Our Tuesday afternoon Foxes group reminded me of one of the key aspects of both forest school and childhood with their adventurous spirit. It was a refreshing start to our weeks together and a great reminder to me of the importance of what we do. We had barely started on our walk when some of the children climbed up a small hill and started rolling down! This quickly caught on with the whole group, and brought joy to all of us!
This simple event reminded me of the joy of childhood - the ability to seize the moment, to have the time to notice your surroundings and engage with them. These children have the freedom to get dirty. It reminded me to live in the moment, and of the simple joys and pleasures there are all around us.
Their spontaneous play embodied many principles of the forest school experience. Along with modern preschool pedagogy, forest schools believe in the importance of child led play and allowing children to follow their interests and express themselves. We freely allowed the children to modify our plan and lead us to what they are interested in - climbing hills and rolling down. The joy they found in simple physical activity reminds us of the importance of giving children freedom to explore and take risks. There is a risk in rolling down the hill with your 10 forest school friends - and two children experienced this as they bumped into each other on the way down. However, this was only a small pause in the excitement in the air.
Lastly, we strive to facilitate learning how to play in and with nature (without toys!). Materials required for this joyous event? A small hill is needed - even if there are sumac bushes to climb around and small plants in the way - some friends, and an sense of adventure!
What a great start to our spring Foxes program! We have a group of explorers who seize opportunities with joy. They know how to play in and with nature. They have the freedom to influence our plans and activities. I'm looking forward to all the other adventures we will have together!
written by Giselle Carter
Hammers, Huge Swings, and the Freedom to Play