Now that we are in the woods on a daily the basis, the children are getting much more comfortable and familiar with our forest space.
As an Educator, I love witnessing this relationship blossom. When we first got out into the woods, the children sort of flocked around myself and the other Educators, unsure of what to do and why we were even in the woods. They were scared, confused, and excited. We'd walk through the woods and they would pull us all around, until one day I just stopped and stood still. "Come Mrs. Sweezey, let's go back there," they would say, until finally I told them, "No, you can go on your own, I'm going to stay here."
The look on their little faces, haha. Complete shock. A major piece of the Forest and Nature School philosophy is to offer regular and repeated visits to an outdoor space, as well as, time and space to play freely and uninterrupted. The children couldn't believe that they were a loud to go off into the woods on their own and with each passing day, they grew confident and more sure of themselves - and we trust them. The children know the boundaries of our forest space and we take every precaution we can to keep everyone safe, such as daily site checks, the Educators roam the woods as the children play, we wear our bright yellow safety vests, and we practice our rules (promise) every day before going outside the gate.
As the week went on, the children have slowed down and have really started to explore the forest and get comfortable, whereas in the beginning, all they did was run full tilt the entire time, haha. In the last two days, I've notice the children have started to go "off trail." Still within our boundaries, but no longer do they want to walk the same trails - they want to make their own.
What a busy and fun filled week :)