Thursday, 3 May 2012

A Rainy Forest School Morning

This morning I helped out in Jonah's Forest School. The children are aged 3 and 4. It was pouring with rain, and I mean pouring. Even I wore waterproof trousers, and for an indoor girl like me (and yes, I am one on the inside), that is quite a major feat. It was thrilling.

These are the things I noticed them learning:

Perseverance. When they got cold hands, they rubbed them, shook them, clapped them together and then carried on.

Safety of those around them. They looked out for each other and made sure they weren't waving around big sticks. When they came across nettles, instead of completely avoiding them (far too much of a risk, surely?!) they all put their hands up in the air and walked through them.

You can still have fun in the rain - lots of it. They lay on the wet floor under trees, while others shook the water all over them to give them a shower. They stood in the rain, mouths open, to taste the raindrops. Apparently they taste like strawberry jam. They rolled down a wet, slippery hill. They splashed, jumped and kicked their way through enormous deep puddles.

Dressing and Undressing. When they came in, they were so wet (despite being covered in waterproofs from head to toe!) that they all had to get changed. Some of them looked at me helplessly, holding out their wet wellies for me to pull off. Instead, I gave them my most patient smile and said "You can do it! Give them a big tug and they'll come off!". They tugged and, to their amazement, the welllies came off.

Confidence - Those who were a little more wary of rolling down a wet hill, soon took the plunge (almost literally) when they saw how much fun the others were having.

It gives me such a thrill to see children discovering the joy that can be found outside, whatever the weather, and watching them learning even when they are not aware of the things they are learning. Despite being soaked to the bone, it has put a huge smile on my face for the rest of the day. What a privelege to be a small part of the development of those children. It is so important for them to experience the changing seasons and the different weather patterns. They learn so much more than about plants and nature. Taking children outside in all weathers is vital for their development. I love, love, love Forest School.

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