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What do we teach at forest school?

At Emerging Sprouts Forest School, we follow the Reggio Emilia philosophy and our activities are based in what is called emergent curriculum, our activities with students are and have to do with things that we know they are already interested about. We track their learning and interests through our daily documentation. Sometimes that looks like pointed pictures that captures their development in a specific developmental domain, other times it is ongoing videos or voice recordings, that capture the authentic inter-student conversations which reach wide topics of interest. As Early Childhood Educators, our role is to learn about each child through our interactions with the documentation we capture of daily teaching. This helps us as teachers to curate learning experiences using topics that we notice students are gravitating towards. Every group of students is different and each group will have their own interests which will shift and change throughout the school year.

In these photos, students dig in the sand, building sand castles, and play with friends. As they play students role play from a book in our class brought from the library. In the story children work together to build sand castles, they resolve conflict and work as a team. These roles and characters are brought to life on the beach.

Recently a few students in our class have asked about letters, and began to show a deep interest in learning more about letters and numbers, in some conversations students point out shapes in nature that remind them of letters, they ask what letters are on signs in the park, they ask adults to read the signs we pass in the park. Here students practice using Handwriting without Tears materials to practice forming letters and numbers. below students used crayons to write and practice letters in their name, and numbers. With increasing enthusiasm about letters, we decided to provide more opportunities and options for drawing and practicing pre-literacy skills.

Forest School is full of bugs, little creatures, alive, and dead. Many of these small wonders are nicknamed critters this year in our class. Excitement ripples through the class when critters are found, (any kind of critter)! To help make plans to keep critters safe at Forest School, discussions during circle time take place where students decide and make up the rules of how to keep critters safe when we play with them at forest school.

Throughout the school year, we see a range of interests that students bring with them to Forest School, some are new and some are reoccurring. We call these ideas threads. Many threads weave in and out of our class depending on interest and location, often threads come back after a few weeks, with a new spin or inquiry to be discovered by our class. Each week our school rotates parks, we have noticed that this is helps to maintain a rich experience and curriculum for our students. While at Blake Garden in Kensington we see a lot of critters, other parks offer small critters as well as climbing and water activities, we notice that the interest of the group changes from park to park as well!

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