Over the past few weeks in university we have been talking about forest schools. Forest Schools were first seen in Sweden during the 1950s and since 1995 have been popping all over the UK, there are now upwards of 180 around the UK. The importance of natural resources and outdoor play has been around since the days of Frobel and McMillan and is now an integral part of Early Years Practice, especially in Forest Schools.
As part of our exploration of Forest schools we went into our local woods last week to do a risk assessment and planned some early years activities and this week we went back into the woods to take part in these activities.
These activities included sitting at a ‘log pile house’ and reading The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson, exploring for twigs and building twigs towers and going on a bear hunt. As well as an activity on outdoor fire making.
The Gruffalo –
We decided on a outdoor story after finding this little beauty…
Which we used as a somewhere to read The Gruffalo from as it had strong logs around that the ‘children’ could sit on.
We sat around by our ‘log pile house’ and read The Gruffalo, with group participation.
As well as The Gruffalo, we then went on to explore for sticks and build twig towers. We used string to create an enclosed area that the ‘children’ could safely explore in, the string held by hanging branches and branches that stuck out and where unsafe, we also closed off areas that included nettles and holly.
Once we found enough twigs we started to build our towers, we included counting and shapes.
After our twig towers we went on a bear hunt, we went through the grass, mud and the deep dark forest.
And we made arrows to find our way back.
After all that excitement it was time for us all to learn something new. Our tutor showed us how to create an outdoor fire using a fire can and different resources including a magnesium fire flint key.
We eventually got our fire started, although it didn’t last very long. It gave Sutherland opportunity to explore fire safety and exciting ways to learn about the world including science. Although this wouldn’t be right for every child and every setting, in the right context this could be a fantastic experience for children.
Forest schools and outdoor play has so many opportunities for childre, it includes sensory play, physical developing and developing a understanding about the world, as well as helping children develop confidence.
These last few weeks have definitely inspired me to explore Forest schools and outdoor play further. I hope it has inspired you all too.
Love Early Education
Love, Kylie x