The One Where We Cooked Seaweed
Holdfast Beach and Forest School Blog
by Rachel Stevens
4M ago
Have you ever cooked seaweed? Not the kind you get from many takeaways (which is usually cabbage) but actual seaweed? Well you are in luck, the British and Irish coasts are abundant with edible seaweeds (just check the sea water quality!) so it’s all a matter of taste. In fact, until very recently, cooking and eating seaweed was an important part of our coastal diets. For the beach schoolers, we harvested and cleaned some Ulva, known as sea lettuce, fried it in olive oil and served with a sprinkle of sea salt. A few beach schoolers thought it was delicious. Some thought it was absolutely disg ..read more
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Wild Paper Making
Holdfast Beach and Forest School Blog
by Rachel Stevens
4M ago
The Beach Schoolers latest adventure in to sustainable crafts has been making their own paper. We have been taking advantage of the dry and sunny weather here in East Kent and making recycled paper. I prepared some pulp, made from used brown packing paper (soaked for several hours and then blended using a hand blender!) Then together we cut scraps of used tissue paper and added them to the pulp – tissue paper softens and starts to break down in the watery mix quite quickly. We spooned the pulp on to our moulds and used our hands and flannels to squeeze out the excess water and bind the paper ..read more
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Clay Work
Holdfast Beach and Forest School Blog
by Rachel Stevens
4M ago
The Beach Schoolers and Kirsty @throughthehedge spent some time this week exploring natural clay. Clay is often overlooked in early years and schools for being a bit messy and unpredictable but it actually has the most incredible soft responsive sensory qualities. Clay lends itself to open ended creativity because children often need lots of time working with clay, but it is incredible for motor skills development: Pounding, pushing, rolling, squeezing, poking, pinching and twisting. Because of its responsive qualities, we observed that small children are naturally fascinated by cl ..read more
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I’m a Forest School Leader, but I am not an Outdoorsy person…
Holdfast Beach and Forest School Blog
by Rachel Stevens
1y ago
Rachel and Rose in the Locavore Garden at Martello Primary. They are looking at a freshly picked radish. There are spinach leaves growing in the foreground. I am a Forest School Leader, but I am not an outdoorsy person. At least I used to think that was the case… I have dyspraxia, which means things like tree climbing, tool use and even moving around uneven spaces do not come very naturally to me. I don’t learn very well from visual instructions. You will rarely find me whittling, not unless I have a big box of plasters to hand… But I love being outdoors. Being outdoors lights me up and restor ..read more
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Outdoor Learning at Home: Week Two
Holdfast Beach and Forest School Blog
by Rachel Stevens
1y ago
Hello friends, I hope you are safe and well? Thank you for getting in touch about last week’s newsletter. I really love seeing what you have been getting up to and connecting with you. Except if you have had lots of snow, in which case, I am just extremely jealous… I don’t know about you, but as we are entering this second week of lockdown, there have been some big emotions around here (mainly from me). There has also been a lot of overwhelm (also, mainly me!)  However, in our house, getting outdoors always makes us feel better – it is guaranteed. The combination of movement and fresh air ..read more
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Outdoor Learning at Home: Week One
Holdfast Beach and Forest School Blog
by Rachel Stevens
1y ago
Getting outdoors in Winter can feel tricky. It’s not easy to motivate yourself when it is warmer and drier at home. But spending time outdoors has proven benefits to both physical and mental health, it can boost your mood and boost your immune system. Both essential in this period of Lockdown. Even though I have been working outdoors, throughout the seasons, for nearly a decade, I still feel it is much easier to get outdoors when I have something to do. I like a task and so do the children that I work with. So I am creating this weekly newsletter for you which will contain ideas for outdoor ac ..read more
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Tips for Adults in a Child-Supporting Role at Beach and Forest School
Holdfast Beach and Forest School Blog
by Rachel Stevens
1y ago
The Forest School philosophy is about connecting children (and adults) to their natural environment, creating opportunities to develop creativity, confidence, resilience and learning, as well as promoting ways in which children can experience risk. Forest School is often described as a child-led process, but I think it is much more helpful to think of it as being learner-centred. We want to give opportunities for creativity and confidence building and it is shown that the optimal place for this is in child-led play. But that is not going to happen with learners that are unable to participate ..read more
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The Certificate in Therapeutic Skills for Outdoor Leaders
Holdfast Beach and Forest School Blog
by Rachel Stevens
1y ago
Throughout July, August and September, I have been working on gaining the Certificate in Therapeutic Skill for Outdoor Leaders from The Therapeutic Forest CIC, who run inspiring inclusive Forest School groups for children with SEN in Manchester. This course is normally run at Manchester Metropolitan University. But due to the current pandemic, it has been moved online so I jumped at the chance at being able to gain the qualification remotely. The four module of the course comprised of: The Therapeutic Toolkit: Learning how to support the emotional wellbeing of children in Forest setting throu ..read more
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Nature and Mental Health
Holdfast Beach and Forest School Blog
by Rachel Stevens
1y ago
Looking back, it often feels strange that something I love so much came in to my life at a time that was so dark and lonely, but I discovered Forest School when my son was a baby, when I was recovering from post-natal depression and anxiety. I quickly realised that it not only provided a place for both us to learn about the natural world. But it also provided much more, this time in nature was hugely restorative for my mental health when more conventional therapies hadn’t helped me. Forest School gave us a regular reason to spend whole mornings in nature, away from our suburban lives. When we ..read more
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The Cloudspotter’s Guide
Holdfast Beach and Forest School Blog
by Rachel Stevens
1y ago
We see clouds nearly everyday, especially here in Britain. They float in the sky above us and sometimes block out the Sun. Sometimes clouds are white and puffy. Sometimes they are dark and cover the entire sky. Different kinds of clouds can mean different kinds of weather. Meteorologists study the formation and make up of clouds to understand the weather better and if we want to better understand our amazing planet, clouds are a great place to start. I created this cloud resource for the Beach School, however, I thought it would be perfect for us all during these ‘stay at home’ times because ..read more
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