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Woodland Play March 2017

Another lovely month in the woods. We have some of our new equipment now so we tried to build some dens with our tarpaulins and blankets and used our pulley to take Santa back and forward over the river.

There are loads of changes  since last month – we can see more colours and more flowers on our walk to and from the site. We didn’t see any lambs in the fields but Farmer Ian and his sheepdogs brought the sheep right past us. We think that maybe he is taking them back to his home in case they have some born lambs.

The burn has continued to be the focus of our play, we are getting very good at watching where we put our feet and not going into the deep bits when they are too deep for our wellies. The burn it is a ready source of ingredients like sticks, stones and mud for soup and hot chocolate. The bank is very muddy and we have adopted some great techniques at getting in and out of the water. We have explored the cave and island on the far side of the burn and, we even saw a shark in the burn today. It nearly ate Jane all up!

We will miss our visit to the woods in April because of the Easter holidays but wonder what we will find there in May!


Want your kids to do well at school? Send them outside to play

Great article on why adults need to step back and allow children time and space to make their own play


Woodland Play February 2017

Another lovely dry week in the woods – at least it was dry overhead! Plenty of mud underfoot and in our play this week.  As always, the burn was the most popular play site for our children. Even in February in Scotland they were in and out of  the water making potions and other curious recipes. A fire and marshmallow toasting was requested, and when it comes to developing fire skills we are definitely improving! The snowdrops were out in plenty and the start of daffodils too. The sheep are down to the low field at the front of the house. We think that perhaps when we are back in March the white snowdrops will be replaced by yellow daffodils and there might be a few lambs to see too!

Every Day a Learning Day

Last week was the second of our Woodland Play Sessions and , yet again, we were so fortunate with the weather. Our woodland site is so beautiful, the colours of the autumn leaves this year are just stunning. It was amazing to see how different the site appears with fewer leaves on the trees and far more on the ground and how the children adapt to the different challenges of the environment. The play outdoors always amazes me.  I often see fellow ELC practitioners (mostly from England where they are in common parlance in the EYFS) discussing WOW moments for children but at Woodland Play last week there were two very significant WOW moments for me.

The first was just how relevant and appropriate learning is outside. When we arrived on site Louisa and I immediately took the decision not to allow the children to play in the burn. It was significantly higher than when we’d been on site the previous session because of the snowfall a couple of days before. When the children arrived on site we asked them to take a look at the water and think about how it was different. There followed a (brief) discussion on how snow had fallen because it is now winter. The snow had melted and turned into water and the water had run down from the hills and fields and into the burn. The burn was now fuller and flowing faster because of the extra water. The water was now deeper than the height of the children’s wellies. If the water was higher than the wellies then the water would go in the wellies, feet would get wet and cold and we would be sad.

If you think about this short discussion it links almost everywhere in the curriculum. There are links to geography in land formations of hills and rivers and to seasons and weather.Science in the melting of snow to water. Maths in the concept of volume, height and comparisons,  language in the descriptions and discussions, social and emotional considerations in thinking about getting wet and feeling sad. And, all in such a relevant and appropriate context. It really is WOW for me.

The second WOW moment came about because we decided to make a fire. This was our first fire on site and it wasn’t really planned and, although I had my fire box with me, I had no dry wood etc. The children however, remembering our initial try outs with  the fire and steel the previous week, were keen to build a fire and so we decided to give it a go. It was remarkable successful given my novice skills. The children were all mesmerised by the flames and it was lovely to sit around the camp fire and have our hot chocolate and snack. The WOW moment for me though was when I watched our parent helper (much more camp fire savvy than me) blow on the fire to keep it going. We did this at training but used a balloon pump which meant that the children could also be involved in this process. I hadn’t thought about it at all in training or when I’ve done it to get my wood burning stove going, its just something you do to stoke up a fire. But, sitting with  the children and explaining why we blow on the fire raised the inevitable question of why, when we blow on a candle, it puts the flame out, but when we blow on a fire it makes it go. I’m sure someone will  be able to provide a straightforward way  of  explaining this to  a group of 3 year olds but, I have to say, that, put on the spot, I was stumped to provide a suitable explanation. So, the second WOW moment for me was that, as adults, we do so much without thinking or really understanding. Its really good to be challenged , to be made to think because that’s how we learn. And, I mean “we”, its not just the children who are learning, I am too.




Woodland Play Sessions November 2016

Let children play outside even when it’s cold – Play Scotland

As November begins and the weather starts to turn a little chillier, it’s interesting for us at Little Forest Folk to observe the change in questions from would-be parents on our site visits. Full blog The post Let children play outside even when it’s cold – Blog appeared first on Play Scotland.

via Let children play outside even when it’s cold – Blog — Play Scotland

Thursday 3rd Oct

Another lovely Woodland Play Session day – well apart from the midgies!! The burn is great for guddling but its not the best place to get away from midgies. We just had to keep really busy so they couldnt catch us.

We had great fun playing at the top of our woodland site today – thats our jungle. There were caves too and we went to sleep in one.

We made a bed for Stick Man and his Stick Lady Love too. No fish for snack today though we did catch a butterfly


Monday 3rd Oct 2016

What a beautiful day to start our Woodland Play Sessions – lovely warm sunshine in October.

We had such fun exploring our new site – we climbed up through the jungle and tried to catch fish for snack.  Paddling and splashing was brilliant fun and we even found Stick Man hiding beside a tree.

We’re looking forward to Thursday!

Duty Parents w/b Oct 3rd

Our Woodland Play Sessions begin this week and our duty parents are Ashley and Mairi T. For Woodland Play Sessions duty parents provide snack and also stay to play for our session.

We will be meeting at the Lodge Car Park at 9:15 to give everyone, particularly those also dropping at school,  a little extra time to get to our venue.

Everyone should have received a leaflet about the sessions and a copy of the handbook. Please ensure that you have completed the required forms at the end of the leaflet.

A last wee reminder that we will be out in all weathers and that the burn which runs past our site is likely to be a huge attraction. Please, please send several changes of clothing. We anticipate that over time the water will lose some of its novelty and that children will become more experienced and proficient in guddling such that the number of changes required will reduce but, meantime, we really dont want the children to be put off by getting cold and wet.