Twickenham - Imagining dragons

Our Week in the Forest... 

J.R.R. Tolkien once said that a world that contained even the imaginings of dragons was more beautiful and richer, no matter the threat of peril! Our children have added to that rich and beautiful world this week when they got to practice their weaving skills and made ‘dragon eyes’. With a little help, the children lashed together two chosen sticks into a cross shape and then chose coloured yards to weave over and under each arm of the cross. Soon, dragon eyes with pupils of fire red or ice blue surrounded by irises of emerald green or volcanic orange were appearing all over the forest.

Some children wanted to place them carefully in their bags while others used them in their dramatic play. We often talk about risky play in the context of children pushing the limits of their physical ability, but lest we forget that finding something difficult and failing is also a risk and the fear of failing can be more paralysing than the fear of falling off a log. We have seen children attempt the task that was quite difficult to master with determination. This even meant undoing their weaving and having another go!

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The other thing that has impressed educators this week has been the children’s divergent thinking skills. If you took a paper clip could you think of 5 other things you could do with it? 10 other things? How about 50? Chances are children would come up with a million more and we have seen that in abundance this week. Our make-shift pallet board obstacle course became a house on fire in a blazing example of dramatic imaginary play and the children became a team of fire fighters who put heart and soul into saving the day. They ran across the grass with buckets of muddy puddle water to throw onto the flames (and when there weren’t enough buckets they used muffin tins). No sooner had one section of the fire been extinguished then another section would explode into fresh flames and so the team matched the flames in relentless effort. The play got even more dramatic when Xiao began to cry “my kitty cat is still in there!” and a child climbed under the flames to rescue it.

With all of these resources being movable and at the children’s disposal, the burning house became an entirely different project the next day, with the items being used to build a den. The children recruited some educators to help with some heavy lifting while they grabbed tarps, blankets, cushions, bookshelves, ropes and cardboard boxes to work together to make their own hide-away. It is interesting to watch children in these moments, when with very little educator direction they organise themselves into different roles. A few children took on the role of ‘project managers’ who had to negotiate with ‘keeper of the resources’ and how each new addition changed the blue print slightly until they ended up with something that was entirely unique to them. Sharpening their divergent thinking and practicing life skills were just a few of the many things the children have experienced this week, on top of creating a world of pure imagination!

We hope you have a lovely weekend and look forward to seeing you all next week!

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Little Forest Folk