Forest School at Home // Southeast: Aliveness and Agility

Apr 1, 2020

The Southeast direction provides practices responsible for enthusiastic motivations and excitement in action. Coming out of the indoor culture which promotes convenience and inactivity, our littles will be given the opportunity to come alive, toan take this opportunity to stretch their imagination muscle: “Jump like a grasshopper, run like a cheetah, land like a bird.” This week, we’ll be focused on Animal Forms as a way of enhancing quick-jerk reflexes and deft movements and encourage full abandonment into the art of acting. (Jon Young)

So, watch for Aliveness and Agility, the sparkle in the eye, the quick reflexes. Listen to their comments and be ready to join in when your littles move into action. Quick tip- my personal favorite Animal Form is the sloth, so I get to move nice and slow (while snacking) as my littles run like cheetahs around me.

Activity: Guessing Animal Forms

Age: All ages

Time: 15-30 minutes researching your animal of choice and learning how that animal moves, sounds, looks like, feels like etc. We’ll be using animals from the NY area only, please. Feel free to use this great link to see photos of the mammals that live in the NY area. You can always expand your search to include other types of vertebrates (animals with backbones like birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians.)

Material: Books, field guides, phone and/or computer to research your animal of choice

Skills: Agility, embodiment, master listing, imagination, fun, empathy, self-expression, mirroring and celebration

How To:

Inspire- Ask your little if they’ve ever wanted to be an animal. Then ask them what are some animals that they’ve seen outside, on a hike, in the woods, out their window. Do you think they’d like to become one of those animals? If they’re unsure of what animal to choose, they can check out this link which has great pictures of animals native to NY. Caregivers go ahead and choose an animal too!

Research Together- Once you’ve chosen your animals- now it’s time to research them. Spending time in nature, watching them is always wonderful, if possible. You can also look up the animals online or read about them in a book and/or via field guides. Watch how the animal moves, how it interacts with others, how it eats and sleeps.

forest school animal formsBecome Your Animal Form- Now it’s time to embody your animal. Take a few minutes to think about how you’ll turn your body into the body of your chosen animal. Become that animal and then act a scene out, as that animal. Turn into your animals as often as you’d like- the more often you do it, the more animal-like you’ll become!

Why it’s Great- this game is great fun and it cultivates agility and health of the body. Embodying an animal develops a deeper relationship with its natural history and strategies. We’re also working on the skill of master listing, as our learners will become more familiar with native NY animals. Imagining the animals strengthens the internalization of the animal and you and your little will be more likely to see these animals while out on an adventure as you’ll have a better understanding of how that animal moves. Additionally, this activity allows for self-expression and during our Guessing Animal Forms ZOOM call, we’ll all be able to witness each other’s self-expression and will also mirror and celebrate it.

As always, these activities are mere suggestions to help you and your little’s connect more with yourself, each other and with nature. They are by no means, prescribed, as nothing in Forest School ever will be. Like nature, we are here to support you, as you nourish you and your family’s mind, body and soul. You’ve got this and we’ve got this!