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What a wonderful day!

Submitted by tawnyowl on Thursday, September 20, 2018 - 16:30

Year 3 had a fabulous day in the woods today!

Tawny Owl and Wren were incredibly impressed with everyone’s listening and the way they followed instructions. They have really matured over the summer holiday. Well done everybody.

Both groups began with a safety chat, followed by a walk around our temporary site (‘Plan B’), including the arrangements for using the toilet. They then had plenty of time to lead their own learning. We observed shelter building, ‘mining’, tree climbing, as well as the building of some quite intricate structures. Tula and Abi spent a long time creating a beautiful space for people who are lonely to go and be with others.

Willow group played the same game which year 4 had played yesterday (Plant Duplication). They listened well and used some amazing memory and observation skills which meant that they were extremely successful in finding the leaves Tawny Owl had in her set.

By the end of the game, the children had learnt a little about Oak, Ash, Rowan, Holly, Beech, Hornbeam, Chestnut and Hazel.

At the end of both sessions, we walked the children round to Stump Central to look at the work going on to clear the dangerous trees. Willow group were lucky enough to watch Tree creepers on the Ash and Oak. They also watched Blue-tits going in and out of the hole in the big Oak on the other side of the stream.

Joshua decided that we should use some of the timber which is being cut down to make a special structure to make a designated tool area. He had a definite idea in his head about what it would look like. By the end of the day his design had become 2 storeys high! I think Mr Bowyer (Mighty Oak) may have been encouraging his monster design!

If anyone has the skills or inclination to take this idea forward, please let us know!

Have a look at the picutres to see a little of what we did today (and do look at the other Forest School Blogs too).

Woven Willow Tipis and Plant Printing

Submitted by tawnyowl on Thursday, September 13, 2018 - 16:43

We had a beautiful day today for Forest School; the sun shone and everyone was relaxed.

Each group began with a game of Palm Tag – interestingly, Willow Group really entered into the spirit of the game, while Field Maple Group seemed a little bit weary and less enthusiastic.

As we held Forest School on the school site again today, there was a choice of activities to participate in. We had a group making another willow woven tipi with mud walls, while others had a go at leaf sewing and made some mobiles. Cuckoo and Wren led very successful plant printing sessions – do have a look at the photos to see the results. We will be displaying them in school in the near future, so keep an eye open. The children found Mountain Ash berries, Blackberries, Dogwood berries as well as leaves to brighten up their printing.

Again, Wren worked her magic in the garden with the children, clearing more of the raised beds ready for autumn planting. Lots of invertebrates were found in the soil: worms, centipedes, woodlice, ants, slugs etc. She noted how gentle the children were with the creatures, which was lovely to observe. Be sure to notice the changes to the gardens as we go into the autumn, and appreciate the hard work which is going into providing lots of interest. They also planted some carrot seed in tubs in the green house to watch alongside the Radishes planted by year 4 yesterday.

The learning today was amazing. The children had to be vigilant and agile to be successful at Palm Tag, and patient and resilient while making the woven tipi. There was also some excellent team work and children were seen and heard helping each other. Many in the group learned that if things do not go right the first time of trying, then having another go often results in success.

Noah and Evie earned themselves Environmental stickers for spontaneously collecting litter while we were outside.

Everyone was pleased with their creations and several children experienced getting their hands muddy for the first time. Some really enjoyed it while others weren’t too sure.

We hope to be in the woods next week, but we will let everyone know.

There are more photos on the website in the Year 3 Gallery.

Year 4's very busy first session of the year

Submitted by tawnyowl on Wednesday, September 12, 2018 - 17:02

A rather grey day today.  However, this did nothing to dampen the spirit of the children. Each group began with a game of Palm Tag, which everyone thoroughly enjoyed. The children learned about strategy and also about being very observant in all directions. Tawny Owl compared the concentration they needed to how a prey animal feels when it is out in the woods – keeping watch for predators.

The groups then settled to gardening – preparing the raised beds for the vegetables and continuing the task which year 6 had begun on Monday, weeding the Peace Garden. Others began creating a willow Tipi with woven willow and ‘daub’ made from soil, sand, grass and water. The children really enjoyed getting their hands muddy and created an amazing structure. In addition, we also planted some Radish seeds in troughs in the greenhouse, hoping we will have some to harvest in a few weeks time.

As Chestnut group had four adults supporting, we were also able to offer fire striking, which several children chose. All the children worked hard at this, but found it really difficult. However, they persevered (no one gave up), and for Brandon this paid off as he managed to light his ‘fairy pillow’.

Do look at the photos to see the enjoyment on the children’s faces as they enjoyed their outdoor learning today. There are more pictures on the Year 4 gallery.

Science and Damper Bread

Submitted by tawnyowl on Wednesday, July 4, 2018 - 22:15

Year four’s final session for this academic year.

There were some expressions of regret until Tawny Owl pointed out that it might be next term that they return to the woods.

Both groups had the opportunity to make and eat damper bread today, with the proviso that if they wanted to eat, they had to be involved in making and keeping the fire going (which included cutting and splitting wood), or mixing and making the dough. Several children were found to be rather resentful of this condition, which we talked about; we hope this might lead to rather more co-operation and collaboration in future – we shall see! In their defence, Birch group worked really well together to build an amazing shelter; and then equally well to clear it away, folding the tarps and getting them back in the bags afterwards.

It was lovely to see and hear from some of the children about how much they appreciate and realise how fortunate they are to benefit from their Forest School sessions. The damper bread was a triumph – the adults decided that the cheesy damper bread with Marmite was the best! However, one member of the group had cheesy damper bread with chocolate spread! It is of no surprise that the children who gain most from Forest School and return to the classroom with the greatest satisfaction and largest smiles, are those who contribute most to the session.

Birch group in particular were very good at helping begin the task of returning some of the equipment back to school for the holiday. Larch group also did their bit but were not so good at listening to where it all had to go back at school.

It was noted by the adults that the work that Mrs Omer had been doing back at school following the Paws b curriculum is already showing results. We observed some rather angry exchanges between a group of boys (lots of hitting trees with sticks and shouting); as it reached a high point, one boy removed himself from the group and took himself right away, sat cross legged on the woodland floor and was seen breathing deeply. After a short while, he returned to the group, and then very quickly chose another activity. Wonderful!

We met lots of examples of Science in the woods today – the question was asked about why the damper bread dough got bigger when it was cooked (the bicarbonate of soda reacts with the milk to produce bubbles of carbon dioxide); also, Mayfly joined us with her ink making kit, and we learned about acids and alkalis (watch this space as I am hoping she will give us a bit more information to add to this blog). In addition to this, we used the off-cuts of the hazel we used to make cooking sticks with to make charcoal. Mayfly explained to the children how, after burning off some of the wood (water and hydrogen) in the absence of oxygen, we are left with carbon.

Have a look at the class gallery for more photos.

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