Our Week in the Forest...
At Little Forest Folk we continuously see the children redefine the definition of ‘play’ every day. The dictionary definition of play is to engage in an activity for recreational purposes rather than a serious or practical purpose. When our children play however, a practical purpose is at the heart of what they do best. We see the children explore new ways of thinking, test preconceptions and new ideas, and reflect on their own lives and of those around them; play is merely the mechanism that empowers them to do so. Learning in such a way sees the children growing confidently based on their own lives and interests.
“Knowledge comes from learning. Wisdom comes from living.” – Anthony Douglas Williams
With the summer sun shining down on the beautiful botanical gardens at Kew, it was a delight to spend some time at the lake on our past visits. The children asked if we could take bird feed to the park in the hope of feeding the friendly ducks that roam the grounds. As soon as we arrived on the banks of the central lake, the children were greeted by a flock of fluffy ducklings that confidently waddled through our group to say hello! Watching the ducklings meander with such confidence and pride was reminiscent of watching the children when they first arrived at Kew gardens, eager to explore and grow. The children needed no reminding of how to interact when feeding the ducks. They showed a compassionate level of care and attention, talking to the ducks and reassuring them that they were safe and loved.
We’ve had a busy week in the garden plot, harvesting a selection of the crops that we have been growing that are now ready to be eaten! The children helped gather the delicious vegetables before washing and preparing them to be enjoyed alongside their lunch in the forest, and with their dinner at piccolo. So far, the children have successfully harvested lettuce, purple dwarf beans, and yellow courgettes. Even when it comes to food, we see the children challenge their preconceptions and habits, pushing themselves to try new things and broaden their horizons. After leaving a fully stacked chopping board at the centre of the dinner table, we were amazed and proud that not a single leaf or bean was left uneaten. The children didn’t need any encouragement or coaxing, just the freedom and time to make their own decisions and approaches.
With the nation going wild for Wimbledon it’s no surprise that the children have brought this interest into the forest with them. With the window of opportunity wide open, the only thing left to do was stock the clearing with rackets and balls. With hand eye coordination being intrinsically linked to so many areas of the children’s lives, both in and out of the forest, it is important that there are avenues of experimentation available so that they may practice and refine such skills. The children worked together, practicing their catching and throwing, their overhand and backhand, and most crucially, making sure that their friends were enjoying their play.
What has started as an inquisitive interest could well end up following some of our children through their lives as they grow up, and maybe even to centre court at Wimbledon!
Enjoy your weekend folks!
Little Forest Folk Chiswick