Scared of Puddles?

Instead of buckets of rain, today the sun shone on our forest school! And it was indeed a beautiful day for exploring textures and making cob monsters!
But more importantly, today I really had the chance to see some of the principles of forest school in action. When we are training, we learn about developing confidence, managing fears, individualised learning, self-directed exploration and holistic learning. But these days too easily these words can become catch phrases – show me a school mission statement that doesn’t mention at least one of these things and I’ll show you a Head who is hoping to blow their redundancy package on a round-the world sailing trip. So how refreshing then, to be working with kids in the forest where it really feels possible for these things to be true.
Today a 2 year old boy, normally quite timid, very softly spoken and often seeking reassurance from grown ups, told me he was going to go down our big hill alone – and then he did! And when he got to the bottom, he shouted to me, “Jenni, I did it! I got to the bottom all by myself and I didn’t need a grown up to help me!” And, certainly today, maybe forever, that was the end of him holding hands in the woods.
Later, a 3 year old girl, a mixture of confident and timid, happy and thoughtful, approached an area with many puddles and stopped dead in her tracks. (Speaking of dead – to give you perspective, she looked right up close at the disembowelled pheasant we found earlier and didn’t bat an eyelid) “I’m scared.” she said and grabbed my hand. So I asked her what was scaring her and she told me it was the puddles. “Because they are scary and they can get me.” Remember, she’s 3 – don’t try to understand, just go with it.
Anyway, I’ll leave out the middle bits here – reassure, talk, approach the puddles, tap boots in, forget about it – play play play. And then as we’re packing our things to leave I ask her what her favourite thing was in forest school today,
“The puddles,” she said “I like splashing in puddles.”

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