Our Week in the Forest...
When we enter the forest each day it is the gently swaying trees that greet us, whispering “Welcome back, we missed you!”. The trees that line the corridor from the front gate to our forest site are an endless mix of shapes and sizes, having grown through different conditions and experiences, much like the Little Forest Folk children – each unique, each strong and each reaching for the sky. Also like the trees, our children take what they need from their environment while offering so much in return.
The children have been chasing their high spirits into the treetops this week, scrambling, clutching and clawing at every available branch. Who needs rope ladders when you can scale a tree like a cheeky chimpanzee?! Some of our children are well adept at picking out climbing routes and navigating tangled trees, whereas some prefer to swing and hang from the lower branches. Regardless, each new tree poses a different challenge for our little monkeys. When the children ask us to help them by lifting them in and out of trees we advise them that we can help them with our words but not with our hands. We want the children to refine the ability to become present, to consider all aspects of the task at hand, to manage their own risks. With the children investing time and patience, our trees in the forest have become a bustling hub for adventure and exploration.
As well as acting as the world’s most engaging climbing frames, the trees in the forest have also provided the children with an incredible range of resources for making jewellery. After spending some time foraging and gathering a wide range of leaves, flowers and berries, the children worked at sorting their treasures into categories of size, shape and colour. Mar worked with the children, showing them how to thread and string their trimmings onto necklaces and bracelets. The children designed their own jewellery, thinking about patterns of colour and size. When the parents to collect their children at the end of the day, the children could hardly contain their excitement. The jewellery they had made in the forest stood for something beyond a material accessory. It acted as a totem for their self pride, determination, imagination and a memorable learning experience.
With leaves and berries a plenty left over from the jewellery making, the children decided that they would be perfect for using as ingredients in the mud kitchen. The berries were used to make smoothies and jams. The leaves were chopped into healthy salads and sandwiches. The sticks became spaghetti and cutlery. Through play and the employment of a vivid imagination, our children were able to conjure up a banquet fit for a king. This perfectly exemplifies the children’s understanding of how we can make a pragmatic use of what nature provides for us as. It also shows an inherent respect in understanding that we must make use of all that we take and not lay waste to nature’s offerings.
Have a lovely weekend!
Little Forest Folk Chiswick