A Week at Morden: Week 3



Thursday


Mountain climbers! Mount Morden - an area basking in opportunities for our little adventurers. On the way we interacted with trusted dog walkers allowing us to stroke their fluffy dogs. Dogs are friends.


We want children to be comfortable around them no matter the size. We don't promote fear (we know the majority of walkers and can ensure that their dogs are safe). Diverting off the 'racetrack' we entered the long grass where we could hear crickets chirping.


We were unable to find any as we trampled through, but the uneven terrain, their vision being obscured, and the sensory aspect of the crickets would have served the children well in development. Finally... Mount Morden. Children clambered up the stairs, assisted where necessary.


At the top, some ran straight for the hill, others sat edging themselves to the slope to bum shuffle down.

We placed obstacles on the slope for climbing whilst staff played throwing and catching games.


The game promotes good sharing - also engaging them to move around on inclined terrain. Great for physical development! A fun filled morning where every child pushed out their comfort zone. Great stuff!


Friday


Doing our budget orders yesterday we realized we didn’t have many paintbrushes left. Not finding any we particularly liked birthed the idea of creating our own! We ventured all the way to the Great Pine tree (GPT) to retrieve its needle like leaves.


On the way we listened for crickets, had a race and identified the field sorrel plant and fox gloves. At GPT Daniel climbed whilst Dylan holstered a pulley system (our wonderful members of staff). Children helped raise the pulley for Daniel to place the leaves, they then lowered to take them out. Rinse and repeat. Now it was time to craft!


Children helped pull the leaves off the bigger branches so they could be attached to sticks with string. Holding the leaves in place, children rotated string to help tighten - Dylan then made them secure. We finished then had snacks. Now we could adventure.


We kept to our big walk Friday traditions - traipsing through fairyland, continuing on... We ended up in unchartered lands further than the Morden leisure centre!


Children immersed themselves in nature whilst learning and remembering the names of trees like; horse chestnut and sycamore. All in all, an amazing experience involving many aspects of forest school. They all did very well (especially with such a long walk!)


Monday


The little river walk! River walks intend to aid attunement of wet textures, temperature, varied depths of water and balance and coordination due to unlevel terrain. (In other words... it's awesome!) The weather allowed for this - so we embarked on this group's first proper river walk, transitioning alongside the familiar canopy walkway.


We started at the bridge by the carpark. There we encouraged children to use their hands to find large stones dropping them, engaging in trajectory. On from here, children were faced with the changes in depth. This made a few uncomfortable as most are used to their feet and hands being wet but not the full length of their legs in cold water.


We encouraged their progression and marched on until we were met by a small dam that the buggy couldn't pass.


Children clambered out and we carried on down the canopy walkway heading to the fishing area. At the fishing area children were prompted to move to us as we were standing inside. Coming to us shows their genuine interest in wanting to enter the water which they all did! When in the water we carried on with independent play with adults free flowing amongst them furthering their engagement. Some children climbed out and back in when they pleased. An awesome morning!


Tuesday

Extending our water play antics - today we brought fishing nets and colourful plastic sea creatures! On the way to bridge area, children initiated their own play. We played 'ring around the rosy', in doing so we found a grasshopper! They all looked in awe as it bounded around. Onwards we conducted running drills to boast their endurance, helping reach destinations faster.


After, we practiced independent walking on a log. This helps fine tune their feet placement whilst using their core strength to balance. With encouragement, all walkers did well with this! We ran again until we reached the bridge – Showtime! Children were called down the slippery slope.


Without prompt, they chose how to descend. Some walked, some slid. When in the water, the nets and toys came out.


The current carried the toys downstream which furthered their engagement. After modelling how to retrieve them, they all attempted but to our surprise some preferred their hands rather than nets.


Some used the nets to gather stones and others used the toys to scoop stones. They're really pushing the boat out! Staff went on through the bridge and played toy gathering and catching games with hands and nets, whilst we also encouraged children to climb out if they chose to.


Wednesday

Open play Wednesday! Today we wanted children to make choices.


We brought rope, a boomerang, bug catchers, paper, a bucket, a water tray filled with soil and the paintbrushes we created with sticks, string and pine leaves. After some small input… children were off! Children took the reigns pretending to be a train, bus and most notably a horse carriage as they accompanied their play with galloping noises and neighing.


Children retained information on how to use the boomerang, somewhat remembering the stance and most importantly, only to throw when no one is in front. The tray with soil inside needed water. Water was added and children began to churn with their hands and jab with the handle of the paintbrushes.


Children then mud painted the paper laid across the grass and one side of the white cricket board.


Others played the floor is lava on the board and utilized the tent as and when they pleased. Later we played tug of war, had water fights to cool down and played sleeping bunny games in the shade. Children engaged in a variety of activities during this session!


It was lovely to see them making clear choices. This also helps us gauge their interests by observing how long they stick to certain things. A lovely morning!


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