Celebrating Failure & Grit

Nov 25, 2019

Essentials Field Notes: Week Eight




Last week at Forest School, we again worked with the mighty element that is fire. Building off of last week’s adventure in making our own fairy fires, we turned up the firepower and created a community bonfire. From a small flame to something much bigger, our learners experienced how to respect this elemental essence that mesmerizes the senses.



In addition to learning a multitude of ways to keep warm (and how to put their own gloves on!), our learners used the community fire to cook their very own food. The learners took flour, filtered water and salt to create preference perfected damper bread mixtures. Through this process, we confirmed that we are all indeed learners at forest school. We each experimented with making our own mixing bowls out of aluminum foil (which proved more messy than expected), what water to flour proportions worked best and what the right batter consistency looked and felt like. It was a sensory experiment in baking and our learners felt empowered in making their own mixtures.



Once the batter was ready for cooking, a whole new series of problem-solving experiments came into play. What stick would work best for cooking, did the stick need to be whittled and why, and what part of the fire cooked the bread most thoroughly? Many a batter were lost in the flames and after the initial shock and disappointment, our determined learners went back to the drawing board and tried again and again. Each time, gaining more experience and more knowledge. Failure and grit was celebrated and encouraged. It was exhilarating for us all when after 2 or 3 attempts, a learner who initially said “I can’t do this” beamed with joy as she had succeeded in making her very own nourishing snack. Once off the stick, our damper bread was smothered in apple spread and enjoyed like a delicacy.