We played a new game today which involved taking our boots and socks off and walking like a fox - the aim was to walk so silently that we couldn't be heard. Most of the children were happy to take off their boots and socks and we discussed how the ground felt as we stalked across the woodland floor. Tawny Owl was really proud of the children as they listened carefully and tried the exercises very sensibly. We discovered that by walking like a fox, we were able to feel if there were thorns on the ground before putting the weight on our feet; thereby avoiding sore feet!
We practised the /f/ sound, by making sure we were biting our bottom lips! We came up with lots of words beginning with /f/: fox, forest, fire, foot, feet, flowers.
The children then had to search for a tree with an /s/ marked in chalk on it, and get to know it. Tawny Owl went round telling everyone a little bit about their tree, and the children enjoyed trying to help each other and compared their trees with each other. One pair even found a fairy hole in their trees.
Later on in the session, we used our 'fox walking' and our trees for silent spot. Hornbeam group had an amazing Silent Spot; some children chose to complete a charcoal drawing whilst sitting at their tree, and showed amazing maturity as they drew foxes and trees.
Other activities today were: tree climbing, playing in the hammocks, playing in the 'mud kitchen', and finding and collecting Hawthorn flowers for making a delicious tea (Henry sauggested it smelled like old hay, but we decided it tasted much better than that. Juniper thought it tasted like Lavender tea). Alder group had a shorter time, so they had nettle tea again. We decided the tea tasted differently to last week and that this was due to the plants maturing.
Here are a few photos...do have a look at the class gallery to see what a happy day we had.
What a very busy day today!
Larch group began by gathering timber for cutting and splitting to put in the woodshed. They worked incredibly hard to find appropriate wood - even pushing down a couple of small dead but standing trees! Not only that but then gathering a team of people to carry it back to the Forest School area for cutting.
They then willingly cut the timber and split it. Meanwhile another group were emptying the woodshed so that it could be sorted and restacked.
Everyone worked incredibly hard.
When they weren't helping with this task, they played in the hammocks, or built amazing shelters, climbed trees, or sat and did some weaving. Tawny Owl had bought a couple of Bushcraft magazines and a story 'Weslandia' (which she read to Larch group), which some of the children had a look at.
Birch group did not need to gather timber, but still enjoyed working hard to help prepare it for the woodshed.
This group enjoyed the hammocks, as well as composing some woodland music; watch this space, as they proclaimed they would be making an album!
Tawny Owl is in the process of putting together a video of the day; she will let you know when it appears on this blog.
Meanwhile have a look at the photos below; there will be more on the class 4 gallery.
Year 4 had a very wet day today. Mrs Omer (aka Beetle) joined us today; she seemed to really enjoy spending time outside with her class, even though it was very wet all day.
It was Goldcrest's birthday and therefore Larch group had Peach pudding, which seemed to go down really well; there wasn't much left!
Tawny Owl worked with a group of children making bows and arrows. They were taught how to tie a clove-hitch (which we linked with handwriting a double 'e'), and reminded how to use knives safely to make a point on their arrows; they had progressed from using scout knives to larger Mora knives as their hands are larger this year. They then chose something to write on their arrows linked with forgiveness.
Bumble bee was sporting a spectacular dressing on her finger as a reminder of how we should take our time when using knives!
Birch group arrived in a particularly heavy downpour and it was decided to not try cooking as time was short. Several children arrived dressed inappropriately for the weather (no waterproofs, and/or not enough warm layers), so we went for a tree adventure to keep everyone warm. Tawny Owl showed the group some trees and talked a little bit about each one and how to identify them. We looked at Horse Chestnut, Hornbeam, Beech, Holly, Rowan, Oak and Cherry. One of the most exciting observations was a pool of foam at the bottom of a cherry tree. We traced it to water running down the trunk from the canopy and mixing with alkalis on the way down causing the foam.
When we returned to Stump Central the children noticed the same thing happening on a Hornbeam.
Here are a few photos - have a look at the class gallery for more.
Last Thursday 26th April, Emily Hanna came in to teach us all about the art of storytelling. The day began with assemblies for KS1 and KS2. Both assemblies were amazing and children had a wonderful time. We learnt about how to tell stories using different voices, actions, narration and emotions. These qualities really bring stories to life.
Each class then had their own workshop which again, was outstanding. Year 5s learnt a Viking Tale, Year 3s learnt about pirates and Year 6s heard a ghost story. These experiences really inspired the children to get involved and join in with her storytelling and will help us all in the future.
Overall it was a great day!
Year 2 had a wonderful day learning in the woods today.
They climbed trees and had a go at making shelters. Ratty showed the children how to create some woodland art, and Tawny Owl, Goldcrest, Blossom and Cuckoo worked together with Eva and Sebastian to begin creating a music stand. Thank you to Blossom who took the xylophone bars home to drill as using the brace and bit was really hard work, although Eva persevered to drill a hole in one of the bars with Goldcrest and Blossom's help, even though the wood was really hard.
Field Maple group sat quietly when they arrived, trying to see if the Thrush would visit it's babies in the nest in the Ash tree to feed them. Sadly the children did not see this happen as they were so keen to go and play! They all ran around playing noisily before settling down to make a see-saw, which the children enjoyed, and worked together to ensure everyone had a happy and safe time.
Tawny Owl showed the children a wood wasp nest which she found in the shed. Lily explained very well how the wasp makes the paper to create it's nest.
We had lovely weather today, although Field Maple groups had to rush to put their coats on when we had a heavy April shower.
Have a look at the class gallery to see more photos.
What a wonderful day with year 4 today!
It is over 18 months since this group were in the woods, but an independent observer wouldn’t have known this.
Following an excellent period of time around the fire circle, when both groups explained the safety boundaries quickly and efficiently, and an explanation about how the ‘new’ hand washing facilities work, the children settled to learning remarkably quickly.
Within a short time, we saw some amazing creations being developed in the woodland.
The children demonstrated their ability to learn independently, with little or no adult input. Some amazing shelters were built, a zip-wire put up, role play began, lashings and knots were learned, music was played and one group enjoyed our very simple mud kitchen for a short while.
At the end of each session we had a period of time to think about learning; and what a variety of points were discussed!
Amongst all participants (adults and children) we learned how:
- To tie knots
- To put up a tarp successfully
- Working as a team, speeds up a task, and helps everyone learn new skills
- To resolve disputes
- Consideration of others
- Tidying up can be as entertaining as the activity
- That rope can burn skin
It was true April weather with sunshine and showers, but a beautiful spring day in the woodland.
This was the first session that this group of children had had since Spring Term 2017, so all the children found it tricky to remember the boundaries. However, they soon entered into the spirit and began to acclimatise to the wonderful spring woodland.
Both groups played beautifully - climbing trees (which showed how much they had grown), running around, playing hide and seek, making shelters as well as water play (making the most wonderful concoctions).
We heard a buzzard, wrens, and possibly a black cap; saw lots of bumblebees (and talked about where they nest, etc.) and orange tip butterflies.
The children were all happy and relaxed and returned to school already looking forward to next week.
Hornbeam Group had time for silent spot at the end, which they found a little tricky with their wriggly legs, but we thought we should persevere and have another go next week. Unfortunately Alder Group ran out of time, but we will begin with Silent Spot next week.
Here are a few photos - have a look on the class gallery for more photos.
What can I say! What a wonderful evening was had by all yesterday at our third Arts Festival. Our school motto is 'Enjoy Achieve Together' and last night certainly was an example of this. It was so lovely to see the whole school community, parents, children, governors and of course the stars of the show 'children' coming together to provide an evening of entertainment, fun, laughter and celebration. This year the event was opened by an amazing performance from Emily Allen (known to you as Mrs Mckay who is an actress in her own right)-she certainly set the bar high! This was then followed by a showcase of a wide range of talent by children from the full breadth of the school, an ex pupil Charlotte Ensor, Mr Golledge (a music producer and teacher and parent) and a surprise appearance from Wonder Woman! All the acts received a rapturous applause from a full house of performer's family, friends and members of staff. The evenings proceedings were masterfully led by the schools Arts Council as the audience enjoyed performances ranging from instrumental, to modern dance, to poetry recitals, to the school Choir and forgetting the Staff SClub 8. Thank you to Ella for doing Lighting, Jake for the Sound and the PTFA for providing refreshments during the interval, indeed the evening was a truly magnificent affair, with children and parents beaming from ear to ear. Video to follow!
Alongside the celebration we made a presentation acknowledging the outstanding contribution to the Arts by one of our children. The Lindsay Roberts Arts Award recognises talent, commitment and aspiration towards achievement in the Arts, be it at performance level of something someone has simply done for joy. Congratulations to Gemma Brassley who was awarded the "Lindsay Roberts" Arts Award for 2018.
Her love of drama began with the school nativity plays in KS1 and she has participated in the drama club productions. She had her first major part last year, playing Prospero in her class production of The Tempest at the Shakespeare School Festival at the Trinity Theatre in Tunbridge Wells. Mr Gilder describe his experience of working with Gemma:
“Gemma was a true leader by example when Year 5 rehearsed and performed The Tempest at the end of last year. I particularly remember one rehearsal, about two weeks in, when we were sitting in a circle going through the play and got to the final scene, in which Gemma's character had most of the lines and was responsible for tying up all the loose ends of what is Shakespeare's most complex play. Robin didn't have her script with her, so Gemma said she could borrow hers but asked Robin to keep it open so if she forgot any lines she could look down and see them. She proceeded to deliver all her lines crisply and clearly, with a total understanding of the script. When we finished the whole of the Year 5 cast were silent and just looked at her in astonishment. Then they clapped her. It was a great moment for Gemma but also for the rest of the children because it made them really believe in each other and that they really could do Shakespeare. So, when it came to writing this scene for the Arts Festival I knew I needed to stretch Gemma. I deliberately wrote her a character that firstly sits and listens which is a vital discipline for actors to perfect. Then she had the big wordy difficult speech towards the end that I knew she would relish.”
Gemma is also an enthusiastic and committed member of the school choir and has enjoyed two trips to the O2 as well as performances at the Summer fetes and church services. This year I am sure you would agree that she flourished in delivering her first solo performance to you this evening. She has singing lessons with Kent Music at school and will be taking her Grade One exam this Summer.
She is also a member of the Kilndown Youth Choir meeting every Saturday morning. Her choir master, Julian Wells says "Gemma is a truly inspirational member of the Kilndown Community Choir. She has a beautiful singing voice, incredible musicality for her age and an ability to really engage her audience. Her ability to learn all of the words is also legendary! She inspires all of her fellow choir members, both children and adults and is such an asset to the choir." She has performed at several concerts and sang her first solo at the Advent Family Service in Christ Church.
Don't worry if you missed it, click on the video to find out more.
....and a memorable finale to this years' Arts' Festival - S Club 8 hit the stage.
Almost year 6's last ever Forest School Session.
They planted tree seeds for their buddies - the idea being that the seeds will be germinated and growing before the end of the year, when year 6 will hand them on to their buddies in YR, who will then nurture them throughout their time at Goudhurst and Kilndown; planting out when large enough.
'Poetree' was composed, practised and performed. Friendship and teamwork was a key theme to today's sessions.
Leon and Jack were noticed especially for all their hard work in composing, practising and performing their poem as well as finding and transporting LARGE pieces of timber for cutting for the fire. Well done boys!
Look at the year 6 gallery for more photos, and watch this space for a video of their poetry.
English open morning was an amazing success! Each class took part in different grammar, punctuation, spelling, phonics, reading and writing activities.
Among the many activities were year 5 doing poetry and dance, year 3 doing 'contraction surgery' and year 6 using the outside classroom to do 'banksy punctuation'
Brilliant all round!
Thank you to all those parents who were able to join us.