Smashing Pumpkins & Fairy Fires = Best Day Ever!

Nov 12, 2019

Essentials Field Notes: Week Seven


This past week at Forest School was pretty awesome. We smashed pumpkins and made our very own fires…Billy Corgan would have been proud (I had to;))

Our morning started off with rolling our pumpkins down the hill to our pool area and then using hammers to carve and then pull out the ooey, gooey centers. Sticky, dirty fingers were worn like badge of honor. We also made “pumpkin pies” and figured out the best locations to leave our leftovers for our animal friends to feast on later.

One learner exclaimed, “this is the best day ever!” as he meticulously and creatively carved a happy face into the pumpkin with his hammer, mastering some serious gross motor skills. Other learners were experimenting with cause and effect, distance and speed and spatial awareness as they smashed, rolled and threw their pumpkins and then tried to piece them back together again in new ways. This type of destructive play, tearing up of old ideas and notions and coming up with new possibilities is vital for learners and should be encouraged when possible. And at Forest School, anything is possible.

We then learned what 3 elements are needed to make our very own fairy fires. They are…1. A spark, 2. Fuel and 3. Air. Each learner worked one-on-one with a leader to make a spark from fire steel and then to work diligently at throwing those sparks onto a charcoal cloth bundled in dry hay to make their own fires. It was much harder than most expected but the resulting fire born from their breath was well worth the effort. Our diligent learners practiced grit, determination and persistence and they beamed with empowered joy as their fuel bundles caught fire. One learner worked with the wind to help her fire come to life and once it was lit proudly stated, “nature is always on my side. It’s because, I am nature.” We couldn’t agree more.

It was also beautiful and oh-so hopeful to hear and watch our learners encourage each other when they struggled and compliment each other when they succeeded. This community of loving learners bonded by Mother Nature and set a fire by curiosity is what Forest School is all about.