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Combining Creative Learning and Forest School

by James on April 19th, 2012

I started a new project yesterday working at St Saviours Infant School in Bath for 5x5x5=creativity. Its a residency again but with a difference, this time I am working in partnership with Forest School Leaders as opposed to teachers. I’m working with Annie from Bath Forest School and Tina, who is taking over as Forest School coordinator at the school later this year.

As with all my 5x5x5=creativity work, the themes and interests of the children will emerge over time – we have 7 weeks working with one Year 1 class and then 5 weeks working with the other.

I and my colleagues are looking at how we can use the resources and spaces set up for Forest School, and the general ethos of this method of learning in the outdoors, combined with a creative, child-led approach, where we take our lead from the children, documenting their investigations and play with notes and photos, and then providing for their observed interests.

Yesterday we began with simple introductions to ourselves, to the materials and tools, and then invited the children to start by building shelters and dens with their friends.

It was up to them how and where they built them, and with who, and they were given permission to move on into other ways of making, and exploring the local environment (the school’s ‘Willow Garden’), when they were ready.

The result was a small hamlet of dens and houses, linking together and with trees, big ones to get in and play with ‘fires’, smaller ones for badgers or to heat pine cones, together with pulley systems, coloured wool decoration and places to store tools. There was also a fascination with the black beetles that lived under the log seating circle, a red ant’s nest and worms – “Its a Daddy worm, its big and strong”.

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