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..]
Giving control over content and intent of play and learning to children. [..read more..]
Every year we had make most of our Christmas gifts. My nieces and nephews are getting to an age where we can really really enjoy making stuff for them. I wanted to make a den building adventure kit for my oldest nephew. I had some ideas but I knew the Forest Education Initiative Facebook page would come up with more. They are a real source of inspiration and support for lots of people who work outdoors with children. [..read more..]
I 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!
There are certain elements that regularly feature in my work life; fire, tools, cooking outdoors, climbing, bows and arrows and mud! [..read more..]
For a few years I managed the transition of the only self-build Adventure Playground in Bradford, the Big Swing, from the statutory into the voluntary sector. Supporting the staff and managing the site through a period of transition gave me a real insight into the value of Adventure Playgrounds and the capability of children and young people. [..read more..]
“When the world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful.” E. E. Cummings [..read more..]
So 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..]
Last week a series of posters were doing the rounds, originated from Explorations Early Learning: http://www.explorationsearlylearning.com/shop5/posters.html
This one really caught the imagination of a number of people on Facebook. [..read more..]
Sometimes 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..]
March has been an exciting month. So exciting in fact I have barely had time to write it all up! [..read more..]
Last night a group of newly qualified reception teachers came to the Foundation Stage Unit where I am doing some work with three to five year-olds. The lead teacher was talking about the ethos of the setting where I work and how the planning is built around the children and following their interests. The effort and energy is put into recording, reflecting and responding rather than planning and preparation and the environment is set up to enable the children to access resources and ideas on whatever level they are at. [..read more..]
Kindling delivered a training day with a wonderful enthusiastic group of Early Years practitioners on Monday. To end the session we talked about how being outdoors makes us feel.
We had been in the woods for most of the day and I asked them, based on the emotions and feelings they had had whilst they had been busy, and immersed in all sorts of creative and wonderful explorations what benefits they thought that similar experiences would have for the children they work with. [..read more..]
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..]
I have been thinking a lot about springboards this week. Not the swimming pool ones, but a playwork theory that was first described to me by Martin Maudesley; sometimes even if we want to stimulate free play for children, or encourage self directed learning we need to provide a solid starting point – the springboard. This then can be used by the child to take off in any direction. [..read more..]