Little Rays Forest School
Forest school, is becoming increasingly popular, with lots of pre-schools offering outdoor education throughout the country. There are many benefits for children learning in the great outdoors – increased confidence, understanding of the natural spaces around them, learning new skills and increased social skills. There is also the opportunity to get very muddy!
Both my children are outdoorsy, so I was very excited to find out about a Stay and Play Forest session, run by Little Rays nursery and held at Watts Gallery. Little Rays is a family run nursery, based in Godalming, who pride themselves on their outdoor learning programme. Watts Gallery displays the paintings and sculptures of Victorian artist G F Watts and is based in Compton. There is an Artist Village where many workshops are held by practising artists. The Forest School sessions were held in the woodland around the gallery.
My daughter was 15 months old, and had been walking for a week, when I took her to the first session. We toasted marshmallows, ate nettle crisps, painted on logs and my daughter fell over a lot! We continued to attend the sessions most Monday mornings (unless it was really cold or wet) for the next year. As she was still very young, I helped her a lot with the crafts but, as she got older, she was able to contribute more. She was also happy just running around with sticks! I have included some of my hundreds of photos below. Activities included making a beaded necklace (including making the beads), painting with natural brushes, weaving, Clay figures, crowns, fir cone hedgehogs, mud cupcakes, building dens, bug hunting and lots of camp fires.
She now goes to Little Rays nursery, so she still goes to Forest School every Wednesday, but I no longer get to go (I miss it!). My son goes to the holiday sessions during school breaks. They both come back grinning, full of stories and then promptly fall sleep in the car! Forest School has been great for developing both my children’s confidence, abilities and getting them lots of fresh air. I feel very lucky that my daughter gets to learn to count using acorns!