play

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..]

Adventure Essentials 1Every 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..]

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!

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..]

BauiSpeilPlatz 1For 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..]

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

Let Me Play 1Last 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..]

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..]

March Hare 9March has been an exciting month. So exciting in fact I have barely had time to write it all up! [..read more..]

Making SparksLast 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..]

Leaping 3

Leaping from the treehouse

Even in that frantic run up to Christmas the Foundation stage children (aged three to five) who had been working on the treehouse were reflective of their experiences. The tree house building which has been recorded here and here ground to a halt when we found we had a structure that we could leap off. [..read more..]

Sunset Tree House 1

A tree house project would interest a lot of the children

After the popularity of the work bench in the Atelier I was reflecting on how we could keep developing our skills with the tools and make a collaborative project. I also wanted to take the work bench outside. [..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..]

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..]

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..]

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..]

children with sticks

Springboards can be used by a child to take off in any direction!

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..]