My two daughters, Gladys and Betsy are very feminine, not ‘girlie’, but I know if we weren’t careful they would just become trapped in gender stereotyping. We have, as a family, really tried hard to encourage them to be out-of-doors, riding bikes, playing in the woods and building shelters for the faeries. They love to be out-of-doors.
They were born only a week apart, and only two years difference in age, so this year for their birthday they wanted a joint party. However my youngest isn’t much of a people person and can find lots of noise and rush overwhelming. I met Karen Meakin-Scott of Cedars Forest School though a local Women’s business group and at once knew my girls would love a party at her school, whilst it fitted in with our lifestyle and parenting style.
We only invited a small number of their friends to stop it being too overwhelming and to give the children chance to form friendship bonds. We also had a no present policy, at the request of our eldest daughter, as she realises they have so much already that they really didn’t need anything! We listened to her and they had a wonderful selection of homemade cards and pictures.
The party was very simple, the children all met in Karen’s wood cabin, fitted out with toilets and plenty of space to change into their muddy clothes and sort themselves out afterwards! Once everyone had arrived we walked down to the wood through two fields. The wood is set at the bottom of the fields in a lovely sheltered spot and as we arrived the rain stopped (thank you God).
The children were given two rules, not to touch the fence around the edges and to leave the firewood in the box, and then allowed to do what they wanted. The small pond was the most popular with the children ‘fishing’ with saucepans and jugs. They built shelters out of tarpaulin and sticks and dug trenches.