Play theory

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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I had a lovely couple of days exploring the Northumbrian coast recently. I’ve been taking part in the pilot of Archimedes Beach School OCN qualification. There has for a long time been a debate over whether there are other environments in which Forest Schools can take place. One of the particular strengths of the woodland environment for play and learning is what the environment affords spontaneously. There is only really one other environment that is as rich in flexible resources that occur naturally and spontaneously, and that is the beach. [..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..]

Compound Flexibility 1During 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..]

Child Led Learning 2Giving control over content and intent of play and learning to children. [..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..]

Comfort Zone 2

Challenge: moving out of your comfort zone but still being able to function

“So, what makes you feel comfortable?” This was the question I asked a group of seven to nine year olds this week. [..read more..]

Yes andSometimes I feel like describing ‘play’ is like drawing the wind. You can recognise it, you know what it looks and feels like, but it is somehow nebulous and hard to pin down. [..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..]

Making Weapons 1I am, by nature a peaceful sort. However I often find myself building and making weapons. I do like the satisfaction of seeing a stick shooting off into the distance fired by a home made bow and we have made some constructions (that could best be described as siege engines!) that would fire pebble a good distance. [..read more..]

Fire Cooking 1In a recent post a new provocation came from the children. My job when I am in this particular school is to follow the children’s lead and extend their ideas. This can be really exciting, especially as it is a large Foundation Stage with 100+ three to five year-olds. [..read more..]

Builder's Break 1

Deep play – overcoming fears and apprehension

As the children had their lunch I went up to the treehouse site (if you are new to this project then catch up here and here). I wanted to check things over and see what things looked like without half a dozen small bodies on top of the walls and door frame. A group of girls came out after their lunch and watching them playing in the treehouse distracted me so I didn’t get a chance to get any tools out. [..read more..]

Kindling Play and Training

Play is like breathing

I have searched the whole internet to see if this has been posted anywhere else and it hasn’t. It isn’t mine, I can claim nothing but having found this a few years back and saved it. I would love to credit “Jacky” so if that’s you, or you know who it is then give me a shout. But this is too good not to share: [..read more..]