nature

The Wildlife Trusts are running a challenge for people to spend June connecting with nature. I’m keeping a diary of how I spend my wild days.

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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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brain connections

I love listening to the birds. For many years I’ve not know who I was listening too although I can know pick out more than I used to. Last year I was introduced to Jon Young’s introduction to the five voices of the birds. Rather than focus on who it is he asks ‘What are they saying?’  This is so much more fun to try and work out by yourself especially if you don’t have an expert on hand. What sort of mood are they in? It will be different depending on whose voice you can hear, but the question is what are they saying?

For the little song birds there are in general five voices. As I listened to Jon Young explaining them I tried to remember by counting them off on my fingers. That’s when I realised my fingers held the key to my memory;

Voices of Birds 6 [..read more..]

Your brain on nature; neuroscience and the woods

Your Brain on Nature ~ Eva. M. Selhub and Alan.C.Logan

Notes from my sketch book as I read “Your brain on nature” by Eva.M. Selhub and Alan.C.Logan.

If you are interested in finding out more about how nature supports and affects people emotionally and physically our Level 3 Forest School practitioner course explores the ideas.

nature, play, spring, forest school

Have you been spending time in nature? What signs of spring have you seen?

spring doodleDoodle for http://www.forestschoolassociation.org/category/members-news/.

Click on the image for a larger version.

Bug Hotel Book 1I have spent an inspiring couple of days in Scotswood Natural Community Garden. It’s a stunning place on so many levels; just two to three acres in very urban part of Newcastle, thriving with trees, flowers, birds, insects, foxes, ponds and people. [..read more..]

How to make char flowersThere is a really fascinating process you can do with fire that is basically making charcoal but without any wood… [..read more..]

How to make ink from oak gallsThere is something about playing in the woods, exploring, experimenting that really stimulates discoveries. I remember when I was a teenager reading about oak gall ink in a book on art techniques but I hadn’t tried it until today. [..read more..]

Handmade wooden Christmas treeI have set myself a creative challenge over on my Facebook page. Every day in December so far I have added a new winter festive craft made from things from the woods to a folder full of photographs.

Here’s a round up of my daily ideas so far. [..read more..]

forest school, outdoor play, nature, children, doodleI thought I’d share with you a little doodle I had in the last edition of the Forest School Association newsletter. This is based on something that happened with a group I was working with a few years ago.

When you follow the children’s ideas you end up in very interesting places!

Sunset

Sunrise from our camp on West bay.
Photo: Tim Rowe

I have recently come back from a month long trip deep into the wilderness in NW Ontario, Canada. Which almost explains how quiet I have been here recently. It has been a lot to process. [..read more..]

WaKiGa

WaKiGa 17I recently spent a week in Hamburg and Berlin with a study tour for play professionals co-ordinated by ip-dip.com and www.meynellgames.org. The tour took us to scrapstores, adventure playgrounds, public parks and playspaces, community provision, waldkindergarten and green school playgrounds. [..read more..]

Green School 5So the cliché goes, there are lots of things Germany does well; public transport, sausages, compound nouns… actually all these things are true, but I’ve been discovering that in Berlin and Hamburg there are some other things that are done well; challenging, exciting and sustainable play provision for children and young people. [..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..]

Hour of Play 1“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” Plato [..read more..]

woodlandReviewing and reflecting is a really important part of what I do as a practitioner. It is also what I encourage children and other practitioners to do so they can see their own learning and acknowledge each others achievements. Sometimes really wonderful things come up. [..read more..]

Trail Through Woods 4

Laying a trail improves empathic skills

I remember back to when I first started working with children, and I remember distinctly the first group of children I ever took into the woods. We followed a trail that was marked with posts and signs and the children loved running from one signpost to another, checking that we were following the right symbols and always waaaay ahead of me. [..read more..]

Fairy Houses 1

I followed a map to a special place in the woods and there I found all the fairy houses.

If you were given a map like this one, you would have to check it out, wouldn’t you? I was given this map yesterday and followed it to a special place in the woods:
Gif Created on Make A Gif

And there, in the woods, I found all the fairie’s houses. Generations of them, some with little notes pinned to them, some in trees, apparently people come for miles to build houses here; [..read more..]