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Thursday 21 April 2016

Forest School, Constructing Shelters

Session two in Forest School began with some Sink and Fade and "Palm Tag". This is a tag game where each child places one palm facing out on their back and 'tags' another child on the palm with their index finger. When tagged the children sat on the ground and counted to 5.

Games are a great way to transition the children to being outdoors and exercise releases endorphins that trigger positive feelings in the body.

Next we put up a tarpaulin shelter as a group. This is where site and activity risk assessment is well considered. Forest School as a programme is so well structured and all risks are assessed before any activity. Practitioners must create procedures and policies for their sessions.

Each child was then given a piece of natural clay and they made their own creatures. Normally children are very tempted to copy one another, but I think with the bigger open space and such a stimulating environment, that they just went to their own space and made a unique creature. 

These were fascinating to see- so individual. This fella is 'The King'. :D Note the flag pole beside him as he guards his land! The other creature is in the shelter. I debated whether to show the children how to correctly build a debris shelter, but decided not to today as they were experimenting so much with the materials, I didn't want to take that away from them.  

Others made beautiful gardens for their creatures.

Last week the reaction to mini-beasts was one of pure disgust! However, this week the children were way more curious! 

Overall, the construction of the shelter lesson worked really well. All children were really engaged and there were many skills developed. The materials used varied in each shelter and there was great experimentation with materials in order to create form. 

We concluded the lesson with a neighbourly visit to see each other's shelters and a minute long 'sit spot'. Each child took three deeps breaths and reported back with something they could hear in their sit spot. 

   A spider!

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