Our Week in the Forest...
This week in the forest, the temperatures took a drop but the energy for play, learning and discovery remained high.
Our adventure walks don't just offer opportunity for children to keep warm, but allow smaller groups of children to explores areas outside the forest site and have time to investigate them in more detail. A group of children became fascinated with a sheet of ice that had formed on a shallow pond and spent time using their senses to play with it - How does it feel? How does it look when lifted in the air? How does it sound when it is dropped on the ground? Whilst this would be a prime example of simple sensory play, in true Forest Folk nature, our children didn't want to stop there and came back on site with a need to understand ice further. Abbey helped children fill small plates with water and then placed leaves, twigs and pieces of grass in the water and these were left out over night to see if they would freeze.
The children returned the next day to discover small frozen discs containing their frozen fauna. However, what the big Forest Folk-ers discovered were a group of young minds deep in conversation as they tried to understand how the process had happened. "I know, Jack Frost came to visit and touched the water! Jack Frost is coming to my birthday party" was one idea that was shared. Another child suggested that the forest got cold like a freezer and that is why the water turned to ice.
Educators acknowledged that this was an interest that can be taken forward with lots of opportunity to consolidate children's understanding of freezing and melting, but they also acknowledged how important it was not to interrupt these conversations at this stage because what children are actually doing is taking simple sensory play and moving into a complex learning opportunity as they encounter the link between nature and science. Within this opportunity they are using their own experiences to explain their observations and each child's contribution helps extends another child's thinking as they work together to gain an understanding of scientific concepts and how the world works.
Children also discovered a stage area complete with theatre curtains this week and at first it was a great object to climb onto and jump from. Xiao and Abbey role modelled the process of becoming a character from a story and acted out a scene together and a group of children were quick to tread the boards as they acted out beloved scenes from Frozen and sang songs from 'The Greatest Showman'. This quickly led to children wanting to capture their own stories and they have been working with educators to work on writing down scripts. They have taken to the idea that they can make a story go in any direction they like and some of the stories had some fantastic twists as a dead Elsa rose from the dead and walked out of bushes to surprise Ana..."SURPRISE!"
One of our three-year olds took to the stage and started telling a story about her best friend. This is normally a girl who has a very small voice and prefers conversing and playing in small groups yet here she was, on a stage with an audience gripped to her story. Acting and performing not only allows a development of literacy skills as they make links between text and the spoken word, but by its very nature, the performing arts allows an expression of self that connects a storyteller to an audience. Imagine the sense of value of importance that blossoms when the audience is hanging on your every word!
We hope you all have had a lovely week too and we look forward to seeing what next week brings!
Little Forest Folk