Coate Water Park is a good half hour walk from college so I packed one back pack and took a tarpaulin and off we went. I wanted to show that you can do an awful lot outside with minimal kit. Some of the students knew the park and suggested we walk round to the right past the high,, but sadly disused concrete diving board. It was a lovely walk with the water on our left and we strolled past beech trees with many hearts carved by loved up Swindon couples, grassy areas, over wooden bridges and round to the other side where we found some dry ground with bluebells and ferns.
We had a discussion about Forest Schools (FS) and if any of their placements used woodland,, talked about 'watered down' FS where people go onto the school field or stay in the pre-school garden but decided that if people were taking children outside then that was a good thing whatever it was called. I suggested they look at the Forest School Association website for the FS principles and more information.
We also talked about Mud Kitchens and children having access to real natural materials and at that point I asked the students to split into groups and make some mud food. This gave them a chance to explore the area and me a chance to flip out the tarp and organise a few other things.
|Spaghetti and meat balls!|
|Salad with mushrooms - prompted a discussion on what to pick and how you would explain that to children|
They stayed in groups and we covered a lot of activities in a short space of time, it's always a bit of a whizz though but I think people take something away with them which gives them confidence to try new things with the children that they work with. I showed them the Manifesto for the Early Years; Putting Children First published in March this year. Their assignment at the moment is to compare different approaches to the curriculum and I thought that this document was worth reading.
|This group was making things with a stick and came up with a broomstick fixed with a hair bobble. This led to the wands (above) as we had a Harry Potter moment!|
|Is it maths, art, social? Or just fun?|