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Grey Squirrels, 7 Sept

Welcome back!

Today our class of returning Forest Schoolers had a blast! They thrilled in the company of familiar friends and started making new ones. First activity of the day was to answer the irresistible call of the climbing tree...

Themes Explored and Skills Embraced:

Tree climbing and imaginative play. The tree near our meeting spot ended up hosting the whole class and became a "flying ship" with roles for everyone. Cole was master of the ship, Zachary on weapons. Denan and Olive were on lookout, they even found a nest and reported back to the group in response to the various questions fired at them.

Textile work making small tipi structures with sticks and yarn. Using fine motor skills to wrap sticks and tie yarn securely to make their structure stand. Olive was especially driven to produce her tipis and even made gifts for others.

Seasons and Journaling. We shared a poem/picture book, "A Song for all Seasons" about the seasons, discussing what we notice in each season and specifically right now as we move into Fall. We took this theme as inspiration for decorating our new journals. We will use these journals throughout the year to record observations, recollect experiences and be creative with stories and art.

Scavenger Hunt, noticing our surroundings looking for specific characteristics. We each took a Scavenger Hunt Flash card with us as we wondered up the hill. We looked for things that had qualities like "soft" "fuzzy" "spotty" "teeny" "blue" "flat" "striped" "bumpy" etc.

Some creative observations were shared and the conversation stimulated was interesting. Developing skills in respectful listening and effective group discussion as the whole class shared their observations and contributed ideas for other things that might fit the bill. This discussion gave us an opportunity to learn names and faces and speak individually in front of the class in a non-threatening way. We took some time in the circle space to allow children to share their thoughts and ideas on things that came to mind along the way. It was lovely to see everyone confidently expressing themselves and listening respectfully to others. Walter, in particular, had fun suggesting ideas for many of the characteristics others were looking for, with some creative suggestions like "smooth" and "flat" grass or "bumpy" tree trunks.

Tool work. Getting the tool gloves back on was a thrill for all! It was exciting to see the skill progression continue from last school year, having the privilege of teaching all these children last year myself. I noticed the pocket knife was a tool more and more were interested to use. With dextrous strength and hand-eye coordination developing as they learnt to use their tool with more confidence. Wyatt particularly was hard at work stripping bark and carving sticks with the pocket knife.

Games. As always we played games to get the giggles flowing and the wiggles out. Today we played "Predator Prey" which is a game that involves quick recognition of who is predator and who is prey when two creatures are called out. The predator then chases the prey to their safe zone. This is a fun game that tests memory and recall and is guaranteed to get us running and laughing.

Free Play. Free play today involved elaborate contraptions made with ropes, leaves and branches and incorporated soft toys "stuffies". The opportunity to play with friends new and old led to some wonderful play structures that didn't want to end. This year's class group seems particularly skilled at imaginative play and are able to play with a variety of people. I love watching the unbridled enthusiasm for an idea and the industrious team work as they set about putting plans in action. Cosma, Zachary, Cole and Walter were deeply absorbed in their play structure right up until the end of class.

Connection Questions:

- What were you looking for in the scavenger hunt?

- Can you remember something interesting you noticed when you were looking around the hill?

- What game were you playing with the "stuffies"?

- What tools did you use in tool circle today? Were you making something in particular?

- Who did you play with today? Can you remember the name of someone new you met in class?

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