At Sheffield Woodland Kindergarten we follow a range of theory's and ethos' that influence our approach with the children. Our team are highly trained, together we run workshops for each other to share our learning and interests and increase our knowledge and ability. Below are details of some of the key things we follow.
"Forest School is all about breathing life into education and allowing children to be creative and imaginative! Allowing them to grow in confidence, becoming positive about, themselves, and growing to love and respect their environment.
An aim of Forest School for children to explore and encourages them to be curious about the world around them, learning within this environment, taking risks and making choices. It’s about the importance of children being able to play within a woodland context. It is about them investigating the bright reality of the natural world, and developing emotions as a response to it. Forest schools are set up so children are encouraged to make and develop relationships with peers and adults learning through playing. Rather than structured planned activities children are encouraged to take the lead, with careful facilitation from skilled adults. Knowing when to intervene, and how to do so relies on a sound knowledge and understanding of each individual child within the group. This is certainly what each of our teachers at Sheffield Woodland Kindergarten seeks to promote and do.
Working and being outside in the fresh air, and within the woods means that children are very much in touch with nature. They learn to experience different types of weather and the opportunities that each one brings. As the seasons change children experience firsthand how nature changes. For example new shoots growing, flowers blooming, plants dying and decaying. They are able to go foraging and cook with found leaves and berries. (With adult supervision so they learn what is poisonous and unsafe and what is tasty!) They use all their senses to explore their environment, learning about size, shape, distance, capacity, and measures. It happens naturally and the children are constantly making their own choices and leading the way at the Kindergarten."
Forest School Practitioner and Early Years Educator at Sheffield Woodland Kindergarten
"Skogsmulle originates from Sweden. A theory developed by Gustav Frohm, where the term 'I ur och skur' meaning 'come rain or shine' originates from. Gustav developed a program for mothers to train and set up local playgroups in forests - it was a hugely successful volunteer project which developed into kindergartens and spread across the globe. Becoming a staple in many children's education.
In the summer of 2015 I was lucky enough to be one of the first to train in the UK! Skogsmulle and his friends are fictional characters that are used to support children to learn about and care for nature, the world and recycling. They are used to ignite imaginations, tell stories, sing songs and facilitate play opportunities with children under 7. We use games, puppets, story telling and songs to introduce Skogsmulle to the children. We've even been lucky enough to have Skogsmulle visit us a few times too!"
Skogsmulle Leader at Sheffield Woodland Kindergarten
We regularly practice yoga with the children. We use it to support role play, warm us up, cool us down, help manage our feelings and emotions, ability to follow instructions, develop our muscles, coordination and balance - the benefits and learning opportunities are endless! Sessions can last as little as a few minutes but sometimes last up to an hour as the children's ideas develop, they just love it! Often we tell yoga stories involving animals, countries and journeys weaving in poses, breathing, sounds and actions.
Sometimes we use our yoga techniques to help us deal with anger, frustration or other negative feelings blowing out our bad energy like dragons, trying to move the clouds or make the tree tops sway.
Philosophy for children (P4C)
"Philosophy for children is an approach we have (recently) embedded into our practice at Sheffield Woodland Kindergarten, P4C is an enquiry based pedagogy, where students take the lead and the teaching style is facilitative. Through physical stimulus and stories, we explore ‘big questions’ such as why do we need to be safe? And how do we look after our world? Without coming to a specific answer, we support children through open ended questioning and wondering to explore these concepts. Our sessions run through a process of;
- gathering in our circle of thought,
- experiencing a stimulus,
- giving first thoughts,
- discussing our ideas,
- summarising what things have been discussed.
The foundations of P4C are creative, critical, caring, and collaborative thinking. In addition to this we foster turn taking, social communication and team working skills with the children through these group sessions.
Our established ground rules are
• Listen to each other (owl eyes and bat ears)
• Take turns (show me a wiggly worm finger if you would like to speak)
• respect each other (listening and not talking over each other)
• question the point rather than the person.
This allows them to practice prime areas of learning and development such as communication and listening, personal, social and emotional development and building reciprocal relationships within the EYFS.
A team member will run a Philsophy for Children session with a small group of children aged 3 plus for approximately 15 minute or until the children have finished discussing their ideas."
Sarah Rowland, Deputy Manager and trained Philsophy for Children practitioner.
Every week we visit Sunny Bank Sheltered Housing retirement home. We have made brilliant inter-generation relationships supporting the children to have care, respect and value for all ages. We enjoy sharing stories and memories together of holidays, families, jobs, celebrations and festivals. Every week we visit we do different activities thing s we have done in the past include carol singing, yoga, dancing to old music, parachute games, card games, friendship bracelets and crafts. The residents have recently had improvements made in the garden so the children have helped to plant seeds, water the crops and harvest the food sharing tomatoes they grew together for snack.