Rabbits, 7 Feb
Ice sliding, soap carving, ziplining with soft toys and telling stories were some of the delights of our forest school day today!
We were lucky to have Ms Celine with us today. She setup a great zipline that everyone had fun riding... we even has soft toys going for a ride all together. As they were strapped into their seatbelts for the ride (some knot and rope tying practice) everyone declared how their soft toy was feeling, explaining that they were "sky scared" or "excited"... it was a lovely moment. We had laid out soft toys in a row facing the children at the end of the zipline as if watching, as a provocation, when spotted, several children ran to embrace and hug an animal and then took them for rides on the zipline with them tucked in their jacket, telling them not to be scared or to "hold on". It was a nice way to take an enjoyable, exciting activity like ziplining, rich with proprioceptive sensory input, and add an emotive element to ignite their imaginations and have an avenue for expressing their feelings or imagined feelings through a third party by animating their soft toy. After the risk taking challenge of the rope climb last week which everyone triumphantly accomplished, but which was challenging for all... we wanted to give the children opportunities to examine and express feelings of fear in a totally safe and dissociated way. The soft toys having scary rides on the zipline was perfect for this, as the children were all not scared on the zipline, they felt totally confident while being thrilled so they were able to play the role of the comforting mature character for their soft toys, talking to them about their fear, acknowledging it, allowing it, justifying it but also offering reassurance, comfort and showing them how to be brave. Every child naturally chose to do this with the soft toys, with no prompting at all from the teachers, it was interesting and demonstrative of the power of soft toys for processing feelings and developing the language for expression. Later the children created an animal home with their soft toys in the hollows of fallen trees and imagined themselves wolves or other creatures living with the toys. It was a little children's magic to observe.
Soap carving was a captivating interest for the class today.. After mentioning that they'd like to try soap carving in a previous week we took advantage of the warmer weather to do some fine detailed carving work through carving soap. They seemed to love the density of the soap and sensation and ease of carving. Some wonderful creations emerged.. we love that the children always somehow immediately know what they want to carve. We brought a book as well which some took inspiration from. In addition to the brand new soaps they each worked on, we also brought some extra soaps that others had previously started carving... this was a creativity stimulating option as they were looking upon unusual shapes and imagining what could be created from them. We used fine carving tools, regular and sharpened popsicle sticks and toothpicks to carve... if you want to try at home, its an easy, safe and meditative craft that you don't need specialised tools or close supervision for.
We played number baseball, which is a much loved game that gets everyone running, encourages children to step up confidently and project their voice in front of the whole class as the announcer and focuses on numeracy and counting.
Our tool circle had some new tools to explore today, the planer, hand drill and rasp caught the attention of some.
One of my favourite moments from today was watching how the children gathered repeatedly at the soap carving station and engaged in spontaneous storytelling as their hands worked. We gave them space to relish each other's company and creativity.... this is one of the gifts of forest school, the class becomes a family by this point in the year and share beautiful moments of community and companionship.