Friday, 24 April 2015


Well the donations just keep coming!! This time a large metal tray that we could use as a shallow pond for amphibians. Also another delivery of woodchip from the same tree surgery company!

And the fantastic supporters of our project, turning up in their wellies and warm clothes to shovel, cut and dig!

We have been donated several trees today as well which is wonderful as currently "Forest school" is not really a true description. We do have a shortage of trees and I look forward to seeing these ones grow!

I am really loving how the children are wanting to be so involved in all this hard work. They pick a job and run with it. They are all working towards a joint vision and I am being approached by children in the playground at school, asking when I am doing another "Campfire night!"
I could not have asked for a better response to this project! So many people have been so generous with their time, donations and skills!

Thursday, 23 April 2015


Give children the time and space to explore some open ended toys and resources and you will be amazed at what they can learn!
These two children were playing with Art straws while I cleaned up after lunch. They cam running to the kitchen shouting at me to look at the toy they had just made. 

"Look! Look what it does....... I twist this bit and then it stays up all by itself!"

"L" span her home made spinning top for me and "I" laughed.

The shear joy and excitement on their faces was wonderful to see.

"I can do it too Pip! Look I made some as well. Spin!!!!" Little "I" joined in.

I placed the Art straws out with some 3D shapes to introduce the concept of 3D shapes and their correct names. I thought the children might try and recreate the 3D shapes with the straws.

I was wrong! They set about exploring physics! Learning some basic elements of Gravity, Inertia, Centrifugal force and Friction!

Children need to be trusted to explore the world for themselves and learn from their explorations. Self initiated and self learnt lessons. Learning through curiosity and exploration!

    • Look at other items that spin. Spinning tops, roundabouts at the park, gyroscopes.


    Little "L" created this toy with no guidance or suggestion. This was self initiated and took a lot of trial and error to achieve. She showed curiosity about the items available to her and explored and experimented with what she could do with them. When she found something that interested her, she continued to explore it, adjusting the positioning of the large circular part. She set her own challenge and worked to achieve her desired goal.
    She maintained focus and showed a high level of interest. She was very keen to draw others in to her play and taught "I" how to make the same toy. She also showed her how to hold it and make it spin. 

    Today's play, meets the following EYFS Prime and specific areas:
    • Communication and language
    • Physical Development
    • Personal, Social and Emotional 
    • Expressive Art and Design
    • Understanding The World

    Tuesday, 21 April 2015


    Our second Forest School session was well attended again today! Word is getting round and people are coming form outside of the village to come and play in our AWESOME space!

    The sessions start off with a campfire and cooking stick bread! Perfect mid morning snack and the children take the job of cooking it very seriously. No messing near the fire!

    They are all becoming little pro's at cooking stick bread!

    Our Forest School leader walked us around the site, marking our boundaries with coloured wool and reiterating the rules we had set last week. The children also hung wool on prickly plants and trees to remind them that they need to take care near them.

    We the enjoyed a crafting activity. Making beads from Elder. We cut Elder branches in to short lengths and the children used sticks to push the pulpy middle out. They then threaded them on to coloured wool to make jewelry and pendents!

    Many of us stay after the session for a picnic on site and the children continue to enjoy the Learning Center and playing with their friends!

    Saturday, 18 April 2015


    The paths are looking amazing after last nights work party and the hard work that the community put in! I am in total amazement and filled with joy at how everyone has come together to make this site a place for our children and families to enjoy. There seems to be a real shared vision for this site and the children are buzzing with excitement to be here! 

    I wanted to take my boys up for the evening and do some more bits on site today so popped a little message on Facebook to say we would be there if anyone wanted to join us.

    And what do you know....... people joined us!

    Teenage boys set to work collecting logs in a wheelbarrow from a nearby garden. The home owner contacted us to say we were welcome to them.
    They then fetched water from the local sports and social club to part fill the water butt which had also been donated by the same family.

    The site is really starting to come together.

    My boys set about Christening our Kelly Kettle and making tea for everyone.

    I cooked bacon for all the workers!

    Chocolate digestive and marshmallow S'mores!

    Toasting marshmallows!!

    Another great night with locals in our very popular new community space.

    Friday, 17 April 2015


    Another donation given to us this week by a local tree surgery company. A massive pile of fresh woodchips! 
    In true community style we had a great turnout of people with wheelbarrows and other tools to help shift it on to the new paths. We had one family bring their lawn mower to cut back the bramble stumps on the pathways. The local sports and social club offered us tools for the evening!

    After all the hard work we enjoyed fresh tea made by other supporters on their Kelly kettles.
    The sun faded and everyone enjoyed our first proper evening campfire! It was a wonderful atmosphere and the children told us that it was the best evening EVER!!


    My sister rang me this week to say that the new housing development that she works at has HUGE cable reels that they do not need. She spoke to a nice builder and explained about our Forest School project and they said we were very welcome to take as many as we needed!

    Cue a quick Facebook plea to the community for a large van a someone willing to come collect a few.

    As is becoming the norm with this project, an offer of help was forthcoming in minutes and today we drove off in a borrowed van to get these amazing free resources!

    The builder even helped to lift the  reels in to the van for us!

    A HUGE THANK YOU to all involved!

    Tuesday, 14 April 2015


    Kids need to get bored.... good things come from boredom. Brendan finds it particularly hard not to have something stimulating him. He has always been the same and I believe it is part of his Autism. I do try very hard to try and teach him that he does not need to be doing all the time and that it is good to just "relax and be" sometimes. 
    I am fighting a bit of a battle though when we live in a world of tv, tech and on tap stimulation. 
    I am slowly making progress though. He reads more and spends more time outside (although only if I am out with him too) and I am seeing him slowly developing the ability to find his own entertainment.
    Sometimes it is climbing a tree or making up a game but today it was photography!

    Here are a selection of some of his Arty shots!

    Saturday, 11 April 2015


    The Forest school site that I have been helping to build has really started to come along! Heart of the wild wood (the forest school group we have joined with) and the local community have been so supportive. We have now set up the site as a charity and we have decided to call it an Outdoor Learning Center as we feel this encapsulates the vision for the site better.

    We organised a working party to dig and build a fire pit so that we could start to run some Forest School sessions. The soil is very clay based so this worked nicely for building up an edge to the pit.

    We hacked back brambles and a friend came in with some great cutting tools to make us some pathways through the site. At the end of the session we raked all the brambles in to the fire pit and had a lovely bonfire.
    Kenzie helped to light it with a flint a steel.

    Then we cooked stick bread over the embers and shared a cup of tea together.

    I have such wonderful visions for the site and have such a strong feeling that this is one of (if not) the best and most important project I have been involved in.

    Friday, 10 April 2015


    Making the most of the sun this week and feeling very calm and at home in the outdoors! So much so that we opted for walking up to the manor rather than catching the shuttle bus from the car park. The last uphill bit with a very basic stroller nearly killed me (or at least reminded me to get the puncture on the Phil and Teds fixed)!

    Just look at that stunning countryside! I wanted to find a little wooded area and set up home. Imagine waking up to that every morning! And what AWESOME trees!

    When we finally got up the hill we were greeted by the fairy castle (Waddesdon Manor) and the bluebells carpeting the lawn!

    Our main reason for visiting was to explore the Colourscape domes That had been set up for the past couple of weeks. The que was very long and took about an hour and a half to get to the front so we made ourselves comfortable and had a picnic. We had to relocate every now and then as the que moved but everyone was in good spirits and the weather was glorious!

    After lunch little "M" had a nap in the buggy and the older children ran over to the rocks to play. They found some school friends who were waiting a bit further up the que and all got together for a game of chase and hide and seek.

    Another example of the risk assessing of dangers for themselves. Yes my heart was in my mouth at times, but the top of the rocks is actually the level of the ground as it goes up the hill and they were all being super careful when navigating the rocks. They really can assess and manage their own risks if I let them.

    Finally it was our turn....... We could hear the music playing inside. The center dome is where the musicians are. The sounds bounce around the domes, and mixed with the colours that are created from the sun shining through the fabric, making the whole experience totally immersive and effects all your senses. For some reason the red ares made me feel rather drunk and I noticed that little "M" was initially reluctant to enter red areas.

    Everyone wears coloured tunics to add to the experience.

    It was rather warm inside but I loved how it made me feel (apart from the drunk feeling). The children were excitable and keen to explore one minute and then lay out, relaxing and listening to music the next. Brendan can sometimes find things rather over stimulating in sensory settings but this seemed to calm him.

    By the end we had all chilled out a bit which was nice. 

    We had a relaxed time listening to the man playing some really interesting percussion instruments.

    It was such an amazing experience and well worth the long wait. Very reasonably priced. A rather Hippie experience and great for teaching little "M" her colours in a kinesthetic way!


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