“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.
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.
During my years as a Forest School leader one if the attributes that I find myself drawing on is flexibility. Being able to change plans, put aside my agenda because of the weather, a really interesting discovery in the woods, because of something a child needs or wants to do –my flexibility is core. [..read more..]
Sitting around the fire at a recent Forest School conference a fascinating discussion developed about the nature of the pedagogy we employ. My friend Annie, of Get Out More, remembered a conversation she and I had had a few years ago. [..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..]