St. Peter and St. Paul Staff Head for the Woods!
This was certainly a staff meeting to remember as everyone gathered together to find out more about the benefits of outdoor learning.
At SPSP we provide the children with opportunities to experience the outdoors for play, stimulation and learning. To help us ensure that we maximise these opportunities and manage risk appropriately, Miss Nicole is undertaking training to achieve her Forest Schools teaching qualification and she was keen to share some of the experiences she had found valuable.
Armed with wellies, first aid kits, water and marshmallows, the staff set off down to the woods and split into random teams resulting in different work and team dynamics being created. Staff worked with those they didn’t really know as the nursery is housed in two buildings.
Staff members were also able to bring their own individual ideas and look at how activities could be adapted to meet the needs of their own age groups. With a rota of four activities there was plenty to discover about the challenges presented by different learning situations.
When attempting knot tying techniques, staff had to follow pictures (with no demonstration) to complete the task. This quite difficult which showed just how difficult a child could find it when just looking at a picture for instructions.
Naming the trees with the help of an identification book was found to be a little ‘boring’ by most staff. They suggested that if this had been extended so bark rubbings could be made, it would have been a more interactive experience.
The den building challenge tasked the staff with creating a shelter that could keep out water. A team member then had to put their trust in their colleagues by testing the finished den. As water was poured on it was clear that we’d all succeeding in this challenge! Nobody got a soaking!
Lastly teams were told not to communicate and to just go and find materials to make ‘something.’ As you can imagine it was really hard not to talk to each other! However, the experience enabled staff to see how difficult it must be for children to not communicate with each other and yet successfully build on their unique ideas.
This was Miss Nicole’s chance to show us all her skills at starting a fire from kindling. Definitely not one to be shared with the children but a requirement of her course. The evening was finished with celebration of the fire being lit and marshmallows being toasted. The woods were filled with fun and laughter as we rose to the challenge of outdoor learning. A great time was had by all and thanks to Miss Nicole for leading the staff meeting.