Our Week in the Forest...
They say that magic is in the small things, and this week with our Little Forest Folk-ers, we believe that to be true.
Our older children enjoyed an adventure walk early in the week and requested that they collect things to make Christmas decorations. They came across a Holly tree and spent a long time talking to Christie about its features - the spiky leaves, the bendy branches and the waxy greenness that makes it stand out in this winter landscape. They began collecting some to turn into wreaths back at the Scout Hut but the joy came moments later when they saw another green tree and ran up to it screaming 'we found another one!" only to discover this evergreen was completely different. Christie was able to step back and observe as children took the lead discussing these differences with each other before suddenly charging off again with more screams of "I found another Holly tree!".
Two really important things are happening here, not only are the children driving their own interest in flora identification and taking such joy in this activity, but they are also forging memories of time spent in the forest where joy can be found at any time of year (even in winter) and both of these things will help to build an emotional attachment to the forest where they spent their childhoods and to the other children with whom they’ve shared these experiences with.
Having seen the Holly return to site, the next day a group of younger children wanted to go and collect Holly too. It began as a good opportunity to practice the dexterity and fine motor skills it requires to use scissors to cut the thin Holly branches and taking it in turns to carry the leaves to the wagon, but soon turned into something quite special when we observed one of the children fall over into the autumn leaves that littered the floor. One of the younger children rushed over and held out a hand to hold and helped their friend back on to their feet. This turned into a game where children were diving into the leaves and their friends rushing over to help them up. Some of the very young ones were not quite sure what to do after offering out a hand but their 'I can help' attitudes made the Big Forest Folk-ers so proud!
We have seen some chilly weather this week and Virginia thought a fire building activity would be the perfect antidote - the children spent some time with her comparing fuels (paper versus wood) and the advantages of each at different points in the fire building process. They got to practice their fire lays (stacking small sticks side by side horizontally, then a second layer with sticks positioned vertically - also known as a waffle) and placing tinder and kindling around it. Once lit, the fire yielded a welcome bounty of toasted marshmallows, cups of milky hot chocolate and a place to sit with a friend and enjoy singing a song about a certain red nosed reindeer.
We have some full-time children booked in for Christmas Eve and we can't wait to make the day special for them, but for everyone else we want to take this opportunity to wish you all a wonderful break and time spent together. During the week, if the topic of Christmas ever came up, the children very rarely talked about presents but were eager to tell educators about time they were going to spend with mummies, daddies, grannies and siblings and all the things they have planned to do together. It may be worth repeating - magic is in the small things!
Little Forest Folk