Our Week in the Forest...
Forest – Self reflection/Rope bridge/washing line
“Every role that you play comes with its own set of challenges.” This quote by American actress Mireille Enos lends itself perfectly not just to acting on screen, but also to children’s role-play. Every time one of our children takes on a role within their play, they inherently adapt themselves to a new identity, a new environment, or a new way of thinking. The children have used a variety of immersive role-play to help enhance their learning this week, using any and every available resource and stimuli at their disposal to challenge themselves.
This week at Kew the children have been busy learning about honey production, hives, and the lives of honey bees. We visited the hive sculpture to gain some perspective on what it must feel like for a bee living inside a working colony. The children dropped into character and buzz around the hive as a swarm of busy worker bees navigating their way around the colony. A volunteer at Kew gave the children a fantastic and immersive talk on the importance of bees to mankind, as well as some information on how and why they produce honey. The children got to interact with a large model of a honey bee, they got to smell and handle various pollen samples, and learn about the life cycle of a bee through investigating specimens from the various stages of growth. With the children’s interest sparked, the next line of enquiry was to visit a real bee hive.
The volunteer at Kew guided us to a wild honey bee colony nestled in the trunk of a tree, a rarity in modern day England! We watched as bees flew from one flower to the next, collecting pollen before heading back to the honey factory to continue with their work. The final stop on the honey trail was to visit the man made hives in the gardens, where another bee expert was delighted to give our children an incredible up-close experience. The children were amazed at the sight of the colonies’ queen bees, noting how much larger they were compared to the rest of the worker bees.
Back in the forest the children have thoroughly enjoyed watching and acting in impromptu stage shows. Magical worlds inhabited by brave knights, fire breathing dragons, and frightening trolls have spilled out of the children’s imagination and into the forest. The enchanting thing about these immersive shows is that nobody knows where the story might end up, except, of course, the children! The children have spent time this week reflecting on their play in the forest, discussing their favourite way to spend their time as well as what they’d hope to see coming into the forest. With the children responding so positively to the stage shows and story telling, we’ve incorporated new role play experiences into their daily play.
The forest has seen the addition of a homemade pond, a washing line with clothes to dress in, and a newly configured pirate ship/ plane (depending who you ask). The children seem to come into the present moment when they are given the freedom to imagine, create and immerse themselves in expansive environments of self wonder and expression. The other wonderful additions to the forest are the tyre swing, the rope bridge and the Olympic ring styled swing. The children relish a new experience or challenge, and it’s safe to say they have risen above and beyond this week. The physical resources have been incorporated into the children’s symbolic play expertly. The way the children string together a narrative by trailing through the forest from one area to the next, using what they’ve got to their advantage, really does leave us at Little Forest Folk breathless. To view the world with such ambition, opportunity and excitement is exactly what we hope to provide for our children. The proof really is in the pudding!
Enjoy your weekend adventures!
Little Forest Folk