• Liz Hannam

What Learning Looks Like At Forest School

Updated: Apr 1, 2021

Learning in the woodland is sometimes obvious and exciting and sometimes subtle and

mundane. Gently bubbling under the surface, curiosity flowing, sparks flying. Deep

concentration and the joy of following their own path.

It's in the child using their body to run and climb, launching themselves along the zip wire, taking

that first brave leap. In the child engineering a canal or dam in the stream. In the child digging

for clay and creating beautiful pots and adorning them with forest finds. In the eagle eyed child

noticing the small treasures, the tiny bones, the owl pellets and fungi that usually goes

unnoticed underfoot. It's in the children sitting in trees, chatting the morning away, navigating

friendships, group dynamics, finding their voices, falling out and making amends. In the child

baking cakes and soup and plenty of tea in the mud kitchen, or peacefully reading their book by

the wood burner.

It's in the dens, the long walks and lunches in favourite spots along the way. It's in the cloud

watching, laying in the long grass and buzzard spotting, it's heading out on an adventure from

our little woodland home.

It's in the practitioner who sits and whittles for hours on end with the child who wants to practice

their knife skills over and over. In the practitioner who checks in, listens and laughs with each

child, chatting about full moons, the passing of pets and holidays and trips they are counting

down the days to. It's in the practitioner saying it's ok not to feel ok.

It's in the constant checking of the weather, checking the children are warm, dry, fed and

comfortable. It's in the afternoons spent seeking shelter together from the high winds, teaching

each other how to play hopscotch and sharing jokes. It's in the warm breezes and spring

flowers, the sweaty, muddy, smiling faces.

It's in witnessing the connection when new friendships blossom and the long standing

friendships deepen from spending our days together, week in, week out, through the changing

seasons. It's the whole beautiful year learning together in our woodland, making memories that

will last us a lifetime.

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