When we arrived at the woodland, our minibus passed our visitors as they walked to meet us. The children were clearly thinking about their day ahead with our visitors – as they spot them from the bus windows they shout collectively “there’s Kay, there’s Sheila, where’s Pat… she’s not there!”. And another shout: “is she hiding around the corner?”.
The children have already made positive connections and rapport with our visitors. Pat was poorly this week and was unable to join us, the children showed care and concern by asking Kay where she was. It was clear from their reactions they were disappointed she couldn’t come – bonds have already developed in a small space of time.
It was a dry autumn morning and children set off on their 'adventure'. Very soon some children found a selection of berries and leaves, but didn't know what they were. Fortunately, Sheila (one of our volunteers) had brought a book about trees, leaves and berries. This ignited an interest in matching and helped the children to identify horse chestnut, oak and rowan. Collections were made to bring back to nursery. Leaves from the horse chestnut were ‘huge’, but which seed belongs to this tree? (Parents - Do you know? Can your child tell you?)
Sheila had brought other books with her this week, all relating to forest school learning: one called "The feather", one about leaves, and another called ‘Happy Hedgehog band’ where animals make music in the woods... an inspiring provocation!
There was so much happening… we met a Samoyed dog called Mr Darcy, saw two squirrels plus a wriggly, bouncy worm. Someone even found fox poo!!
The children conduct their own research week after week through their own explorations and observations…conversations include discussing the season, comparing old wood and living trees, rhyming words and problem solving: how do you get a trolley up some steps or a hill??
Collaboration is vital - all of us adults working with the children are amazed at how many opportunities the woods provide to encourage positive communication skills, team work, self-regulation, turn-taking. It was all very visible in the children’s activities this week. Just like the children, we can’t wait to return to support and observe the learning journey as it unfolds...