Saturday, 25 August 2012

The Scottish Skogsmulle Sessions

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Kierna C said...

What a lovely experience for all concerned. I think it's nice ot keep the original Swedish terms. as the idea came from there & who knows someday in the futrure these childrne may meet a Swede & be able ot use a few words of Swedish with them. I am curious to know, how different these sessions felt/were from an ordinary forest session you would normally engage in? Kierna

Juliet Robertson said...

Compared to working with nursery aged children, the sessions were more formal. The first few were about establishing boundaries and in the available time lacked the child-initiated, child led approach that I would be ideally seeking. This is why I think there is a need for classes to do this on a weekly or fortnightly basis because the children tune in better to the approach and the class can move beyond settling in. I felt the class & I needed more time than 75mins.

Also we were in school grounds which lacked the wildness of a forest. I think this makes a significant difference.

Where this approach does work is as a way of integrating curriculum work as needed with a nice mix of structured and free play that a Primary 1 teacher could quickly pick up and run with. And it can be done in a less than pristine natural space or a public park. The characters used are lovely and very much aimed developmentally at 5-6yr olds. This is where Sweden's approach is very clever in that the pedagogical progression is clear and appropriate activities developed in tune with this. Not everyone will agree with some of the decisions or points, I'm sure. For example, knife use tends not to be introduced til 6yrs or thereabouts. The reason for this is that they want children to look forward to the responsibility as a milestone as they grow up. (Correct me if I am wrong, please, any Swedish Skogsmulle leaders reading this)

Also I had 22 children which is much bigger than a standard Forest School session. Skogmulle is flexible in its approach but generally 40 hours over a year is what is offered in 20 x 2h sessions with more happening in the spring and autumn than other times of the year cos of holidays, weather, etc.

Hope this helps :)