Our Week in the Forest...
This week has seen diversity run through all aspects of the children’s days at Little Forest Folk. Interests, play, exploration, and even the weather! It has also been an exciting time as we have had the pleasure of inviting parents in to talk about how far each child has progressed and developed over the last term. With happy children and parents alike, we have been reminded as educators just how fulfilling our jobs are. And the proof is in the pudding! The children at Little Forest Folk continue to amaze us each day with what, and how, they learn through their play. As Fred Rogers famously said, “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning.”.
With the children already enticed by butterflies, this week they’ve been captivated by the flight of the bumblebees. Armed with magnifying glasses and a sensitive approach, the children have been getting up close and personal with their stripey new friends. When we found a tired bee crawling across the forest floor, the children learned that a drop of sugary water or saliva can help rejuvenate the bee’s energy levels, setting them back on their way. The children have also noticed that the ladybirds have returned to the forest. Taking time to get down to their level, the children have been paying attention to the patterns on their backs, the number of legs they have, and how they use their wings to travel far and wide. With insect swatch books from the National Trust, the children have expressed an interest in trying to spot as many different insects as they can.
While at Kew this week, we started our morning by taking a stroll along the river before entering the gardens. It turned out to be a fantastic change, spending time observing the different types of boats that travelled up and down the river. When a beautiful white, red and gold barge trawled past, the children stopped in their tracks. We were all amazed to find that it was in fact the royal barge Gloriana. We discussed how the boat was made for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and how it was also used to carry the Olympic torch through London. Once inside the grounds, the children were eager to revisit the conservatories that home an incredible range of exotic greenery. With some plants bearing leaves that are larger than our children, we spent time exploring a world’s worth of natural wonder. With so much on offer at Kew Gardens, it is exciting to think about where the children’s lines of enquiry will see us heading on our future visits. The treetop walkway, the badger sett, the Japanese gateway? The world is their oyster, and we’re luck to follow them on their way.
On Wednesday we were amazed by mother nature’s change of plan. After a bright yet chilly morning, the afternoon took a mesmerising turn. Midway through their afternoon play, the children got to experience a winter wonderland, in April! The clouds dropped and the hail began to fall faster and faster. In the blink of an eye the meadow floor was white and the children were in awe. Though it wasn’t the snow we had been hoping for all winter, it didn’t stop our children playing as if they were knee deep in fresh powder. Some children danced around the forest with cupped hands to catch as many falling hail stones as they could. Others drew pictures into the piled up hail on the forest floor using sticks. We even saw a group of children build a miniature snowman, using sticks and leaves to bring their character to life. Though the sun has been coming out to play more often lately, our children still embrace any changes in their environment as opportunities to create and explore.
Have a fantastic long weekend!
Little Forest Folk