Freedom Farm School has begun! The boys and I are running a series of workshops for the homeschooling community right here at the farm. Our theme is 'The Four Elements' and on Monday we launched with 'Fire'! It was a perfect winter day, sun full bright, wattle in bloom and the valley welcomed all our new visitors with open arms. The day started with a presentation on fire safety and the science of fire by our awesome neighbour and local firey Mike. He showed off his cool fire fighting equipment...
even letting the kids try on the heavy duty uniform. They learned all about which materials are highly flammable (most synthetics) and which are less likely to burn (natural fibres). Mike went through all the things not to have around when you are lighting a fire and what considerations make it is safe to do so...he was such a great bank of knowledge and we were lucky to have him involved.
Then it was time to get down to business...all the kids had gathered tinder and wood so we carefully put our newfound knowledge to the test and built a great big communal bonfire!
The children worked so well together! They were helpful and good listeners and really supportive of one another.
As the fire released its smoke we acknowledged the traditional people of this land, the Darkinjung Aboriginals and we all 'bathed' in the smoke to cleanse our spirits. We recognised that we were a community making fire and learning around it...just as communities had done on this land for many thousands of years.
We brainstormed some words which described the fire using our senses. Fabulous words emerged such as 'crackle', 'glowing', 'bubble' and 'sizzle' and from these words the children crafted some beautiful fire poems. It was just fabulous to see them sitting on logs, fire dancing merrily, writing away...mum nearby to help if needed, free and creative.
Then it was time for cooking...Flex had designed and constructed wire 'cooking hooks' for everyone, and as soon as the coals were ready the smell of roasting sausages and damper filled the air...
Finally it was time to hand the power over to the children themselves. Each was given a box of matches and allowed to build their very own fires. Each little fire was different in shape and personality (we had discussed the personification of fire in our poetry), some were tall and thin, others big and fat and hungry! When each fire had a proper flame some household chemicals were sprinkled over to create cool results...we played with fire and loved it!
And what fire day would be complete without a marshmallow or three...;)
In between all the activities the children basked in the fun of the farm. Jumping, running, swinging and exploring, in groups and alone, with curiosity and joy.
Learning through skills and action, thought and practice....