The Forest School square rules are very important and we only use the Kelly Kettle once the children are able to keep to these rules. The children collect palm-sized sticks for the kettle – checking that the stick can fit across their palm, between the thumb and middle finger. The kettle is lit in the middle of the square; a small fire is lit in the base and the flames appear at the top of the chimney. The water quickly heats up in the ‘tank’ around the chimney. The children are fascinated by the kettle - the crackle, the smell, the smoke and flames and will often talk about campfires, barbecues and bonfires. Once a group is familiar with the kelly kettle and the rules, then children can take turns to add sticks to the kettle but they are only allowed to do this if invited into the square by an adult.
An important part of Forest School is learning about boundaries and how to use the Forest School square safely. At the start of the session, we sit on the log seating that forms the square and talk about keeping safe. One or two children show us where they are allowed to play by running to the furthest boundary (they all want a turn to do this!). The children quickly pick up the rules:
Stay under the trees;
Step backwards when leaving the Forest School square;
Only adults are allowed in the Forest School square.
We have lots of excellent resources at our forest school too including a rope swing, mud kitchen area, buckets and pullys and a slack line. This creates areas of interest that the children can use independently. The swing and slack line help children to develop their core strength and balance and give the children a great sense of achievement.