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Mystery of the broken headstone

A group of children are on a forest walk. They see something that interests them and we find out where they think it came from and what has happened to it.

Good for looking at

  • COEL - Creating and thinking critically, thinking of ideas and making links
  • Learning outdoors
  • Forest nursery
  • Sustained shared thinking
  • Knowledge of the world

A group of three and four year old children are on a forest walk with their practitioners.


What do you notice about:

  • What cues can you see that show what the children are interested in? (look out for non-verbal and body language as well as spoken language)
  • How are the children learning? Which areas of development, engagement and characteristics of learning can you observe?
  • In what ways do the adults support the children’s learning?
  • How does the environment support the children’s learning?


What did you recognise about:

  • The way the children are learning – what evidence did you see the children creating and thinking critically?
  • The areas of learning and development that were covered?
  • The adults roles – did all of the adults respond in the same way?
  • The importance of the environment?


  • What would you do next? How would you follow up on any of the interests that the children had?
  • Did watching the clip help you notice any particular strengths or weaknesses that you might have when trying to support children’s thinking skills? How could you use this? Could you support others with something you are particularly good at? Or find some one to support you with an area you find difficult?
  • Could you suggest a way of doing something equivalent in your own setting?