There is True Beauty in the Breakdown

Oct 28, 2019

Forest School Essentials Field Notes- Week 5

The winds from last week blew hard enough to sweep down our oldest and most fragile trees. As we walked into our home in the woods, we noticed the calm after the storm and saw a huge elder on the ground.

We wondered.

How did this happen, was it the wind, was the tree dead, what will happen now? We explored all around, above, under and over this wise wooden friend and discovered that although the tree had fallen, it still served many purposes. Minibeasts made it a home and now that there was space in the tree canopy, sunlight could reach spaces it never had before. There is true beauty in the breakdown and we were able to experience that. To not simply hear the words, but to see it, touch it, and feel it. It was moving for us all. Some learners even asked to re-visit our fallen friend to better understand the experience.

Once in the heart of the woods, we felt even more keen to play on our tree friends and our learners swung from branches and scrambled high into trees and across rope bridges. It was as if they wanted to enjoy their trees to the fullest, knowing that these trees may not always be here.

We also had many opportunities to practice the “art of negotiation”, as coveted treasures were shared amongst friends. At Forest School, we allow our learners to solve their own problems while providing mediation when necessary. As part of a community this is so important and we celebrate negotiation and peacemaking. We all have so much to learn from each other.

Some learners also took to whittling journey sticks that “spoke to them” and with focused determination (and fantastic fine and gross motor skills), began to learn the basics of handling a knife. We work with each learner individually when handling a tool and allow them to work at their own pace and based on their own interests. Our learners are incredibly capable and respectfully working with tools allows them to build their confidence, focus and physical skills.

Until next week- see you outside!