Updated: Aug 31, 2019
After a successful six months of pilot programmes it was time to open our sessions to new learners keen on nature education, learning in the great outdoors and the Forest School approach to learning.
We tested a new afternoon session format and took the plunge into Forest School for toddlers 18 months to 3yrs old.
We were overwhelmed with the positive response and we'd like to thank everyone who came along to give Wildlings a try. Here's a snapshot of what happened in the Forest, keeping in mind that it's impossible to provide a full picture of everything that happens during our sessions without disrupting the children and their flow.
Tuesday Morning Group: 3yrs to 6yrs
Slideshow:: on our nature walk we visited our hair fig tree and pretended that we were in jail. We Journeyed off of the beaten track working on our movement skills and extending our comfort zones and found a bread fruit tree and terap tree with leaves larger than the children. We found a cache of well preserved skeleton leaves. We set up camp and practiced our social skills during our social snack time. We practiced turn taking and sharing as we mixed paints using natural dyes such as turmeric, pandan and beetroot with clay and chalk as a base for the paints. We used canvas, the natural paints and skeleton leaves to make abstract nature art to take home and display for reflection.
The children were given a simple mallet tool to use to bash open kapok seedpods to extract the cotton. We used the cotton to stuff a pillow to use in a throwing game.
We finished the session working on our communication skills with story telling using our story stones and then if this wasn't enough we still had time to practice fruit harvesting by using a stick to knock star fruit off of the tree!
Thursday Morning Group, 18months to 3yrs
Slideshow: Our new group of little ones investigated what happens to things when you throw them into moving water and received a little welcome gift before we set off on a treasure hunt to see what we could find in the forest. On our nature walk we found rubber seeds, giant leaves and skeleton leaves. We solved the mystery of why so many undeveloped rambutan were strewn on the path when we encountered feasting monkeys! The idea was to make a collage out of the things we found but this task fell to the parents when the little wildlings were too busy getting wet and muddy. Those who wanted to join in listened to 'We're Going on a Bear Hunt' - a familiar story to make them feel at home. We finished with a successful one minute of quiet time listening to nature and calming ourselves before each child received a sticker picture of the collage that we made for reflection.
Wednesday Afternoon Group, 3yrs to 6yrs
Slideshow: Some of our regular Forest Schoolers show our new learners how to get right in, and how to get out again! Given the choice between the footpath and the 'adventure route' we were pleased to see everyone choosing to be brave. We stopped to take a look at the Kapok Tree seed pods stuffed with cotton and we used our Kapok pillow for a quick game of catch.
The children's choice of which way to go led to the creation of a dirt slide which was something new for us!
Slideshow: After we made camp and practiced our social skills during our social snack time, the re-energised children had the chance to make a nature crown using things we found as well as skeleton leaves and pressed flowers bought to the session. The children were introduced to the long straight seedpods from the Golden Shower Tree and given a set of pipe cleaners which they used to make rainbow sticks whilst practicing their pre-knot tying skills. We then hung a log and rope swing whilst some children played our fishing game made using rubber seed pods and which helps to develop literacy skills. Finally we headed off to visit the quarry before the rain came down. Some children and parents fled to the shelter, whilst others took the opportunity to play in the rain. We finished with a story and almost two minutes of quiet time listening to the rain. We used a newly decorated rainbow seedpod as a talking stick for reflection (for those not too busy getting wet and sandy!) and thanked each other, and the forest before heading home.
How to experience Forest School at one of our taster sessions
If you missed out on our first round of taster sessions be sure to catch the next ones in the first week of August. We can't promise to always have places available to try out Forest School and after the first week or two of our programmes we may close groups to new starters whilst we focus on the holistic development of our existing participants.
To find out what taster sessions we have coming up click here.
To find our what programmes are available to book now click here.