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  • upstreamforestschool

Rabbits, 11 April

The biggest slack-line ever, giant slingshots, experimentation with rolling, a magical tree fort, rugby, mud fun and cooperative games filled our morning together.

We utilised a variety of loose parts to take the interest in rolling and catapults from last week and channel this interest into further exploration. With bike wheels, different types of balls and different sizes of wheels we explored speed, balance and incline concepts.

We built some giant sling shots in trees with elastic straps and ropes and flung our stuffy friends and various soft small items into the air. Del and Irvin especially relished refining their slingshot techniques and hypothesising why certain stuffies flew further, and thrilled when they hit their target.

We discovered some improvements to a beloved tree fort in the bike track and the new space stimulated some rich imaginative play involving most of the class, with sick bears getting rescued among other creative constructs. It is a focus at forest school to "curate" the play, such that when we observe really robust play that is inclusive, creative and dynamic we make space for it and are careful to not adulterate or interfere with the process and provide, if needed, just the right materials or inputs to keep the flow going. Today's play showed us that this group are exploring concepts of leader and follower, of heroes and rescuers and showed us who in our group are comfortable with role playing and those that gravitate to directive roles, those that focus on establishing the play construct and those they adapt quickly to get the play underway. Play is such a rich way to facilitate social/emotional development and for us teachers to get to understand our students and see where they may benefit from more support and notice the growth that is always underway.

The giant slackline, that spanned almost 10m was a brilliant challenge the kids devised. They tested their balance, trying different ways of traversing the span, even testing if they could cross over each other without falling. Physically challenging, risky and thus supportive of developing confidence and trust and extending one's sense of what safe boundaries are, in a context that is enjoyable, student-directed and rich in proprioceptive sensory stimulation.

Last week the class requested another rugby coaching clinic with the coyotes. So today, under the wise leadership of the older class, our group played rugby and were given guidance. We find the older children bring great energy and focus and a lot of fun to our class. Changing up class dynamics in subtle ways and allowing our children to step up to interact or lead with the older children. These two rugby coaching clinics have been a fantastic way for our class to see themselves as a team, a cohesive group, following the example of the coyotes class. It shows them how they can enjoy complex games together that challenge them to referee each other. In this really fun way, they work together, and push themselves, they are focused on learning the rules and have a way to give and receive direction constructively. They learn that the rules support the game and they see how they have more fun as they develop their skill. Credit must go to the coyotes class for their encouraging, patient and consistent guidance, they are fine examples for our rabbits and in their presence our class rise to the occasion, with lots of smiles all round. :-)

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