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Forest School

22/10/2020

 

I can't believe we have reached the end of the first half term already!

 

Reception and Year 1

We started today's session with a game of Eagle Eyes, which the children were introduced to last week. They are very good at hiding and moving stealthily to play the game.

Since both groups have enjoyed the mud so much over the last few weeks, we decided to focus on worms today. We shared the book Yucky Worms where the children found out lots of fascinating facts about worms, their bodies and where they live. We went looking for worm casts in the muddy areas of Forest School and found lots of them, along with the entrances to their tunnels. Just like in the story, we poured water over the ground to encourage the worms to come to the surface. Some children also enjoyed digging for worms. Lots of children were brave enough to hold a worm and had a go at identifying the head and tail end and looking to see if it was an adult or juvenile worm. Some children also enjoyed hollowing out elder beads to thread on to pipe cleaners to make bendy elder worms.

 

Year 3

Year 3 had their last session for the Autumn Term today. They have worked so hard over the last 6 weeks on their listening and teamwork skills, so after a game of Eagle Eyes, we returned to fire lighting. The children recapped what was needed for a fire, how to stay safe and then how to use a fire steel to create sparks. All children managed this, so we moved on to lighting the cotton wool. We discussed the feelings that we were going through: feeling frustrated when we couldn't make a fire and feeling proud and excited when it finally worked.

Some children helped build our fire in our fire pit and we all had a go at toasting marshmallows on it. We needed lots of patience to toast them until they were golden brown instead of rushing and burning them in the flames. We all agreed that they were incredibly delicious.

To finish the session, we shared something that we were grateful for.

 

Have a great half term holiday and we will see you in November.

Reception at Forest School - 22/10/2020

Year 1 at Forest School - 22/10/2020

Year 3 at Forest School - 22/10/2020

15/10/2020

 

It's getting colder and the colours around the park are beautiful. There is also mud, which the children are thoroughly enjoying playing in during their sessions.

 

Reception

This week, Reception children focussed on birds with the children working in two teams to find hidden birds and then match them to a bingo board. They had to look really carefully to spot the differences between similar looking birds, they also drew upon their knowledge of words and letters to support them in finding a match.

After warming ourselves up running around, we enjoyed the story Owl Babies back at our base camp. The children enjoyed joining in with Bill and acting out the story. For the rest of the session, some children chose to make bird feeders using pine cones, seeds and vegetable fat to encourage birds to visit our outdoor environments. Other children used clay (sourced from my builders digging the foundations for my extension!) to make birds using other natural materials and nests.

We finished by sharing how we felt at Forest School today.

 

Year 3

This half term has really flown by and I can't believe we are at week 6 already! The children have come on leaps and bounds and have really enjoyed getting into the Stone Age spirit over the Forest School experience this year.

We started with a new game, Eagle Eyes, and the children enjoyed hiding amongst the trees and behind bushes. Soon there won't be many leaves left and this game will be a lot harder!

The children have been very keen to tie stones onto their spears and make bows and arrows and so we started by going over the reef knot and clove hitch. The children really persevered with these and we are really trying to encourage them to be more independent. They stuck at it and many of the children went on to use these knots to make bows and arrows during the free choice time. 

 

Year 1

In the afternoon, Year 1 joined us for some tent building and focussing on our teamwork and communication skills . Many of the children remembered the timber hitch knot from last year and successfully attached Sammy the Snake (the rope) to the tree. They then learnt a new 'Humpty Dumpty' knot to complete their ridge line. 

The teams worked together to hang a tarp over their ridge line and peg it out using sticks and mallets. A lot of problem solving was needed to work out the best sort of sticks to use, ways to increase the space inside their tents and ways to stop the string coming off their pegs.

We all had a go at going inside the tents when they were finished and just in time too as the rain started to pour from the sky!

 

Have a great week,

Emma and Abby

8/10/2020

 

The weather is definitely starting to change and we had a bit of a wet one today, although this did not phase the children at all who enjoyed exploring the mud! The colours of the leaves are also going through their changes and it is lovely to return to the same place each week and be able to notice these small changes week on week.

 

Reception

With the changing colours of the season, we focussed on colour with the Reception children in the morning. We began by looking all around us for different colours. When a colour was called, we had to look around at the different trees and run to the colour. There were reds, bright yellows, browns and greens. After this we went on a walk to look at the different leaves and made leaf kebabs as we walked. We counted the leaves as we put them on and noticed the different shapes, sizes and colours. Some of us decided to finish the kebabs off with a spiky conker shell. To finish our session we worked in teams to sort the different natural objects we had collected and used them to make beautiful circular patterns together.

 

Reception having fun at Forest School

Year 3

Year 3 started their session with another game of Pheasant and Fox. The children had improved their tactics this week and therefore it was much harder for the foxes to make the pheasants move.

For the rest of the session, the children explored in different ways. Some children had a go at wet felting acorns. This is a long process, requiring lots of patience and gentle hands. It took them a long time, but they all managed to make a felt acorn. Other children continued with whittling and decorating their spears. Those that had done this then moved on to attaching a piece of slate to their spear or axe. It was very hard to lash the stone on and it involved a lot of problem-solving. 

The children shared how they felt and the emotions they went through working on today's challenges. Many of them found it challenging but are resolved to come back next week and not give up.

 

Year 1

The Year 1 children began their session with the Pheasant and Fox game. They really enjoy getting camouflaged with mud and leaves and trying to make their peers laugh and move to allow them to get an egg.

For the rest of the session, some children had their first go at wet felting. They could not believe how small their acorns became from starting with such a large amount of fluffy wool. Other children had a go at whittling sticks and decorating them with the dyes.

We finished discussing the different feelings and experiences we had today.

 

Have a good week,

Emma

24/9/2020

 

We had our fingers crossed for a dry day today, but didn't quite manage it! But that's all part and parcel of the outdoor fun!

 

Reception

Reception children were excited to be out in the sunshine this morning. We started with our welcome and name game and then did a meditation activity with the children. They had to close their eyes and imagine that they were holding a birthday cake in their hands. We asked the children to take a deep breath to smell their cake and then gently and slowly blow the candles out. We repeated this as a way of taking long relaxing breaths and considered how it made us feel. 

Next we lay on our backs with our eyes closed and listened to the sounds around us. We decided to be sound collectors and went on the hunt for hitting sounds, scratching/rubbing sounds and shaking sounds. The children brought back leaves to swish together and to tear and shake and sticks to hit and rub together. They were very creative and we made a band, following the conductor and playing loudly and quietly.

For the rest of the session, some children decided to collect natural materials to make shakers, others created their own instruments and finally, some children had a go at drilling acorns and threading them to make a rattle.

 

Year 3

Year 3 started their session with a focus on being stealthy and focusing on our senses. They worked in partners, with one of the pair with their eyes closed, whilst the other was a helper if needed. I played the drum and the person with their eyes closed had to listen and follow it. We tried this on the grassy area which was safe and easy and then challenged them to keep their partner safe in the woods.

We discussed the methods and evidence that stone age people would have used to locate animals to hunt. The children recognised that they may have followed footprints, found poo or some fur snagged on a stone or branch. Some of us used this as a springboard for the rest of the session. We tried following trails that we made for each other with varying levels of difficulty. We left a trail by dragging a log through the grass and mud, using sticks to create arrows on the ground and we also used white stones. Other children enjoyed coming back to the tie-dying and pouch making.

 

Year 1

Year 1 had a great start to their session, sharing their names and recapping the rules. We went into the woods to play the Creeping Comanche game we played last week. The children had to move amongst the trees without being seen to move and they really enjoyed this.

I shared the story of How The Dragonfly Got Its Wings with the children. They were joining in really well, but unfortunately, the heavens opened so we had to take the story into the woods for a bit of shelter and we lost a bit of focus.

The children just needed a bit of time to get exploring and they were great at this for the rest of the session. Some children enjoyed using natural resources and clay to make dragonflies. We had great discussions about what an insect is and that a spider is not an insect. We hollowed out the elder to make a solitary bee house together. Abby worked with some children hunting in the wooded area and making dens.

 

Fingers crossed for a dry week next week!

17th September 2020

 

Reception

Reception class are doing so well seeing as this is only their second week of Forest School. They remembered where to sit at base camp and remembered our rules to stay safe and look after each other. We started with a recap of the site, our welcome song and our name game. The children are so confident at taking a turn.

 

After this, we all went to find sticks in the wooded area. In our groups, we ordered the sticks by size. The children realised they needed to put the sticks next to each other to compare them and they were able to practice using lots of comparative language. Next one child in each group lay on the ground and we used the sticks to make an outline of their body. They stood up slowly, leaving the outline behind on the ground and then the children used different natural materials to decorate them. One even had a surfboard to ride on! Some of the children have started to be able to identify the hawthorn berries and willow leaves which is fantastic. We will continue to introduce them to new plants each week.

 

 

Year 3

Year 3 started their session with a welcome song and the name game. Then we focussed on our senses, in particular listening. We learnt how to play 'guard my tree' and discussed tactics to move stealthily without getting caught. The children played this in small groups in the wooded area.

 

Next, the children had the choice to explore in different ways. As they will be studying the Stone Age later in the year, we are doing some activities around this. The children made little pouches out of 'leather', which we hope they will use to gather useful resources over the weeks. Some children collected blackberries and used them to tie-dye some material and other children enjoyed exploring the woods, carrying sticks and creating things together.

 

We took time at the end of the session to focus on our feelings and achievements. Many of the children shared that they found the activities challenging. We discussed that they involved persevering, solving problems and learning to do things for ourselves. It was lovely to hear some 'yes' moments from them as they completed their challenge.

 

Year 1

In the afternoon Year 1 joined us. We focussed on the skill of listening and talked about what this involved. We played our 'creeping commanche' game which involved the children listening to the drum and staying still when it stopped with the aim of getting back to the mat without being caught moving. We had to focus on moving slowly and quietly to avoid being caught.

 

We quickly recapped on some of the different trees that are on the site: the hornbeam, the oak and the willow. The children gathered these leaves and made a face with them on the mat in front of them. We then chose how to use the rest of the Forest School time.

 

Some children enjoyed using clay to make leaf print tiles and creatures using the natural materials they had gathered. Other children threaded leaves carefully on to wool to make necklaces and kites and some of us enjoyed using natural resources to make a whole stick person.

 

We finished our session sharing our feelings about what we did today.

WELCOME BACK TO FOREST SCHOOL - 10th September 2020

Reception

The Reception class did extremely well despite only having been in school for four days so far. We took our time going over the rules and exploring the boundaries of the site with them at the beginning of the session along with our name game. Most of the children were very confident already in saying their name clearly with an action for us to copy. What a great start!

We practiced hiding and coming back when we were called.

Next we went off on our own to find five different things. We had to look carefully to make sure they were not the same type of things. Lots of children were able to collect different leaves from different trees, feathers, grass seeds, bark and sticks. We then used the things that we gathered to make a face all together. We used sticks for the shape of the face, smaller sticks for hair, willow leaves for the mouth and hawthorn berries for the eyes. Some of us also remembered we needed eyebrows and so pieces of bark were used for these.

It was lots of fun working together.

 

Year 1

Year 1 were very excited to be back. We focussed a lot on the rules and routines at the beginning of the session, recapping on how to move safely around the site, how to carry a stick safely and calls for coming back. 

They responded really well to the story of the Happiness Tree and got involved stirring the potion and exploring the site. After this they got the chance to explore in different ways like Year 3. Many chose to go looking for creatures with the magnifiers and the binoculars and some enjoyed making glitterworrms. They were very curious about the things that they found and asked lots of questions. One child found two different types of oak gall and eggs on an oak leaf and enjoyed showing them to the class.

 

Year 3

Year 3 were very pleased to be back and had a clear idea of what they wanted to do at Forest School today. It is so great to see how confident and excited they are to explore in the outdoors. We taught the children our new chant and recapped on the rules and boundaries. 

To test the children's stealth abilities, we played a game of Creeping Comanche. The children had to move slowly back towards base camp without being seen to move. Running fast did not work as it was difficult to stop and not get caught moving.

We shared the story of The Happiness Tree with the group and they joined in, moving around the site as we told the story. The children learnt about how to use the bendy Willow branches of the tree to make a crown and spread happiness. Some children used inspiration from the story to make different potions from the natural materials and others used their fine motor skills to twist natural items into a glitterworm. It was very hard to secure acorns in this way, but the children showed perseverance and kept at it. Lots of children had come with the idea of building with the loose logs and enjoyed working together creating wooden masterpieces!

Reception at Forest School

Year 1 at Forest School

Year 3 at Forest School

2020/2021

 

 

Forest School at home!

Forest School Bingo

How many activities can you complete at home?

 

Remember to send your photos to arose@keremschool.co.uk

12.3.2020

 

In the morning, Year 6 joined us for the start of their session in the park. We talked about the fire triangle and what is needed to make a fire. The children learnt how to identify dead, dry wood and the Silver Birch tree, before collecting a handful of the bark and sticks to use as their tinder. 

 

We headed back to the school grounds and the children practised using fire steels to create sparks. Once they got the hang of this, they had a go at lighting the cotton wool. Some children were successful, but all children showed resilience and kept trying.

 

To finish, we all toasted marshmallow and then reflected on our session. The children made some thoughtful comments about learning to not give up even when something is really hard.

 

With our Reception group, we explored colour. The children started by collecting as many different green natural items as possible to create a colour swatch from dark to light green. This activity helped them to look closely at the plants around them, continuing to develop their vocabulary. 

 

After this, we had a short time to explore colour in different ways. Some children used material and a mallet to do hapazone, creating bandanas by crushing the plants and releasing their pigments. Other children made their own paintbrushes from sticks and fir leaves and their own paint from mud, cumin and paprika. Finally we enjoyed throwing Holi paint to create a group masterpiece.

 

In the afternoon, Year 6 joined us. They were very focussed when they came out. We started with our rope circle game. The children were able to communicate effectively with each other, even with their eyes closed to move as one into a given shape. They were able to reflect on who was an effective team member and why.

 

After this, we recapped on the reef knot and clove hitch from the previous week and introduced square lashing. The children had a practice of this and then we set them the challenge of building a structure to keep a team member off the ground for 5 seconds. Three out of four teams were successful, with the team that didn't manage to complete the challenge able to reflect on their learning in the session. Interestingly they explained that they felt a bit 'gutted' they didn't manage to do what others had done and would put more effort in next time and not give up. In our feedback, a few members of the class said that another team cheated. One we explored this, they were able to recognise that they actually were a bit jealous of the other team's different ideas. This is a great activity for discussion and teamwork and resilience.

On Forest School days children should wear PE Kits. Please ensure your child has a full set of waterproofs and wellington boots. They will be expected to wear these if it is wet. If the forecast is predicting rain then children should also be sent in with a change of clothes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

05.03.20

 

It is the beginning of Spring, but the site is still very much waterlogged and it doesn't look like it is going to dry up anytime soon, what with all this rain! We moved our base camp over to the area on the other side of the main path beneath the big oak trees to give the grassy area a bit of a rest.

 

Year 6 children were a bit more prepared for the weather today and seemed excited to be at the session. We started with our song, sticky elbows and name game, which they joined in with enthusiastically. Next we moved on to learning the reef knot and the clove hitch. Most children got the hang of this and all showed a lot of resilience and patience working out where they were going wrong and eventually learning to tie both knots successfully.

 

We gave the children a range of ways they could explore the site for the rest of the session. Some children chose to put their knot skills to the test and made a bow and arrow. It was tricky learning to use the bow and took some problem solving skills to work out the best willow to use for their arrow. Other children enjoyed using clay to make patterned tiles using the natural materials around them. Another group enjoyed using the mallets to build fences and weave willow between the posts.

 

In Reception's session, we carried on with our pirate adventure. Emma had found a map of the site, which we used to find the hidden treasure chest. Inside was a range of natural treasures including lichen sticks, oak leaves, acorn cups and ivy leaves. As all pirates are greedy and love treasure, we decided to collect some more to add to our chest before burying it again. 

 

After this the children chose to explore in different ways. All children had a go at using the bow saw today to cut wood cookies which they decorated and made into pirate doubloons. Some children drilled holes in their treasure to hand it around their necks. Finally some children used the trowels to dig for treasure. Whilst digging, they noticed that the colour of the soil changed and we were excited to find that the children had dug down to clay. We scooped up a bit and had a go at moulding it.

 

Have a good week,

 

Emma

13.2.2020

 

It was lovely to have so many Year 3 and 4 parents join us today. We hope they were able to see all that their children have achieved over the last 6 weeks. Both classes have really come on leaps and bounds with their listening, cooperation and problem solving skills.

 

Today they put all of these to good use. We started with a game of Secret Cone to warm us up. Mums and dads got involved, even partaking in hiding the cone and running it to the opposing team's base. We then stomped through the mud into the woods and worked in teams to put up tarp shelters using our timber hitch knot and our Humpty Dumpty knot. The children had to adapt their dens and adjust their pegging out to make the internal space as large as possible. They then got inside their den and created songs/chants about their Forest School experience, which they performed to the rest of the class. We finished with our talking stick and shared something that has changed about ourselves during our weeks at Forest School.

 

In Reception's session, we shared the story Where The Wild Things Are. We roared our terrible roars, gnashed our terrible teeth, rolled our terrible eyes and showed our terrible claws along with the story and thought about how Max felt at different points. We found out what happens during a wild rumpus and went on a hunt to look for signs of a wild rumpus in the Forest School site. The children found sticks that had been broken by the wild things swinging on them, footprints and even places where they had been making music. For the rest of the session, we went on our own adventure to find the Wild Things. Some of us built a boat out of what we could find and set sail. Once we arrived we found a den and a fire that had been made by some Wild Things. We sang some songs together and then got back on our boat and sailed home. We all had lots of fun.

 

Week of 3rd February

 

Although it was a cold start, we got a glimpse of Spring sunshine today, which was lovely for our sessions.

 

Reception began their session by investigating buds. We pretended to be small buds getting bigger and bigger and then opening up to be leaves. The children were given twigs from the hornbeam, hawthorn and willow tree, which al had buds on. We compared them and discussed their colour and shape. Next, we explored around Forest School to find the tree they came from. The children were able to look very carefully and were so excited when they found the matching trees.

We introduced the children to the loppers and how to use them safely. They took a turn cutting a piece of willow which they used to make flags. They recapped their threading and fine motor skills again, using pipe cleaners to secure their material onto their stick.

 

Year 3 and Year 4 started their sessions by recapping on the knots they learned the previous week: the clove hitch and the reef knot. This week we introduced square lashing, which the children practiced on their own or in pairs. Once again, there was lots of opportunity for peer support and many children embraced this. 

The children got into teams for the next challenge which involved them creating a free-standing structure that kept a team member off the ground for 5 seconds. It took a while to get into the challenge, but with some selected clues, every group had a go at completing the task in a range of different ways. During the task, we were able to have discussions around resilience (one team's structure fell down and needed to be rebuilt) and discussions on how to speak kindly to others in our team. Conversations also arose about using initiative and not waiting to be told what to do. 

Both classes have really made leaps and bounds in their communication and teamwork skills this half term and we will be sad to finish with them for the time being next week.

 

Emma and Abby

Week of 27th January

 

Year 3 and 4 began their sessions today with our new song and our alliteration name game. We are so proud of how confident and creative they are becoming at sharing in the group, which seems to be getting better week on week.

 

To get our bodies warmed up we introduced our Secret Cone game. This involved two teams. Each team took it in turns to have one player hide the secret cone and try to run it across to the other team's home without being caught. The other players on the team supported the runner by bluffing and looking like they were holding the cone to confuse their opponents. The children were encouraged to decide amongst them who was the runner and we discussed that everyone has an important role on the team, not just the runner.

 

After this, we taught the children the reef knot and the clove hitch and explained their uses. Although it was tricky, the children persevered and the majority of children were able to tie both knots. Those that found it easy became the teachers and supported other children. We used these knots and willow in the rest of the session to make our own bows and arrows. It was tough and the children were surprised to find out that they needed to learn how to fire an arrow as well. There was a lot of discussion about problem-solving and adapting our bow to make firing the arrow more successful.

 

In Reception's session the children started with a song and the name and action game. They are also becoming more confident, with most children using a loud voice and an action. 

 

For the remainder of the session Reception children made their own slingshots. They were encouraged to thread and secure two elastic bands onto a piece of leather before attaching the other ends of the elastic bands to a Y stick. Many more children are recognising that they can do something like this independently now and are more willing to have a go. It was lovely to hear the, 'I did it by myself!' comments exclaimed excitedly by the children. We collected alder cones and talked about how to use the slingshot safely. The children lined up along the path and enjoyed firing the cones into the bushes.

 

Have a great week!

Emma and Abby

23.1.2020

 

In Year 3 and Year 4's sessions today we began with revisiting our rope shape game. We recapped on the ways we communicate and talked about the fact that listening is just as important as sharing ideas. 

 

After this initial game, we took the children into the park to collect firewood. We discussed the fire triangle and how to tell if wood was dead or living (green). The children worked together to collect a bucketful of wood and we headed back to school. On the way we passed the Silver Birch tree and talked about how the bark contains lots of resin and is great to use as kindling. The children enjoyed peeling it off and collecting a handful to use in the fire.

 

It took a lot of persistence to use the fire steels correctly, but all children were able to create sparks.   It was even harder to light the cotton wool, but the children did not give up and showed great determination. Some children were successful and others did not manage it this time. We shared how this felt and reflected on how we coped with our outcome. 

 

To celebrate everyone's achievements we finished with a toasted marshmallow. The children were able to follow the safety instructions and enjoyed cooking on the fire.

 

In Reception's session, we explored Chinese New Year. We read the story together and some children helped act it out using finger puppets. Next the children worked on moving silently to steal dragon's eggs from the blindfolded dragon. They moved very slowly, ensuring that their waterproof trousers did not make any noise. Quite a hard thing to do!

 

The children all finished the session by making a rat out of Elder. They worked hard to push out the pith and threaded a pipe cleaner through. they then found some small sticks to use as whiskers which had to be secured using a twisting action. It was lovely to see some of the rats being taken on adventures around the trees.

 

Week of 20th January 2020

 

In Year 3 and Year 4's sessions today we began with revisiting our rope shape game. We recapped on the ways we communicate and talked about the fact that listening is just as important as sharing ideas. 

 

After this initial game, we took the children into the park to collect firewood. We discussed the fire triangle and how to tell if wood was dead or living (green). The children worked together to collect a bucketful of wood and we headed back to school. On the way we passed the Silver Birch tree and talked about how the bark contains lots of resin and is great to use as kindling. The children enjoyed peeling it off and collecting a handful to use in the fire.

 

It took a lot of persistence to use the fire steels correctly, but all children were able to create sparks.   It was even harder to light the cotton wool, but the children did not give up and showed great determination. Some children were successful and others did not manage it this time. We shared how this felt and reflected on how we coped with our outcome. 

 

To celebrate everyone's achievements we finished with a toasted marshmallow. The children were able to follow the safety instructions and enjoyed cooking on the fire.

 

In Reception's session, we explored Chinese New Year. We read the story together and some children helped act it out using finger puppets. Next the children worked on moving silently to steal dragon's eggs from the blindfolded dragon. They moved very slowly, ensuring that their waterproof trousers did not make any noise. Quite a hard thing to do!

 

The children all finished the session by making a rat out of Elder. They worked hard to push out the pith and threaded a pipe cleaner through. they then found some small sticks to use as whiskers which had to be secured using a twisting action. It was lovely to see some of the rats being taken on adventures around the trees.

 

Have a great week,

Emma and Abby 

 

 

16.1.2020

 

We had lots of fun in the mud today with all the classes. The area is very waterlogged so it is great to see the children coming prepared in their waterproofs and wellies. The children are also evaluating how warm they are during the session and discussing how they will make sure they are prepared to be outside in the cold.

 

In Year 3 and Year 4's sessions today we started with the rope shapes game. This allowed the children to discuss ways that they communicate. They realised that we use eye contact and take pauses to enable us to talk and listen to one another. The children stood in a circle holding a piece of the rope and were asked to get into a given shape. They had to share their ideas about how to do this and found that it was not too challenging. We discussed that all members of the team were playing a role whether they were listening and following instructions or giving them. Next we increased the level of challenge by asking them to do this again but with their eyes closed. The children realised that they were using hand signals to communicate, but this was not any use when you can't see. It promoted a lot of discussion and thoughtful reflections on teamwork.

 

After this, we took the children to the Willow tree and introduced them to the loppers. They took it in turns to use the loppers to cut pieces of Willow and pass them safely to one another. They then chose to use the Willow to create dreamcatchers, weave and make stars.

 

In Reception's session, we recapped on the previous week where we were identifying non biodegradable rubbish and looking after our environment. The children were excited to hear that we have started to see fairies in the woods and that they also help to look after the woods. We looked around the site for evidence that fairies live there and were amazed at how imaginative and creative the children were. We then decided to make the fairies feel welcome by building them houses and other things in the woods including seesaws and gyms.

 

Have a great week,

Emma and Abby

Week of  8th January 2020

It was lovely welcoming the Year 3 and Year 4 classes back to Forest School today. They seemed very excited to be there and even in the mud! Over the break, the area seems to have recovered a bit, but we have moved our base camp over a little bit to continue to let the area rest.

 

Year 3 and Year 4 children recapped on the rules and routines of Forest School at the start of the session. We were lucky that today was so mild, but we spent some time discussing what is appropriate to wear as this is likely to be our coldest half term. 

We played a Kim's game with the children using 10 items found from the site. We were so impressed with how much they remembered, despite it looking quite different compared to when they were previously here. It was also nice to be able to share some of the objects that they learned about last time and what they look like now. In particular, they remembered where to find cleavers, which are no longer sticky, but have seeds on that get stuck to animals (and people) instead.

We had a discussion about why the children come to Forest School and what personal and group skills they can develop while they are with us. With these in mind, the children were asked to create a piece of artwork to represent one of these qualities. During this activity, the children had some difficulty communicating their differing ideas to each other and there were lots of great moments where we were able to support the children in developing their explanation and communication skills to make their ideas understood. 

 

In Reception's session, we shared the book A Planet Full of Plastic and became forest superheroes. We put on our capes and flew into the woods to look for litter. We introduced the word 'biodegradable' and talked about how long the plastic would stay around in the environment. The children used litter pickers to pick up litter and put it in the correct place. To finish the session, the children used clay to bring the tree spirits to life (giving the trees faces). They used natural materials to create noses, eyes, mouths, and hair and thought about what the trees would say to people coming into the woods. It was great to see them taking so much responsibility and being very passionate about looking after the environment.

 

Have a great week,

Emma and Abby

Week of 25th November

 

Year 5 worked really hard today with their knot skills. We recapped on clove hitches, square lashing and reef knots and were so impressed with how much they remembered from the previous week. The children got into two teams and created a structure to keep one of their teammates off the ground for 5 seconds. We discussed what type of logs to use and what not to use and they carried them safely to their building site. Each team tackled the challenge in different ways; one built a structure they could hang from and one built a structure they could stand on. We finished with a discussion about the role they played in the team and how successfully they met the task brief. The task really highlighted those children who have great ideas but find it difficult to share them and so we had a discussion about this.

 

Reception and Year 1 explored mammals today and talked about hibernation. We named some mammals that we might find in the woodland environment and discussed why we might not see them and only see clues that they had been there, such as footprints. The children then went on a hunt around the site for pictures of footprints and clues. They had to work out who the footprint belonged to and match them. It was lovely to see the children busy running around and determined to find all six mammals. For the rest of the session, the children chose to explore in different ways. Some chose to make a den for the Forest Friends for them to hibernate in, others used footprints carved in potatoes and mud to make footprint trails and finally some children went on the hunt for real footprints and evidence of mammals in amongst the trees.

 

We look forward to welcoming the parents of Year 1 and Year 5 next week.

 

Have a good week.

Emma and Abby

 

Week of 18th November

 

We had lots of fun with the Year 5 children this morning. They are enjoying being set challenges and learning new skills. This week we started with the rope shape game. This involved the children all holding on to a circle of rope. The children then had to close their eyes and work together to move the rope into different shapes. Before we closed our eyes, we discussed the way that we communicate with each other and realised that body language and eye contact help us know how to hold a two way conversation. Without the visual clues, we would need to listen and work together. This activity evoked a great deal of discussion around teamwork and demonstrated that even though they are a small (and very lovely!) class, there are quite a few 'Chiefs' and not many 'Indians'. We ended up doing this activity with our eyes open to see if we could do it more easily. We are planning to come back to this activity next week to see if the children can recognise and put into practice the improvements they suggested.

We used the rest of the session to learn a few knots and lashings. We taught the children a reef knot, a clove hitch and square lashing and discussed their different uses. To finish the session the children worked in two teams to put their knot skills to the test, building the tallest free standing structure. This was lots of fun and the children shared some really interesting reflections on themselves afterwards.

 

Reception and Year 1 got busy thinking about birds this week. We recapped on the season and its features before becoming a flock of birds. The children learnt about birds puffing up their feathers to trap a layer of air and keep themselves warm. We also learnt about birds that migrate to warmer countries to find food during our Winter.  We flew in a V following Emma on our migration route to Africa (the woods). Once we arrived, we built nests by moving the leaves with our feet and then we went hunting for different food represented by different colours of wool; red for berries, green for seeds and brown for worms. We noticed that we did not find many brown worms, but lots of green seeds and red berries and some of worked out that this was because the brown worms were camouflaged against the trees.

 

To finish the session, some children chose to make bird feeders out of pine cones, vegetable fat and seeds. Others chose to make owls out of clay.

 

What a fun session!

Have a good weekend,

Emma and Abby

 

Week of 10th October

 

We hope you have had a good week and have enjoyed your celebrations over the last few weeks.

 

This week, we took the children into the woods amongst the trees to make dens. 

 

We were very impressed that some of the children in each year group were able to remember some of the steps we introduced in the Summer term, but all benefited from having another go at the activity.

The children learnt to look on the ground and above when choosing an area for their den. We then tied a timber hitch, using Sammy the Snake to one tree and a 'Humpty Dumpty' tying off knot for the other end of the ridge line.

The teams worked well to peg out their tarp over the ridge line to try to create as much space as they could inside for their team.

 

We had a great turn out of parents in Year 1 and 2 and we hope they benefited from their experience with their children.

 

 

Enjoy your holiday,

 

Emma and Abby

 

 

Week of 2nd October

 

This week the classes had fun exploring fire.

 

Year 1 and Year 2 began their sessions walking through the park. We discussed why we need fire and why it is useful and what we need to create fire: heat, oxygen and fuel.

 

We showed the children the different types of sticks that could be collected for our fire and shared how to tell whether the sticks were dry enough or not by snapping them. We also introduced them to the Silver Birch tree, the bark of which can be used for fire lighting. 

 

At the EYU all classes learnt about the checks that need to be done before using a fire steel:

  1. Check your tool space.
  2. Tuck in any loose clothing or hair.
  3. Get in the respect position.

We practiced these steps and then the children had a go at using the fire steels to create sparks. Once they all managed this, they had a go at lighting the cotton 'fairy pillows'. Although this is really tricky, lots of children were able to persevere and were successful. 

 

We finished the sessions with a group fire and the children enjoyed toasting (and eating!) their marshmallows.

 

Have a great week!

Emma and Abby

Week of 23rd September

 

The children had a drizzly but fun day today exploring in Forest School. 

 

We started the sessions talking about Autumn and the changes we can see happening. The children were quick to identify the acorn from the Oak tree and could show me where the nearest Oak tree was. They all got given an acorn and had to closely examine it to familiarise themselves with their acorn. They then became little squirrels and hid their acorn around the site, making sure they remembered where they had put it.

 

We read a story The Squirrels Who Squabbled and played a listening game and then the children were sent off again to retrieve their acorn. Most children remembered where they had put it and were able to bring it back, but we think some got eaten by some cheeky squirrels and so they did not all get found again! We hunted around the different plants on the site to see if we could find any more seeds or berries containing seeds and compared them.

 

Finally we gave the children some exploring time. The Year 1 and Reception classes really embraced the mud and enjoyed painting the trees and themselves with it. It was great seeing them having so much fun doing this. They helped Abby put up a hammock in the trees and enjoyed playing on it. Other children made plant pots from newspaper and planted their very own acorn to grow their own Oak tree, others made necklaces using elder and drilled acorns. Some children used clay, pine cones and teasels to create woodland squirrels and hedgehogs. 

 

What a busy day!

 

Have a good week,

 

Emma

 

Week of 13.09.19

 

It is the International Day of Peace on Saturday, so we used this as a starting point with our groups today. The children discussed the meaning of peace and came up with lots of great suggestions about it meaning being calm and quiet and they also realised that it meant not fighting or being at war. The Year 2 and Year 1 children made a circle of peace by forming a circle with their hands on the ground. We then sieved flour over their hands, which left the shapes of their hands on the ground.

 

We took time to listen to the sounds around us, closing our eyes and lying down on the ground. We had to stay really still and when we did, we were able to hear different birds and aeroplanes overhead. The children then explored the environment to find natural items that they could use to make sounds. They found that they could tap, scrape, blow and shake the items to create sounds. We formed class orchestras and had to follow Emma the conductor to make our sounds loud and quiet.

 

Finally the children had a go at making their own musical instruments. Reception children explored the environment collecting acorns and alder cones to put inside their shakers. Year 1 and Year 2 chose to either make a shaker or drill acorns and thread them onto wire to create their very own rattle.

 

We felt very proud of how well the children are getting to know the environment.

 

Have a great week

 

Emma

 

 

Week of 09.09.19

 

We had a great day with the Year 2, Year 1 and Reception children today focusing on leaves and trees in the environment.

 

All the children were much more focused at base camp today and are really getting confident with the rules and routines. We discussed being 'stealthy' like a creature hiding from its prey. The children moved quietly to collect sticks from the centre of the circle and return to their space, making a minimal amount of noise. The children were very careful about moving and were very quiet. Next we recapped on the trees in our Forest School area. We were so impressed with the children's knowledge of the site already. Many children could name some of the trees in the area and remembered where to find them. We collected some leaves and seeds from some of the trees and used these to work in teams to create patterns by listening, following instructions, identifying the different leaves and arranging the leaves. Great teamwork. We discussed the colour changes in the leaves and why this was happening as we looked at our creation.

 

Year 1 and 2 moved on to some choice time, where they continued to use the leaves to create mobiles, leaf pictures and some had another go at developing their whittling skills adding some pattern to their mobile.

 

Have a great week!

Emma 

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