Well its been a great few weeks at the Le Cheile forest sessions. The weather welcoming us with beautiful crisp blue sky mornings and challenging us with icy winds and torrential rains. And through it all a lot of fun was had.
The last few weeks we played a lot with story, engaging them and their enthusiasm through old and new stories alike. The response from the kids really reinforces my believe in the power of story as an invaluable learning tool and as a doorway into our own imaginations.
Tapping into their love of Treasure Hunts I began to play with letters and explore their sounds by hiding letters in the woods that spelt a word for the days activity. So nice to find a fun way to get the kids recognising letters and showing an interest in sounding them out.
I brought some small animals and set up the three little piggies and after telling the story with them invited them to make houses for the pigs or wolf and they carried on in their own creative worlds for quiet some time.
Another day I set up some empty bowls and seats in the woods and invited them to come with me, Goldilocks of course, into the bears house. The bears came home and found them in the net asleep and a great chasing game ensued. The kids took this on themselves and took turns to be the different people in the story until they were all chased out.
I told the story about the robin putting out the forest fire with it’s tiny little beak, doing the best it could with what it had! We then had a game where they too had to gather water in different sizes of things and try and trying not to spill a drop, gather as much water as they could to put out the fire.
I think the art of storytelling is one that I look forward to exploring much more in the coming months. As well as story we busied ourselves making the most of what the season had to offer us. We made mud cakes, rock paintings, rainstick with hammers and nails, charcoal, paintings, clay, reindeer decorations and bird feeders. we played on a slack line, a tree harness, with movement,music, willow and games.
As a parent led initiative, Le Cheile is such a rewarding project to be working with. Every session a parent assists me and then we rotate an hour cabin time at the end of each session for parents to share their passions with the kids. I have always believed that it takes a community to raise a child and having different people stepping into the teaching role with children not only ignites their passion for learning it also sparks their interest in a much wider variety of things. Through this we have been offering regular music, nature craft, story and animal facts sessions and the kids are having a ball. Other parents organise fundraisers to help fund the ongoing costs of the group and to keep the prices to a minimum for those involved. I am very grateful to have this for my child and really hope that in the near future, that forest school is recognised and funded to co-exist with the schooling system and can become available to all.
Happy Solstice and a very Happy New Year to you all !!