Today was our final session for this year. The fourth class invited their parents to work with them.
Pine Grove Meeting.
On arrival the children with their parents went to their mats. There were boxes with a variety of natural materials – stones, drift wood, pine cones, berries, burdock seeds, sticks, ivy, conkers, moss etc. and some man made materials, cardboard cones and sponge. Another box had materials for connecting the objects – string, elastic, pipe cleaners.
There were 6 cards for each group.Each card had a word. Each pair chose one card and the word on the card inspired them to make something from the contents of the box.
The words were house, bicycle, squirrel, fish, bird and tree.
Our focus plant today was the Oak. On our way up to our camp we stopped under some oaks.
The children shared their finds with their parents.They found an oak tree with very large leaves and some oak apples and they explained what they were. Elliot found a jay feather.The jay is a shy bird found in broadleaf woodlands throughout Ireland.
At our camp we gathered in a circle to welcome parents and explain looking after yourself, others and nature.
Texture treasure hunt in pairs.
The children played their favourite game Eagle Eye with their parents.
Group project.Celtic society.
The smallest group in Celtic society was the Fine. A fine is an extended family group that included grandparents and parents and their kids, and could include aunts, uncles, cousins and their kids. The individual was not important. The fine was a unit, and was treated like one person. Everything belonged to the fine. A person could not break the law. If a member of a fine broke the law, the fine was responsible. By the same token, there was no such thing as individual glory. The fine was victorious.
The next step up was the clan. Each clan was made up of several fines. In some cases, a fine would be so large that it was a clan in itself. You were part of a clan for life and beyond. Clans went back many generations.
Each clan had a leader. You did not inherit leadership from your father. Any male could be chosen as long as he had a blood relationship to the clan. Each clan expected certain things of their leaders. Leaders had to be strong warriors. They had to be able to work out disagreements with other clans and conduct trade and raids on neighbouring clans. Most importantly, they had to be rich enough to throw really good festivals.
Clans stuck together. Members of a clan supported each other. That is one of the major reasons the Celts never developed an empire. To have an empire, you need a central government, with one leader who ruled all the people. The ancient Celts would never had allowed this. Their loyalty was to their fine and to their clan.
Inside each clan, there were three major groups of people.
· At the top were the nobles, which included warrior leaders and landowners.
· In the middle were the artisans, druids (priests and teachers), and the bards.
· At the bottom were the common people, the peasants.
Everyone in Celtic society belonged to a clan. Everyone belonged to a fine. And everyone had a job to do.
Each fine had several buildings that they shared. One building called a roundhouse was a big home made of straw and mud. This is where the members of a fine slept and sheltered from the elements.
The Celts did not have chairs or furniture other than a scattering of low tables. They slept on furs or mats. They sat on the floor. The biggest piece of furniture in each home would be the large looms where fabrics were woven all winter long.
They also built outbuildings that they used to cook food, tan leather, store food, and shelter their animals. Again, these outbuildings were shared by everyone in the fine. Sometimes, these buildings were shared by several fines. These were farming communities. But that’s about as big as a single “village” grew. The ancient Celts did not build cities. It was not their way.
Each homestead (group of buildings) was surrounded by the fields in which they grew crops. Beyond that, at the edge of their boundary, the fine built a short wall made of rocks. This wall was used to define the fields that belonged to the fine, and also acted as some protection from attack.
In times of attack from another Celtic tribe, or from the ancient Romans, the fine retreated to a hill fort, which was built on top of a hill. It was surrounded by enclosure of stakes.
Hill forts were huge things that could hold everyone in the village in times of attack. There were huts and cattle enclosures standing ready at all times. But unless the fine was under attack, they stood empty, waiting until they were needed. The Celts did not like to live closely together. The hill fort was considered a temporary retreat.
The Celts built large earthen banks or stone walls around their farms to protect themselves and their animals. These walls were called raths or duns. The more important families had several circular banks protecting their homes and sometimes they built their homes on high ground, which were called hillforts. Some families built forts surrounded by stone walls or banks of earth on headlands looking out to sea.
They were both farmers and hunters of food.
Each pair in the group choose a part of the village to work together on. Everyone got going with problem solving using natural materials from our camp.
Finally each pair had to find a space to sit within the boundary and spend a quiet 10 minutes listening and watching the forest.We gathered together to reflect & integrate.
Ms. Dungan’s Fourth Class
We started off with playing a few games to get us moving on a beautiful, cold morning.
On our way up to base camp, we learned some fox walking skills that the Fianna would have been expert at. When we arrived at camp we explored textures within the boundaries and then had some free play with our parents.
There was a bird of prey hovering over the rocks as we sat eating lunch.
Then we got stuck into the focussed part of the session where we made villages from the time of the Fianna. Though everyone was given the same design brief and had the same raw materials at their disposal, imagination and the flow of collaboration and problem solving created such diverse and inventive villages.
There are furrowed fields to feed the village, sacred sites to honour the ancestors with the first yew tree in Ireland, interwoven fences, water slides (which as the village didn’t have any cows of their own, they decided to use the water slide to barter for milk!), trees planted outside, vegetable patches, watchmen to guard the gates, food stores built up off the ground, carrot rows, fire places, a bicycle and mountain bike track and many more details that were discussed and created.
Creativity is characterised by the ability to perceive the world in new ways, to find hidden patterns, to make connections between seemingly unrelated things, and to produce solutions. It was a real pleasure to observe the children and adults figuring things out together, interacting with the natural world in new ways, making connections with the past, problem solving with each other and producing their imaginative interpretation of a Celtic village with natural found objects.
We noticed how many curriculum subjects we had covered in the session:
– Gaeilge neamhfhoirmiuil through our fox walking game and instructions
– English with all the oral language and problem solving tasks and the texture treasure hunt
– Maths through the robot game and problem solving
– SPHE with looking after ourselves, each other and the world
– Art inherent in nearly every aspect but in particular with the construction task
– Geography in the local natural environment and looking after the environment
– History through story and the Fianna / Celtic culture
– Science in Living things and in particular with learning about the trees and noticing the changes in the season and observing what’s around us
– PE in the outdoor adventure and games.
– Ethical Education in the sit spot and in Ethics and the environment
We are so grateful for our parents to be able to join us and for having lots of fun together.
Our focus plants today were holly and ivy. On the way up to the camp we found holly and ivy growing together. The children tasted the sweetness of the pollen on the flowers of the ivy. Saul found two branches and made a deers head using his hand and branches as the antlers.
Photographs for a band promotion and album cover.
This was the challenge for sixth class. ‘Your band has a forest theme. You are going to work on your costume. Each member of the band will wear a headdress and will camouflage parts of the body.Work in pairs to create your costume. You will choose a setting for the band and a point of view that a photograph will be taken. These photographs will be used to promote the band and for the album cover.’
Preparing for photographs.
The children created their own games with leaves.
Ms. Dungan’s Sixth Class.
Album Cover Photographs
Figuring out what way they wanted it to look; tweaking; trying something different each time.
Start with one thing and end up with something completely different!
1) The Bushmen
with their album “Minecraft parodies 2017 4th edition (deluxe)”
2) The wee rascals
with their album “Dún na nGall”
3) The Windmills
with their album “The constipated puddle”
Over the last 9 weeks in the forest, we built connection in ourselves, between each other and with nature. And had a lot of fun in the process. As one child said, I nearly always learn more when I’m having fun at the same time.
Towards the end of the session, we had a lovely sit spot and ended by sharing our gratitude with each other.