Many activities in art or sewing rely on the child being able to tie a knot, or rely on an adult being available to tie the knots. At Forest School we often make nature mobiles or garlands which needs lots of knots. Sewing buttons, embroidery work, beading also requires knots and my three year old gets frustrated when he needs help to complete the work. Rope is also a fun loose parts material that can be used in construction, block building or building forts. I decided to present knot tying (as above) as an independent, isolated activity. This is to... Read more →

Today I want to share with you a little basket I've put together for Otto (3yrs) about Cicadas. Otto is fascinated by the Cicada shells frequently found at his Bush School class. I didn't know a lot about Cicadas so I started researching. They are SO interesting! I wanted to share some of this knowledge with Otto so I put together an interest basket. Have you used basket like this before? They can be used to spark an interest or to further develop an interest. The idea is to observe the child and follow what captures the child's attention and... Read more →

When we returned to Australia (from the UK) earlier this year I knew I wanted Otto (now 3 yrs) to attend a Forest School program. I knew of two programs within our general area and mid 2020 we were able to attend our first Australian Bush School! The Bush School is based on the Forest School philosophy but as it is not run in a Forest, the term Bush School is more appropriate. The obvious difference between our UK Forest School and our Australian Bush School is the climate. Our UK Forest School was often freezing and very wet (and... Read more →

Are you attending any toddler or preschooler classes right now? This term Otto and I have been attending a Montessori parent toddler class. It's been wonderful to soak in all the Montessori knowledge and wisdom from those around us. The class is very different from pre-pandemic days. Today was our first day at an Australian Forest School (here they call it Bush Kinder). This class is different to our UK Forest School (which I miss so much) and has also adapted to pandemic restrictions, which is much easier to do outdoors! We are incredibly fortunate that for the rest of... Read more →

To celebrate International Mud Day (Monday 29th June) we spent the morning in our garden getting dirty and a little muddy! Digging lots of holes and filling them with water. The only tools we used were a trowel and a watering can. And a few seeds and seedlings. Today was a bit of a wake-up call. We really haven't done any mud play since leaving our UK Forest School. We know that mud play is just so good for children. So I have a few ideas of a mud play area I can create with some water, buckets, and a... Read more →

Even in the cooler weather we are aiming to spend a minimum of three hours a day outdoors. We do this by exploring our backyard, our neighbourhood, our local park and forest areas and the nature reserve. Taking learning outdoors is important and learning in situ is important. There is no better place to learn about nature, about tree and flowers, about wind and rain, than outdoors. While I am very much in favour of free play and roaming around outdoors, it's nice to have a few tools and materials for the children to use too. Here are a few... Read more →

We've previously shared what our Montessori parent-toddler classroom looked like and some of the activities we've tried so today I thought I would try to do the same with our toddler Forest School class. We are currently living in the UK and we don't have access to a Montessori school or Montessori toddler class but I've found the Forest School class beneficial in so many ways. I have found Forest School compatible with my Montessori parenting and would absolutely recommend it to other Montessori parents. Like the Montessori classroom, the child is free to move around the Forest and work... Read more →

I recently discovered this absolutely gorgeous photobook about unconventional schools. It's an amazing book, it's ground-breaking. I've never seen a book like it. If you are passionate about schooling or unconventional methods of education you might like it too! Let's Do This is a photo book with nearly 300 images of six unconventional schools from around the world. Featuring schools from Bali, San Diego, Netherlands, Denmark, Finland and, California. Touching subjects like; Making Movement, Nature Schools, Engaging Education, Project-Based Learning and Interdisciplinary Learning. This book is visually stunning, I had chills reading it, it will take your breath away!!! "What... Read more →

We all want our children to be connected to nature but are we doing enough to make it happen? Only this year our family has started to enjoy pond dipping. Pond dipping is more than a fun family activity, it's an activity that allows children to experience first-hand their local ecosystems and gives them skills and knowledge that books and screens cannot. Pond dipping can be enjoyed by the whole family, toddlers to adults. For children who don't enjoy free play outside it can work well as it gives them a purpose, something to do. It's fun too as the... Read more →

My children's Forest School experiences have had a profound effect on me. It's difficult not to appreciate how the children thrive in such a minimal, natural environment. No shelves lined with materials, nature is the prepared environment. Learning with sticks, bugs, worms, rain and, mud! Wet and dirty. Windswept and sunkissed. While inside our home is Montessori outside it's starting to look a little different. We have found inspiration for our outdoor environment in Forest Schools. What Forest School ideas have we applied to our home environment? Art and Crafts. There are an endless amount of crafts we can do... Read more →

When we came to the UK over a year ago I had no idea how to dress my children warmly. Now with a little trial and error I can dress my toddler for hours of outdoor play in almost freezing conditions. Mixing in with other families I have found that most locals use a one piece padded snow suit and in warmer weather a one piece splash suit. We found the snow suits too restrictive and found the splash suits too sweaty. So this is what has worked well for us week after week. Wool hat. Otto will often remove... Read more →

When we talk about children playing outdoors we often refer to the use of gross motor skills. But there is no reason children can't use their fine motors skills outdoors too. I have found that some children can concentrate better outside, the fresh air and open space can be calming. Every week our Forest School toddler class has an open ended craft activity. They aren't the usual craft activities. They are always nature based and they always require the use of fine motor skills. Is there a better combination?? Often Otto will skip the craft activity preferring to play in... Read more →

This month Otto will be eighteen months old. At the same age, both Caspar and Otis started at the local Montessori School attending a Parent-Toddler Class. Our first Montessori Parent-Toddler Class was life-changing, for the first time I could see and connect with a genuine Montessori environment, Montessori teachers and parents. I feel disappointed that Otto will not have the same experience. So what can you do if you can't get to a Montessori Parent-Toddler Class? Here are a few things I'll be doing: Don't replicate a Montessori classroom at home. It would be easy to think if we can't... Read more →

Inspiring Forest School Ideas for Outdoor Play

It's clear that many children are not getting enough time outdoors. I've seen backyards full of expensive play equipment and toys that are rarely touched. I'm not sure that is what children really want. Give my children some sticks, rope and a pocket knife (even some walkie talkies) and they are set for hours of outdoor play. I've found lots of ideas from Forest Schools that are useful and relevant to home and outdoor school environments. Here are just a few ideas that I'm loving. Above - baking outside! A completely natural seesaw on a rainy day! Rope platforms for... Read more →