“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of children.” – Fred Rogers
When you arrive you will be welcomed with a hot drink. The designated area will be set up with an optional seasonal craft or cooking activity we have prepared for you. You are invited to play with your child, have a chat with other parents or join in with the craft or domestic activity.
Please do not feel you need to make your child join in with the craft or feel obligated to remain in the area of the activity. If they are happy playing or sitting quietly with you that is fine. This is also a time to be led by your child’s impulses to explore the natural environment around them. Because there are no set boundaries you may explore the open space of the public woodland. This also provides a lovely opportunity to closely observe your child, whilst making friends with other parents. Please feel free to explore with your child!
After about an hour of the activity and child-led free play time, we tidy up the area with a special song. This is part of our routine and we take our time, encouraging the children to join in. This activity is of equal value to the others, and children benefit from domestic duties such as tidying. Children are not verbally directed, but rather shown by the adult by example. Children are then enabled to participate if they choose.
We then wash our hands using a bowl of prepared lavender water. Then it is time for snack. We sit down on the ground around a tablecloth. We light a lantern, sing a song and a blessing. A simple nourishing snack is provided of homemade bread, fruit and warmed apple juice/water. We finish the snack with a thank you. After everyone has finished eating, we join hands in a circle for a ring-time. We greet each other with a verse and continue with traditional nursery rhymes, finger games and seasonal songs. This is followed by a story which is told in the form of a simple puppet play, making it possible for every child to follow and enjoy some aspect whether visual or oral.