I don’t know where I first heard about forest schools but I’ve wanted to take my eldest along to one ever since. Unfortunately, our nearest one has their preschool session on the day my daughter is in nursery. Last weekend they had a drop in session for all the family so we all went along.
Predictably the weather was not fantastic. The day before was a gorgeous sunny day. On the morning of the open day it rained all morning but the forecast promised a dry afternoon. Now I know there is no such weather as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing but with a 5 month old to think about (who due to the nature of the site would need to be in a carrier and therefore exposed to the weather) we decided to go after lunch. Fortunately the weather was dry and the tiny ladybird was lovely and snug on daddy’s chest without worrying about her getting soaked.
We went prepared in waterproofs, woolly hats and wellies (our eldest thankfully still fits in last years all in one, fleece lined, waterproof). The site was very muddy!
We started by exploring the natural and rope play area.
The ladybird even went down this natural (but very muddy) slide. Just the once though. She always starts off reluctant to get messy but soon warms up and gains her confidence.
We took a bit of a walk further in to the woods but when it started to get too steep we had to turn back for fear of slipping in the mud (especially my husband who was wearing the tiny one).
At the main shelter which had a useful tarpollen shelter, we met the staff and enjoyed refreshments and weaving.
The staff are well trained and used to dealing with children. They help our eldest safely toast marshmallows on the camp fire and made her a hot chocolate.
Then they taught us how to weave this god’s eyes.
All too soon it was time for us to head back to the car. Once we were home, dry and clean, the ladybird couldn’t stop talking about mud kitchens and camp fires. I think it’s clear to see she enjoyed our afternoon at forest school. I think we will try to incorporate ideas from forest school in to our children’s childhood a little bit more. Last week, I discovered Seasons School (from the creator of Nurture Store, another great resource for parents) which will help with this. Seasons school is a free website and facebook page with lots of ideas for learning and living seasonally with children. We printed out their autumn leaf printable last week and enjoyed painting them together.