Our Week in the Forest...
I feel a sense of enchantment
In the cool, refreshing air,
As I seek the hidden secrets
That the forest had to bear.
I hear the strange sounds of the forest
As I quietly make my way,
And stop to observe the wonders
Nature unfolds for me this day.
This exert from The Enchanted Forest by Joseph T. Renaldi seems to resonate with the way in which our children perceive their learning hub. The forest remains ever-changing and alluring, spurring the children’s drive to indulge their curiosities and learn about the world around them. Whether it be the smell of freshly blooming flowers, the feel of wet mud dripping through their fingers, or the sound of a woodpecker drilling into the trunk of a chestnut tree, the forest will always offer itself as an enchanting multi-sensory environment with endless opportunities to learn.
This week in the forest we have moved to our second basecamp to allow the meadow to regenerate. The children have thoroughly enjoyed revisiting the basecamp that they enjoyed through the winter period. With some children not having experienced the second site, the site-experts all pulled together to show their friends their favourite features of this part of the forest. With rolling slopes and dark nooks scattered under the forest canopy, the children have spent time meticulously reconstructing their favourite den. The educators were invited in for a spot of tea and cake, being warned to be careful of the fire pit that had been dug in the middle of the den. With the educators enjoying the tea so much, the children branched out and expanded on their successes. Enterprise in the forest has since been fast growing, with groups of children opening coffee shops, hair salons and bakeries. Outside of the excellent services on offer, the teamwork amongst the children has seen the whole group grow more cohesive, influencing their innovation through collaborative play.
While exploring the grounds of Chiswick house this week we’ve taken time to stop periodically and think about how we can use what is around us in our play. After finding a hedge bursting with different plants, the children were introduced to Galium aparine, more commonly known as sticky weed. They were amazed that a plant could cling onto their clothes so well! We spent time engaging our senses, talking about how the plant looked, felt and smelled. Some children used the leaves to make pictures when sticking it to their jumpers. After such a simple spin on experimenting with the sticky weed, we decided that we’d bring a sheet of fabric to the forest so that the children can continue experimenting with creating works of art using these leaves.
At Kew, the children grouped together to decide where they would like to spend the day. After deciding that they would like to visit the badger sett, we used the maps on display to figure out the best possible route. Using their collective knowledge of letters and numbers, the children learned how to read grid references. After a little practice, the children got faster at working out what section of the map different features of the park lay in. Once at the badger sett, the children abandoned their identities and immersed themselves in wild role-play.
After hours of crawling and playing in the underground tunnels the children emerged to enjoy their lunch at the wooden banquet table. During their feast a pair of cheeky ducks decided to peck around our feet looking for food. The children were captivated by the ducks’ confidence and decided to test their own. We carefully approached our feathered friends and held out flat palms glittered with bird food. Sure enough, the ducks waddled over for a hand fed meal. The children showed great care in not scaring the ducks away, lapping up the opportunity to get up close and personal with the wildlife of Kew Gardens.
The Secret Life of...
For anyone who might be interested, we have been contacted by Channel 4 who are currently casting for the next series of The Secret Life of 4 Year Olds and The Secret Life of 5 Year Olds and looking for children to take part in the new series.
This is not organised through us but we’d love to see some of our fabulous kiddies on the TV so if you are interested in applying you can apply here: http://bit.ly/sloyoapply
Food in the forest:
Our full April menu can be found on our website HERE
Sun-dried tomato & courgette pasta salad
So many veggies, sun-dried tomatoes, courgettes, garlic, Basil, lots of olive oil and a little tomato passata and purée.
For each batch of pesto we use a kilo of courgettes and a kilo of sun-dried tomatoes for a tasty summery flavour.
Enjoy your weekend adventures!
Little Forest Folk