As our steep, grassy hillock was reduced to more of a suggestion of a hill and covered in artificial grass to ensure all year round access, we have noticed many more children using the area. It has become part of the learning environment, where children are stopping and using it, rather passing over it onto somewhere else. Yoga, gymnastics, lying down and relaxing with a book and friends has also moved onto some learning that Robert Baden-Powell would have been proud of. In true Scouting style we have been looking at tying knots: as part of developing children's concentration and fine motor skills, as well as problem solving, communication and collaboration.
Children and staff began by organising themselves a den building trolley, sorting and labelling the resources. Next they explored the different ropes and fastenings we had. Children and adults learned together how to master a simple knot (an overhand knot) and a half hitch: learning terms such as 'the working end' and 'standing end' of a rope, 'loops', 'bights'. Also working together to choose the right knot for the purpose - discussing whether it is to tie a rope to an object or to another rope!
Children then used their new found skills to create a pulley system to transport resources between the trees. Children have begun to use the area with increased independence, supporting each other, negotiating and communicating.
Young children are capable of great things!