The mid winter sun showed it's face this morning as we set off down the track to the woods for the last time this year and what a year it has been....
We lit our last fire and used it to cook up some hot spiced apple juice. There was some excellent fruit cutting and we also toasted some mince pies to share. We played frisbee with some wreaths of hazel and 3 year old L invented a brilliant game of throwing the wreaths on sticks, like a woodland hoopla! What a peaceful and lovely way to end our year in the woods with a lovely group of children and parents.
After school we took a different route to the woods, to avoid the overwhelmingly muddy path across the fields. Some of the children had brought their own sketchbook and drew some leaves they had spotted along the way. We saw some snow berries glinting in the hedges, so although no real snow, it was a great sign of mid winter. We took the 'badger path' and talked about how badgers scratch the ground to find food. The children also talked about the iron in the ground and how it makes the water in the ditches orange. It is so brilliant to hear all of this knowledge from the children, who are showing the they are truly connected to their local environment and can share and explain their knowledge with such enthusiasm and assurance.
Once in the woods, we made a fire for light and water heating, for our usual hot drinks. The light seemed brighter, despite being a new moon and closer to midwinter than ever before. But the children noticed more of the leaves had fallen, allowing the sky to light our space.
The stream and damming was a draw as always, especially with the excitement of the depth of the stream due to the recent rainfall. Us adults had a good giggle at their exploration of what happened when you break a dam.....lots of fast running water, coming at them downstream, which was a surprise to the children!
The children can now put up the hammock on their own and set off with independence to follow their own ideas and games.
There was some candle lit wreath making before we set off home. This time the children reflected on what they would like to do next year at their Forest School session:
I would like to plant things and do some gardening
I would like to cook stuff on the fire
I want to go back to my project, my dam building
I want to make daisy chains
I want to climb trees
I want to build some climbing things, like balancing on logs and slopes
We managed to spot the planet Mars in the sky at the end of our session, so us adults thought we would like to learn some more constellations....
Whatever unfolds, by reflecting on how the group have developed such drive and confidence in following their own interests and ideas, we are certain that the children will make whatever they want to happen, happen. Happy end of the year xxx