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Forest School - Mud, nature names, respect and hazard awareness

Wow, another term is here, and it feels so good to be back outdoors after days and days of torrential rain and flooding!

Over the past couple of weeks our little explorers have been getting to know each other and our Forest School site, and they've been practicing some essential awareness skills.

At Forest School one of our guiding principles is RESPECT. Respect for nature, respect for ourselves and for each other. We've been exploring what that looks like by expressing our ideas, through group games and using awareness in our interactions with one another and with our environment. Although we have only been at our current site for 2 weeks, it is clear that our explorers already feel connected to this place and deeply care for it. On our exploration walks we have often been collecting rubbish - and more than once the children have announced "we are going on a rubbish hunt"!

During week 1 we have been exploring mud and mud play. We've been scooping, digging, mixing, debating on the right thickness and making all sorts of wild creations with it.

When energy was running high, we have been jumping up and down, dancing and shaking our bodies .. to make butter. Yep! A special treat for our first session, that we all loved.. sitting under a tree, enjoying warm bread rolls with freshly made butter and a cup of herbal tea. How very civilised :)

On week 2 our explorers have all received a nature name/spirit animal. Each child has picked the photo of a creature - but they were not allowed to look. We played a guessing game so they could try to figure out which animal they had picked. The animals all embody an energy or a protective spirit. Can you see your child’s nature name animal in them? What could they learn from this animal? It was fun to see the kids really embody their inner animals!

We then used these names to play a game where children had to FREEZE when they heard their animal name been called. This was a fun and subtle way to bring awareness of natural hazards and practice the behaviour we need to follow in the event we encounter snakes. Although they are a rare occurrence at the lake, I feel that it is essential to be aware and prepared.

We have also been catching and observing (then releasing) mosquito fish .. The children had a small fishing net each and I was really impressed by their dexterity with it! Catching those tiny fish was challenging, but they were all determined to get at least one.

Finally on week 2 we have been creating our very own nature journals.. The children have been assembling the pages with a little help, and decorated them with watercolours. We will use these journals over the course of the term to record our thoughts, discoveries, to keep nature treasures and express our feelings and emotions in a creative way.

It's been a fun first couple of weeks and I am super excited to embark on this learning journey with such a sweet and fun-loving group of kids!


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