The Greatest Outdoors

Author: ElementsFGS Page 2 of 9

Why we do what we do

I found this picture on social media and it inspired me to write this…

As a teacher I see the importance of play. Children are not mini adults. Their brains are different, their hands and bone structure is different, they learn differently. And they long to learn. They are enthusiastic about life. And it is universal. A child in Asia is exactly like a child in Europe. It is astonishing how they have the exact same characteristics and go through the same developmental stages.

When a child plays they engage every fibre of their being. Their bodies, their imagination, their thought and their will. They enter into a world which they utterly believe and they are creating the future. We do them a greatest service in being able to keep those boundaries of childhood as free and as joyful for as long as possible. It is in their sense that the world is GOOD and BEAUTIFUL that they will seek its TRUTH with a hopeful, beatific will.

At elements we do this. Nature, the greatest teacher, is given the space and we enter a partnership with her to create moments of magic and lasting memories. The child develops a confidence and a trust in the world, while also encountering the very limits of their experience.

Water, water everywhere

We were enjoying the amazing spring weather. It has been a wonderful start to it! Frog spawn, pond dipping and finding out the many uses of the world plants around us.

Making tinder from cattails. They are also beloved of goldfinch!

Pond dipping away!!!!

If you’d like to attend the sessions are the Quarries which are very Tuesday, fill in this form!

The skewers and the skewered

It was a perfect day to do a BBQ – it always is in Monday Forest School. But today we harvested invasive bamboo and made skewers from them by whittling. Then we roasted our own sausages and marshmallows. That was followed by 3 games of Hunt. And everyone had an awesome time!

Least you wonder, there were quiet times as well! 🙂

Coppersmithing weekend!

Here is what one person made over the weekend. Total beginner, no experience… ok, yes that person was me. It is amazing what you can do with this incredibly versatile metal! What about that amazing cast iron anvil? How gorgeous is it?

Leaves and a bangle – working with copper is magical and rewarding! It was quite astonishing the different effects you could get from tiny changes in simple processes. Alchemy!

What it starts off with – annealing, working with custom made chisels and releasing your inner jeweler.

All the copper used was reclaimed and recycled – and some of these tools were several decades old. The anvil was reused railway tracks. So much learnt over a single workshop.

Easter Scheme

We were given the go ahead by Glencraig to hold it again in their beautiful forest. So we are! Book here by filling in this form.

Places are filling up fast!!! 🙂

Elementary! Newsletter Relaunched

Our newsletter is now ready. Finally got round to updating it and now you can check it out.

It has what we are getting up to and what we have done. It also has three things you can do at home. For March we focus on dandelions.

Click on this to see what it looks like!

The Greatest Outdoors: March 2020

You can also subscribe to it. Go here for the form.

A busy half-term

We had a busy half term… so busy that I didn’t get to take photos of all our activities. We had a great session at the Quarries where there were 16 children. A walk through the native forest, some tree ID, a game of camouflage, making fires and bows and arrows.

Killinchy After School Club

We did a really fun exciting time with the Killinchy After School club with 24 children! We had fire and cooking, bows and arrows and shelter making. We hope to be back.

Memories to be remembered forever!

Knife Work!

One of the delights of working the way we do is that we allow the children to determine the activity. Of course we make suggestions, some quite strongly, but mostly we are able to draw them in. So this week, quite a few wanted to work with knives. The children here are 7 and 8 years old. Children are able to work with knives from this age onwards.

The weather in Ireland isn’t as bad as people make it out to be! Here we are enjoying the early February sunshine! It was cold but so beautiful!

Many of our students are able to relax into the gorgeous surroundings and eventually become children of the forest. After a few months students are able to become so at home with their surroundings that it is like second nature to them.

Here we are at the Quarries… it was a cooler day but no less lovely. Again, knife work!

A lovelier location does not exist really.

The importance of Deep Play

Deep play is a state which all children and adults who are working at their best are able to achieve. This happens when you are so engrossed in an activity that time suddenly stands still.

You can see this with very young children when they play and older children when they are using their imagination to world build. We see this in Elements Forest School.

Being managed from pillar to post is something which our children are now very used to. They arrive at an activity and they are now used to being told what to do. This is fine… up to a point. But they must also be given space to breathe. Space to dream. Space to get bored. Space to be themselves. To have down time, as it were.

In Elements we blend the two based on the what the children tell us. Well, not tell TELL us, but we ‘read the room’ – or in this case, the Forest.

The Forest really is the star of the show. After that it is children. Then it is us. As a Steiner educator, and as a team that comes from that background or works intuitively with these principles, seeing where the children are is more important than trying to cram them with activities. The children will learn eventually – but most often the first step is just watching you and being at home in nature.

This is where Deep Play comes in. Deep Play is relaxing, it is freedom, it is delight, it is engaging with the best parts of yourself. It lowers the stress levels, it boosts immune levels, it allays anxiety, it helps ANYONE the opportunity to reconnect with meaning.

At Elements Forest and Garden School this is our top priority. And we believe it can be best – if not only – done in nature. Touching, feeling and discovering the natural environment is healing. Trees give off chemicals which are literally relaxing. Soil is full of bacteria which makes you happy. The air is cleaner in the forest which helps boost your oxygen levels. It is literally ALL GOOD.

Add to that the magic of the elements and you have some very happy children.

If you are interested in signing your child up or having elements are your school or working with your after school, let us know by contacting us on 07540075991 or emailing hello@elementsschool.net

We greet the spring!

I know that spring does not begin until March apparently, but as far as I’m concerned it starts on 1 Feb – the quarter day marked in Ireland by Brigid’s.

There was a real sense that the children who came back just wanted to be with the forest and the forest wanted to be with them, so we decided to keep the sessions loose.

Here are some pictures from the two session this week – which is not to say they did not have a ball!

There are no more spaces in the Steiner School but there are spaces in the Quarries which is a magical place! Especially in that sunset. Call/WhatsApp/Text 07540075991 OR email hello@elementsschool.net OR fill in this form to register.

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