If there’s one thing the week four group will be remembered by it’s their love for climbing! This group spent the first half of the week making their way up trees, both with and without hand-made harnesses.
The second half of the week we upgraded to a true climbing harness and rope! Which way to THE climbing tree? We had to try it out!
All that climbing is hard work, so we always make sure to take time for ourselves and rest. Though the hammocks make great swings and cocoons; we encourage the kids to utilize their hammock time to rest their bodies. In our full day programs every student participates in ~40 min of quiet hammock time. During this time they are offered a notebook and writing utensils; used to doodle and write whatever they please. Many children also choose to bring in items from home to keep them busy or comforted during this time; everything from books to bracelets to teddy bears. Many parents are shocked to learn that their kids can be quiet that long, sitting in a hammock, in a classful of students; however, many of the students share that hammock time is their favourite time of the day.
Another amazing thing about hammock time, besides offering the opportunity for rest on long days, is the independents and teamwork that comes out in putting up and taking down their own hammocks. We teach each student how to tie a square knot around the tree with the hammock ropes, always encouraging them to try it on their own and help out those around who are still learning. The hammocks we use come out of and pack back into a small pocket sewed into their side. Each student is encouraged to (try to) pick out their trees, unpack and tie up their hammocks before quiet time and untie and repack afterwards. We notice the children show a huge sense of pride when they accomplish one or more steps to this process.
But we didn’t just hangout in trees all week, we of course made a trip to the beach!
and learned new skills through the use of tools!
We offer the use of a vegetable peeler for the novice whittlers until they and the leaders both feel comfortable upgrading them to the knife. This is a great way to learn the skills for whittling minimizing the risks that come with a knife. We ensure they know how to hold their tools away from their bodies and never pointing towards them. We teach them to respect the tools and the importance of sitting in a comfortable location within supervision, but away from others around them. The students enjoy learning to peel the bark from various species of wood, advancing towards making swards and bow and arrows.
No matter how you keep busy at forest school, if you find yourself bored, you’re not using your imagination 🙂