Friday, 16 October 2015

Starting out at forest school

This morning we went along to our second time at forest school, run by our local park rangers. The rangers have cleared a special place for us to meet in the park, complete with a fire square and lots of interesting nooks and crannies to explore. 

Today, the kids helped build a den, first finding large sticks for the roof, then 'branchier' sticks to cross-cross across the top, and finally adding some 'thatch' from hay cut earlier this week in a nearby field. Eden loved helping one of the Rangers take a wheelbarrow to collect the hay, she told me her favourite bit of today was jumping up and down on the hay bales to compact it. She also proudly carried the sharp shears over to the den area and I watched her confidence grow through the session as she realised her helping was useful and making a difference. 

Asher at the moment is a little shy in taking part in activities. He has had some behaviour problems over the last year, which have massively improved more recently by carefully modifying his diet. But over the last few months I've found it heartbreaking to watch his self-confidence take a bit of a knock, I think probably linked to his behaviour and natural consequences, sadly, of his behaviour. For example his low tolerance to frustration at not understanding an activity leads to him quickly and impulsively losing control beyond the point of going back, and therefore missing out. Forest school is great for building up his confidence. Today, he helped to pick sticks of differing sizes, putting them in the correct pile ready for building up the fire. He's a strong and capable boy outdoors, tramping through the tangles of ivy, brambles and stingles, snapping twigs beneath his feet. 

Asher's a kinaesthetic learner, and so he's in his element at forest school and it naturally fosters a 'can do' attitude in him. This afternoon at home ed group, it was so lovely to see the fruits of this so soon afterwards. Probably for the first time, he joined in confidently and happily in the activities. Usually, he would be very reluctant to join in an 'unknown' activity that he doesn't understand. Today I watched him go with the flow, much more settled and comfortable with the unknown. 

I love that home education gives me the opportunity to be at my children's side, watching the small everyday triumphs, which may seem insignificant to an outside eye, but to me, their mum, who knows them better than anybody, I see these, and treasure these moments.

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