It’s been a while since I posted an update and I’ve been feeling a little guilty that I’ve neglected my website for so long! Summer was busy and fun-packed, and I have to admit my Forest School work took a back seat while I soaked up the sunshine. However it was not forgotten as many of my Summer adventures were filled with nature and many hours were spent outdoors.
I’ve been foraging for lots of summer berries and fruits and practicing my tree identification while the leaves gave away clues. We watched pollinators enjoying the flowers in the garden and spiders weaving magnificent webs. Sometimes you need to just sit and take it all in.
I also tried my hand at making a wooden spoon! After working on the allotment there was a pile of wood with my name on it. I had loads of fun using the billhook to chop the wood into a rough spoon shape. Next I used a knife to whittle it down even further. Unfortunately I don’t have the tools to make it into something more beautiful but I’m happy with my rudimentary version!
As September rolled around my mind was starting to focus on the new academic year; but before I headed back to the classroom, I spent my last Summer holiday weekend at the UK Permaculture Convergence (learn more about permaculture here). Last year I was on the kids crew but this year decided to just attend the event and actually go to some workshops! I still managed to get myself involved in the kids activities and spent some time den building and making bees from alder cones. There was also an update from the Children in permaculture project which is really interesting for those doing outdoor education with children already. Take a look at their site for resources and ideas.
The last three weeks have been mainly focused on my new teaching job. I only work part time but it still takes lots of energy to get into a routine and learn the ropes! I have taken on the school’s Eco Committee and the Forest school/Outdoor learning coordinator role. This term I was supposed to be running a Forest School club but it was all a little muddled up with other clubs and commitments so I’m having to postpone until Spring. I am still keen to incorporate as much outdoor learning as I can by getting out with the Eco committee and organising whole school outdoor days in the local woods. Watch this space!
Last week I was lucky enough to go on a residential trip! I am that teacher that loves getting involved in all of the activities, especially when heights or mud are involved. We went to Lea Green Learning and Development Centre which is near Matlock. It was great fun and I also picked up lots of ideas and tips for my future practice as a Forest School practitioner. During our ‘Bushcraft’ session I was allowed to help maintain the fire and the group leader let me teach the children how to use a flint and steel. One of my favourite tips was that you can toast a starburst sweet just like a marshmallow and they are veggie friendly!
The autumn colours and crispy leaves underfoot seem to have inspired me and re-ignited the Forest School spark. It’s only a month until my assessment now so I really need to get busy. Look out for an Autumn activity blog later this week and some nature themed Harry Potter crafts too!