Snow, snow and more snow this week.
It is a weather that divides people: those who love it and those who hate it. It always amazes me the way the country shuts down when we get snow. It is not surprising as generally we are not equipped for it and there is a growing culture where people get consumed by health and safety risks, rather than focussing on risk management and the benefits that come from experiencing this amazing weather.
At Forest School we embrace it as a great opportunity for children to truly play and explore. So this week, we wrapped up: a base layer of thermal leggings and top, under warm trousers and two long sleeved tops, waterproof trousers and thick waterproof coat on top of that. The addition of warm, waterproof gloves, a hat, a scarf and warm boots and we were set for some fun with our groups.
They were so excited to get out in the snow. Unfortunately, many schools are forced to keep children inside during this weather at the risk of a child getting a snowball in the eye or a complaint from a parent that their child may catch a cold. In Scandinavia and Denmark, where Forest School originated, there is 'no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes'. Children and adults are always found outdoors and feel emotionally attached to the environment, in a way that being inside for a whole day would be viewed as unnatural.
Armed with our bag of extra hats, scarves and gloves for those children who were not as prepared as we had hoped, we made our way to the base camp, following each other in a single snake-like line so as not to spoil the freshly fallen snow. We were so excited to see how many animals visited our woods, following and discussing their tracks with interest through the snow. It wasn't long before the children had secretly, and quite spontaneously, created their own tracks in different imaginative ways. Shouts of, "I've found an ogre's tracks!" and "Look a dragon's been here!" filled the air.
Our normal routine of creating bubbles using wands made out of willow also took on a whole new level of excitement in this weather. Lying on the ground in our waterproofs and thermals, we blew bubbles and watched in fascination as they settled, without popping, on the ground and preceded to develop crystals and turn solid. I must admit that I found this as exciting as the children, demonstrating that there is always new experiences to be had in this weather.
In England, snow does not visit us that often, so it is really important to get out and enjoy it while you can! Although at the moment it feels like Spring is several months away, it will be on us before we know it, with a whole other range of adventures to be had!