Thursday, 31 October 2013

Face to face with FIRE

During our philosophy dialogues we have candles floating in water in the middle - and we as teachers felt that the children did not fully understand the respect you need to have with any flame... so we thought that having an excursion and grilling sausages on an open fire might be a great way to discuss this... the children thought this was a great idea too!

old newspapers to make lighting the fire easier - at this stage the children could come VERY close.
once the fire got going and we had all felt how hot it was - and how uncomfortable it was to get smoke in your eyes - we went looking for sticks so that we could cook our suasages...

there were big discussions about what kind of stick we would need - too short and your hand would get burnt, to thin and the stick would burn and your sausage would fall off, to fat and you would not be able to get your sausage on it... we did not need a too long discussion...

once the sticks were ready it was a matter of waiting for the flames to die down so that we could grill on the embers...

the joy of being able to start cooking. Chicken hotdogs so that we can be inclusive (no veggies in this group - and the packages were all checked to make sure there were no ingredients that would trigger an allergic reaction)

now this bit was MUCH trickier than what the children originally thought - sausages did end up in the fire - or so high up that it would have taken forever to get even slightly warm. And once they all had a sausage in their tummy there was no more interest in grilling the sausages even though there was still some interest in eating more - so next time we will be taking a rack with us to line the sausages on - this would allow us to focus on other areas of the fire - as for this trip ALL energy and time was consumed by the cooking of sausages. Yes, the trip was a success, but we did not achieve all out aims about fire and fire exploration so that the children could develop their own risk-assessment ability when it comes to fire - a true understanding of the power of fire.... but as with all things with children - repeat repeat repeat - to allow the children to experience the same thing on many different levels...

Once we were finished it was time to extinguish the fire - so that we could leave the forest safely. There were 2 bottles of water and ALL the children wanted to extinguish the flames - so I asked the children "How are we going to solve this?" The suggestion that they all help with their own water bottles was made and agreed upon by everyone as a good idea...

Afterwards there was a chance to feel the warmth of the stones heated by the fire (a lovely feeling as most children were complaining about the cold - as sadly many did not have either gloves or hats with them). After checking on the sly to see if it was cool enough, the children also had the opportunity to draw with bits of charcoal left by the fire.
 We all returned to the preschool tired and smelling like smoked kippers - but all satisfied with their first excursion with a picnic lunch! A BIG day for the children in "The Wind" group.

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