Year 2 in the Sunshine
Year 2 enjoyed their first session in the woods today. Spring has well and truly joined us – the birds were singing and the bluebells are beautiful. There is a crop of young trees growing in the fire circle – we think they are Ash but we are going to plant some up into pots and grow them on to see how they grow.
The willow which was planted by Years 3 and 4 in the Autumn Term is growing well now and hopefully will provide a good screen for the Treebog in the not too distant future.
There are Great Tits nesting in one of the boxes made by the Magpie Group and Year 5 and some Blue-tits nesting in the YR ‘Silver Birch’ nest box. We are also aware of several other nests which are appearing up in the trees.
The weather was generally better than we had expected.
Hornbeam Group spent the morning exploring the area and enjoyed picking nettles and drinking nettle tea. Alder Group were less enthusiastic about nettle tea.
Both groups found lots of minibeasts out and about. They found millipedes, woodlice, beetles, centipedes, shield bug, a beetle larva, a stripy snail and a particularly special green caterpillar which was like the Inchworm measuring one of the children’s shoulder! We also saw several butterflies: Orange Tips, and various Whites. Tawny Owl has also included a photo of a Bee Fly she spotted during the holiday in the woods.
Alder group were helpful in cutting and storing wood for the woodshed.
Both groups enjoyed Silent Spot – we heard Wrens, Chiff-Chaff, and Blue-tits.
Tawny Owl spotted a Marsh Tit while she was in the woods on her own early in the day.
Tawny Owl set up a camera trap a few weeks ago - have a look at the little clips of night life in the woods.
Tawny Owl has added the final videos for the Spring Term all in one go. There is a YR video and then some Y5 videos in this post.
Tawny Owl managed to get a little behind on the blog recently but as you can see from the following photos, we spent a valuable day harvesting our vegetables, cooking them in the new kitchen in the Sunshine Room, as well as eating them. We also helped out with a number of other gardening jobs around our Outdoor Classroom.
Year R enjoyed a warm, sunny day in the woods today. We had two photographers on hand for the morning session, so there are some lovely photos of Beech Group. However. Tawny Owl became so engrossed in observing the children after lunch, she forgot to pick up her camera, so there are no photos for the Oak Group today.
As you can see from the lovely photos, the children enjoyed playing with a pile of sawdust, and each child also had the opportunity to begin their Forest School journey in use of tools - they used a vegetable peeler and sharp vegetable knife to begin to learn about using sharp tools safely. Next week, we will progress to using scout knives to peel the bark off hazel to use as cooking sticks. We were really proud of how focussed the children were. They all enjoyed eating the carrots too!
During the afternoon, Oak group also enjoyed the tree cookies (and were really helpful in putting them all away at the end), although there was little sawdust left. They also hunted for worms and found beetles as well.
Thank you Daffodil for the lovely photos!
We remained in school today as we had a shortage of adults to support our session in the woods.
However, this did not mean a 'quiet' time!
Tawny Owl planned some exciting activities and the children achieved lots of learning.
Have a look at the video to get a taste of what they were up to.
Year R arrived well prepared for the winter conditions this week. We were blessed with a bright, sunny start even though it was very chilly.
Wren had kindly arrived in the woods early to set everything up and when we arrived the fire was alight and the kettle was on.
The children were very respectful of the fire circle and kept themselves safe from the fire. They settled quickly to their learning and enjoyed bird watching, tree climbing, running around, playing with the snow, snowballs (after agreement about what would make a good game, and what might spoil it) building camps and even a dinosaur! The wood pile was popular again with some children.
One of the games they played involved catching snowflakes on their tongues, which was introduced by Mayfly.
Oak Group enjoyed the story of Beegu at the start of their session; the children were encouraged to think about how Beegu was feeling at different points in the story - encouraging empathy.
Beech Group began their afternoon in good spirits - they sang our Forest School Song with great gusto in the minibus on the way down to the woods, and some of them also sang it on the way back. They were very creative with their composition of lyrics.
The adults noticed this week that the children are becoming more independent, and they are becoming better at listening to and following instructions. There remain a few who still need more practise in doing up their own seat belts, but there are more children each week available to help others, which is fantastic.
Have a look at the video and photos to see the fun we had with our learning.
What a beautiful and busy day!
The sun shone, the birds were singing as if it was spring, and everyone was wrapped up warmly.
Mighty Oak joined us today and worked with a hard working team, including Moss to dismantle the large shelter – this area is now safe for everyone. The children co-operated very well and enjoyed contributing to the care of our beautiful woodland. Birch Group enjoyed the efforts of Larch Group as they were able to re-use the materials to create themselves a great new camp.
Children enjoyed birdwatching – we tried to spend an hour at the bird feeding stations watching to see which birds visited to report to the RSPB as part of the BIG Schools Birdwatch. We recorded Blackbird, Blue-tits Great-tit, Coal-tit, pigeon, crow, spotted woodpecker, robins and wren. We were also observed from the sky by several buzzards and seagulls. We also saw Fieldfare flying over and heard Goldcrest and Long Tailed Tit, but they stayed out of sight.
One group of children enjoyed a game of snowballs and there was some tree climbing.
Buzzard kindly bought bird seen and cookie cutters to make burd feeders which we will hopefully hang next week. Wren worked with a team to split enough wood to fill the wood shed.
Tawny Owl and Wren heard a couple of foxes at the far end of the wood, and Tawny Owl then spotted them trotting away silhouetted against the sky above the footpath.
A small group had another go at lighting the Kelly Kettle fires but seemed to have forgotten all about the requirements of successful fire lighting, so it was decided to have a session next week devoted to fire lighting.
Birch Group began the afternoon with a Silent Spot session which calmed everyone and allowed us to reach a place ready for woodland learning. Larch Group have asked to have a Silent Spot session next week as we seem to have been so busy that we haven’t managed it recently.
Year 5 enjoyed a very busy day in the woods today. The weather was the coldest so far this year, but most were wrapped up warmly and really didn’t notice the cold.
The first task involved co-operation, patience, perseverance and communication. One group helped Wren light the main fire while the rest organised themselves to light Kelly kettles. Between them, they recalled the advice and instructions from last week: gathering and organising fuel, setting up the fire site and filling the kettles. However, before filling the kettles, the group had to solve the problem of the frozen water tap.
Each group worked really hard to light their Kelly kettle. They persisted with the task...and Mayfly also had a go. One group was finally successful; boiling a kettle full of water. Two other groups transferred their kettles to the first fire bowl so we ended up with plenty of hot water.
Meanwhile a small but determined team cleared the pile of brash from behind the kitchen area and added it to the deadwood hedge.
The children were rewarded with hot chocolate and a biscuit for their efforts.
Birch group also enjoyed hot drinks while they spent time making camps at opposite ends of the woods.
The children are becoming noticeably more independent and adventurous and are rapidly developing their risk assessment skills; they are also more able to make the correct behaviour choices and becoming better at self-regulation.
Tawny Owl is encouraging all groups to become increasingly independent in their choice of activity and in the running of their sessions; we are therefore moving away from set times for refreshment and the children are deciding for themselves when they stop for drinks. When/if they do, they are managing this with little adult help (there is always adult supervision for the handling of boiling water/kettles).
Hippos enjoyed a wonderful day in the woods again today. The weather was chilly but everyone wrapped up warmly and as a result everyone had fun.
We began with a story, then went on a a wormhunt, climbed, ran, jumped and laughed.
Have a look at the photos and video to see what they have been learning.
Hippos had a great first session in the woods on Thursday. Have a look at the video and the photos and see what they were up to.