There is a wonderful space within the Gateway grounds where creativity and possibilities are endless. For some, it has the potential to be the greatest playground of all, with its diverse structures, textures and creatures of all shapes and sizes. It is a space where every child has the opportunity to find their voice, learn to solve problems and develop essential team building skills. Children from Preschool to Year 2 visit this space weekly to learn and explore. Where is this place? It’s our Forest School.
During September, the younger children at Gateway have shared many adventures that have included one of the oldest and most versatile toys in the world. The stick!
Finding their own sticks in our Forest School area, Year 1 have used them to measure, write words and make comparisons in size. For Roald Dahl day, it was delightful to see the children working together to build chocolate factories with stick bridges built above stick rivers. The stick adventures continued in Year 2 where the children used sticks to create natural art and write their names. The very same sticks became spades for some of our Early Years children who dug small holes in search for worms but found treasure! The possibilities for our Forest School sticks have been limited only by imagination and enjoyed by so many.
When reflecting on what I have learnt from the Forest School sessions this month, it becomes clear that adults generally walk past sticks without a thought. But for a child, choosing your own stick with care allows it to be anything you want it to be: a wand to cast magic spells, a sword to battle fierce dragons or a character to include in a game.
Forest School sessions provide an engaging space where the stick, and other natural resources, become the starting point for learning opportunities and adventures. Sticks are natural, found everywhere and they are free! If you haven’t got a favourite stick, put on your imagination hat, get outside and find one. You never know when you may need to battle that dragon…!