural instinct. Holding the idea in my mind that I always need to be thinking “who is doing the learning?” This reflective question has helped me notice what happens when I don’t ask a question, when I don’t intervene. *

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“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.

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I was really inspired recently by a great whittling project. So much so I’ve been making these all week!

a skulk of foxes

six foxes

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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.

invitations to the woods [..read more..]

Our story of the day. Reflective group poems from Forest School training;

 

Upon reflection, it’s small yet guiding.

This place, a calming release in the sunlight.

Identifying. Reflective and delicate.

We’re explaining, thinking and applying.

Facilitating challenge as well as calming.

Positively supporting. Making explicit. [..read more..]

mindful communication

An invitation to a two and a half day training retreat in the wild woods of the Lake District.

This course has now past. If you are interested in something similar please email mail@kindlingplayandtraining.co.uk.

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..]

challenging behaviour outdoors

Working with Young People with Challenging Behaviour in the Outdoors

Level 3 OCN (3 credits) – with Jon Cree and Lily Horseman

When: 28th-30th September 2015
Where: Rookhow, Grizedale, Cumbria
Cost: £300 (includes basic accommodation in the bunk house)

Download a booking form to reserve a place on this course.
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Tree Climbing Risk 2Risk 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..]

How to Bake in the Woods 2Well-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..]

Did you play in the mud today?There are certain elements that regularly feature in my work life; fire, tools, cooking outdoors, climbing, bows and arrows and mud! [..read more..]

Playing in mud“When the world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful.” E. E. Cummings [..read more..]

Hapa Zome 1

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 West Forest Schools Reflections and Evaluation

Reflections and Evaluation

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..]

Forest School Case Study: Carr Manor Primary

“We’re going down to the woods today”

“We’re Going Down to the Woods Today” was a Forest School project developed in partnership with Carr Manor Primary School by Lily Horseman of Kindling. [..read more..]

Making Popcorn on a Fire

Making Popcorn on a Fire

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..]