Case study 3
We run weekly Mini Explorers session (adult and toddler sessions) where we have the privilege of observing, assessing and planning activities to meet children’s curiosities and developmental needs. These sessions run over a six-session period which enables the Forest School team to observe each individual child’s development.
Session 1 for a new 3-year-old male child:
Child arrived for the first time with his grandparent, extremely excited, running freely and unpredictability from one area to another, hardly stopping for breath in between!
Being a ‘normal’ three year old, full of excitement with no fear and very little understanding of ‘cause and effect’.
At the beginning of each Forest School session we learn about our fire pit rules, we revise and revisit these at every session giving us all (including adults) continuity.
During the child’s first session it was almost an impossible task for grandma to encourage the child to stop long enough to listen or even sit down on one of the fire pit boundary logs. It was a case of grandma grabbing him if he was about to jump inside the fire pit boundary (our fire pit is always manned by one of our Forest School Leaders).
Session two, three and four was more or less the same, with everyone being extra vigilant of the child’s movements particularly near the fire pit boundary.
Even when he sat down on the fire pit boundary logs with his music sticks at music time, grandma usually got hit from the erratic movements he would make with his music sticks!
Unfortunately, at this point we needed to ensure other children were out of reach from his music sticks, so he was usually sat 1-1 with grandma rather than huddled in a group with the rest of the children.
However session five saw a marked improvement with the child arriving at the fire pit boundary in a calmer manner, stepping over the boundary logs and sitting on the log with his grandparent to find out what the day’s session ahead had to offer him.
As the weeks went on his skill with this continued to improve, with grandma now being able to complete the register whilst the child approaches the fire pit boundary by himself and sitting and chatting appropriately to the Forest School Leader who is manning the fire.
As for the music sticks… this did take a little longer for him to manage, probably due to his love and enthusiasm for music! However gradually over the weeks adults and children have been moving nearer to him without enduring any stick injuries or being used as a human drum!!!
It just shows you children do need continuity to enable them to strive and achieve, we all learn and develop at different paces and all of us have different things we need to celebrate!
This child continues to bring so much joy to the group with his love of singing, making up his own raps and tapping his music sticks together!! 🥁….. safely!!!
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