Luella Goes to Forest School

Submitted into Contest #222 in response to: Write a story that includes someone saying, “You’ve got this.”... view prompt

9 comments

Fiction Kids Friendship

Luella was usually hard to get out of bed in the morning, but today, she jumped up as soon as her Mom came to wake her.

“I’m going to forest school today!” she cheered, as she leaned in for a hug.

Finally, after a year of hearing all about the fun to be had in the woods from her older brother, it was her turn.

“What do you need to do before we can leave for school?” Luella’s mom asked.

Luella looked down at her pajamas.

“Get dressed!” she said.

She opened a drawer and selected her rainbow shirt and a pair of polka dotted pants from her dresser. Luella pulled out some socks, and got herself dressed. Then she walked to the bathroom and found her toothbrush, without being reminded. When her teeth were clean, she used the potty. Mom helped her put her hair in a pony, and then they walked back downstairs together.

Luella chose eggs and oatmeal for breakfast. She ate everything as fast as she could. 

“I’m ready to go!” she chirped, after licking the bowl of oatmeal clean.

“It’s not quite time to go yet. And you need your gear,” Mom reminded her.

Together, they collected Luella’s rain boots, rain pants, and jacket from her cubby in the mud room. Mom was about to help her step in to her rain pants, but Luella quickly pulled them away from her. 

“I can do it myself!” she insisted.

Luella put her legs into the rain pants and pulled them up. It took a few tries, but she managed to close both buckles on the bib part of the pants by herself.

“I did it! Now we can go,” she told Mom.

“You did it! But it’s still too early to leave, and you’re missing some gear. What else do you think you might need to put on?” Mom asked. 

Luella thought for a moment.

“Rain boots!” she shouted.

She stuffed her feet into her boots.

“Is it the right feet?” she asked Mom.

“Do they feel okay? It looks like the right feet,” Mom said.

“I did it! Now, my backpack,” Luella decided.

“Are you going to wear your jacket? It’s kind of chilly this morning,” Mom said.

Luella picked up her backpack. She put her arms through the straps and buckled it at the chest.

“No. I don’t need my jacket,” she insisted.

“Okay. If you change your mind once we get outside, you can always put it on,” her mom reminded her.

Luella opened the side door and ran out.

“Come on, Mom. Let’s GO!” she yelled.

Mom shut the lights off in the kitchen, checked to make sure that the doors were locked, and then followed her out.

“Come on! Let’s go to forest school,” Luella exclaimed.

Mom knew they were leaving too early, but Luella couldn’t be persuaded to wait any longer. They got in the car and drove to the school meeting spot. There was  lots of time before school was scheduled to start, so Mom and Luella walked around while they waited.

A bright blue sky and a golden sun greeted them as they played in the greenery around the parking lot. It was one of those early fall mornings that starts off brisk, but quickly warms to a comfortable temperature. Luella felt like she was going to burst with excitement. 

Finally, the teachers arrived, and shortly after, the other students began to gather. Mom leaned down to hug Luella.

“Have fun, Sweetie. I’ll see you later,” she said.

Luella hesitated for a moment. 

“Can you stay with me?” she asked Mom.

“Forest school is just for children. I will pick you up later, when school is done,” Mom promised.

“You always come back?” Luella asked.

“I always come back,” her mom assured her.

Luella grabbed onto Mom’s leg as her eyes began to tear up.

“You’ve got this, Luella. You’re going to have so much fun,” Mom assured her.

Luella squeezed Mom’s leg tightly. She dried her eyes, and with one last look back, she took her teacher’s hand to join the group. Her lip quivered, but she was brave.

Luella was silent during the morning’s affirmations and songs. She didn’t talk to anyone when it was time to put backpacks on and line up. She was quiet during the hike to base camp.

She watched as the returning students set up a tarp beneath an old oak tree. They placed their backpacks in a line next to it. Some of the children sat down on the tarp and snacked on their lunches right away, while others got busy exploring the forest.

Luella put her backpack down in the line, then stood behind the oak tree. Her muscles felt tense, and her belly was in knots. She recognized that she was feeling a little scared, because everything was new. Most of the other children seemed to know what to do, but she wasn’t sure how forest school worked.

A tall girl in a pink jacket walked toward Luella. The curls on top of her head bounced with each step she took. The girl carried a big rock in her hand.

“Hi. Do you want to play rock babies with me? This is my rock baby. I’ll show you where to find one,” the girl said.

“Umm. Okay, sure,” Luella replied.

“I’m Gracie,” the girl said, taking Luella by the hand.

She guided her to a pile of dirt and demonstrated how to dig with a stick to find a rock baby. Luella felt her muscles relax, and the knots in her belly loosened. She wondered if she had just made her first forest school friend.

Four hours later Mom  picked up a smiling girl with muddy pants, and a rock in her hand.

“Mom! You came back! I had so much fun with this rock!” Luella cried.

When they arrived back home, she shed her gear. Then she ran around the house, climbing up on and jumping off of all the furniture.

“Luella, this is not typical behavior for you, and we usually don’t allow jumping on furniture in our house, but I can see that you are feeling so good about yourself after your first day of forest school. I’m going to allow it for now,” Mom said.

Luella’s enthusiasm could not be contained

“I did it! I did it by myself!” she shouted to the dog, the cat, and anyone else who would listen.

The Luella who was dropped off at school that morning had been excited. The Luella who was picked up in the afternoon was excited, but also empowered, confident, proud, and eager to try new things. That is the power of forest school.

November 02, 2023 19:15

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9 comments

Emilie Ocean
15:19 Nov 07, 2023

What a lovely story about little Luella. <3

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Aaron Galassi
19:46 Nov 06, 2023

Awww. This is so cute. Excellent use of Third Person Omniscient. It was interesting to read the thoughts and feelings of both the mother and Luella. Good job! Thanks for sharing!

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Nina H
20:16 Nov 04, 2023

What a sweet story!

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Shirley Medhurst
21:18 Nov 02, 2023

Awww such a sweet, innocent story, perfect for the prompt. A very enjoyable read, thank you, Chelsea 😊

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Chelsey B
22:23 Nov 02, 2023

Thank you.

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Mary Bendickson
19:48 Nov 02, 2023

Thanks for liking my 'Run Forest Run'. This was a different kind of Forest Run. Cute story. Thanks for liking my Hometown Boy

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Chelsey B
22:23 Nov 02, 2023

Thank you!

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Tom Skye
19:41 Nov 02, 2023

Nicely written. A very sweet story about about a girl's first day at school. Nice work. Thanks for sharing

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Chelsey B
22:23 Nov 02, 2023

Thank you

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