08.00 – Arrive at a small kindergarten in Copenhagen, 15 minutes bike ride from where we live. Inside Charlie plays with other children. Breakfast is served for those who arrive between 7-8am.
08.25 – Charlie and twenty or so other children get on a bus with the staff (and me) as we take a 20 minute drive out to the forest school.
08.50 – Get off the bus and Charlie heads straight for the muddy puddles and peddle carts.
09.00 – Charlie is finally wearing boots but he’s already filthy. Still, he’s smiling!
09.20 – Thomas, one of the adults (they don’t call them teachers here) asks Charlie to help him. They’re watering the vegetables. (They eat much of what’s grown here for their lunches.)
09.45 – Charlie is now in the woods with Thomas along with other boys and girls. They’re finding and collecting tiny frogs and toads in a bucket.
10.30 – Charlie joins another group in the large sandpit. They’re building a sand volcano which produces its own lava….. with the help of a hose.
11.15 – Thomas is helping Charlie in the wooden lodge to change out of his filthy, wet clothes into some spares. Let’s just say there’s a lot of washing for parents who have kids at forest schools!
11.25 – Charlie is washing his hands with Thomas, ready for lunch, which is again inside.
11.30 – Sitting down for lunch. Usually the food here is nutritious and delicious. Today even I struggled with the fish egg pâté on Danish rye bread and the liver paste. But the other children loved it. Fresh fruit follows.
At meal times, there are rules – sit properly, use a knife and fork, and don’t leave the table until you are told. (Charlie is struggling with these, too many interesting things to do!)
12.15 – While some children have a nap, and others are outside again, I spend an hour or so reading books to Charlie. I say reading, but as I can’t speak Danish either, I was making up stories based around the pictures.
13.30 – Pernille, member of staff, tells us they’ve lit the camp fire. We go outside to see children sitting around the fire, despite the heat and smoke. Most have long sticks and knives. No, battle is not about to commence – they’re about to wrap dough round them. Charlie is going to bake his first piece of home made bread.
13.45 – Pernille wraps the dough round Charlie’s stick and we put it over the fire. Ok, I admit I end up holding it while he runs off. But he’s very good at eating it when the time comes. It’s pretty good!
14.30 – Healthy snacks offered outside including cucumber and tomatoes as well as juice to drink.
14.45 – Charlie is obsessed with sticks. As there are tens of thousands at his forest school, it doesn’t take long before he’s fully armed. Most of the Danish children here are bored of using sticks as weapons. But when you’re three and you can’t really communicate with your peers, you sure do get their attention when you’re waving a stick around. Let’s just say I’m glad I was there to prevent any serious injuries.
15.00 – All the children have to move their bags out of the lodge and hang them on pegs outside, ready to take back on the bus. One boy refuses to get his, so after several warnings it’s locked inside for the weekend. He’s devastated. But he won’t make that mistake twice.
15.30 – Back on the bus and Charlie has immediately fallen asleep. Waking him up back at base is not easy. But he’s survived a full day and what’s more, enjoyed it.