When nothing is more than enough
Before heading out on any Forest School trip I look around my workshop and think "what will I need?" I have planned activities which require certain items but I also have my continuous provision which can be brought out to facilitate a range of interests shown by the children.
There's normally string, cord, scissors, knives, collecting pots, binoculars, magnifying glasses, cloth, paper and crayons ready for when a child shows an interest so that I can help them develop their ideas and engage with their interests.
Just before a walk through Primrose Hill Community Woodland recently with preschool children from Grosvenor I was looking around but instead of packing my usual pieces I thought "Let's see what happens when I take nothing", no extra items, no forest school backpack, no extra weight apart from the grab bag that accompanies us on every trip.
What happened instead was one of the most enjoyable trips possible. Rather than thinking constantly about how to extend each child's interest using extra items we focussed purely on what was around - sticks to make bug and fairy homes or to make arrows that directed us around the woods, charcoal from recent fires for drawing on trees. Dandelion clocks whose seeds are perfectly designed to float away on the lightest breath of wind were spread far and wide by the group who also investigated the wide range of meadow flowers on the hill; buttercups, plantain, lady's smock, herb robert and daisies to name just a few. Moreover there was the geography of the walk, climbing upwards, upwards and upwards right to the summit was a challenge the the group were more than up for, one girl even carried up three large rocks that she had found in the woods.
Eventually we reached the top and the view out across the surrounding landscape couldn't have been more rewarding. It was a session where I took nothing but everything came together perfectly.