The Guardian – April 4th – ‘What I got wrong was trying to be a teacher’: how to last the distance at home schooling

For those lucky enough to have a garden, or a nearby park, the outside world is a rich resource and a contrast to the digital classroom. Rachel Manley is a Forest School teacher based in north Somerset. “You don’t need to buy a mud kitchen on Amazon,” she says. “If you’ve nothing at home you can collect things on walks and before you know it you have a nature table.” Manley also sees nature as an opportunity for parents to resist micromanaging their children’s learning. “If they’re in the flow, leave them and have lunch a bit later,” she says. “So often we ask children what they’re writing, drawing or doing, and they might not want or be able to explain. For children to get to that point where they are just being creative does take a while, but it doesn’t need our input.”

The other benefit of an outside space is that it can entertain children of all ages – and for parents of preschool children this will be a particularly difficult time. “A three-year-old can use sticks to make a little race course for a toy car; an eight-year-old can make a den,” says Manley. “Older children are generally more engaged with tools and fires and generally enjoy a level of risk. They like useful tasks.’

Rachel Manley – Founder, Wildwood Adventure.

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