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Exciting Times in the Garden

Submitted by tawnyowl on Thursday, October 4, 2018 - 17:08

Tawny Owl and Wren received an exciting parcel yesterday.

Our veg plants had arrived. The label on the box suggested we needed to unpack them urgently, but we decided to put them in a cool place for the night.

Tawny Owl was back at school early today, so she could settle herself in the greenhouse with some white trays and carefully unpack the treasure within! We had been sent so many plants; she had to be careful to make sure we didn’t lose the labels. She sorted them into trays of salad, brassicas, etc.

Have a look at the photos to see how many plants we received!

Willow group then spent the morning planting out the little plants. They dug a small hole which they then put some worm cast fertilizer in, followed by the tiny plants. They were then firmed down and watered. Finally, we put some netting over the top, to stop the pigeons from munching our veg before it has a chance to grow.

While we were learning, Hippos came over to find out what we had been doing. They were very enthusiastic and particularly loved learning about worms (and worm poo).

The group also finished off weeding and preparing the raised beds at the front of the school.

Both groups were lucky to have the opportunity to eat some delicious apples which Eva had picked for us from her farm. They were beautiful, shiny and rosy red.

Field Maple group also helped today. They worked hard to finish clearing Stump Central in the woods, so we can (hopefully) return next week. They added to the deadwood hedge supervised by Oak, and also did a great job of picking up all the small sticks in Stump Central, with the help of Wren, Truffle and Tawny Owl. Everything is beginning to look much tidier and Tawny Owl is feeling really optimistic about the learning we can get underway ’back at camp’.

12th October is National Forest School Day, and although we will not be in Forest School on that day, Tawny Owl would love to celebrate by being back in our original space, having a fire again, and cooking popcorn (October is also Popcorn Popping Month), as well as celebrating with hot chocolate!

Anyone who has ever helped at FS is welcome to join us next week for a short while to help us celebrate (Monday, Wednesday or Thursday). Just let Tawny Owl know so she can make sure we co-ordinate transport.

Hard Work is Fun!

Submitted by tawnyowl on Wednesday, October 3, 2018 - 16:52

Both year four groups really enjoyed working on the deadwood hedge today. They moved a lot of brash to clear Stump Central, which is almost ready for us to move back.

We still need to wait for one more tree to be felled, which hopefully will happen before the end of this week.

The children enjoyed working really hard, and appreciated the feeling of working in a team to contribute to making our forest school area ready for us to use again. There was a discussion with Chestnut group this afternoon about what they might cook when we get the fire place up and running again! Some children enjoyed using a bow saw, Laplander saw or loppers.

It was warm in the woods, so there were lots of insects to be seen – spiders, wasps and other flying insects. Buzzard spotted an amazing caterpillar, which turned out to be the caterpillar of the Pale Tussock Moth. The caterpillar was amazing but we were careful not to touch it, as hairy caterpillars can make us itchy.

Both groups only had a short period for play, but they were very understanding because they had had so much fun.

Hav a look at the class gallery for more pictures.

No Pens Day

Submitted by class2 on Wednesday, October 3, 2018 - 16:06

We have had a wondeful day today - and all the pencils remained in pots and in pencil cases!  Have a look at our collage to see what we have been getting up to!  I think No Pens day was a successful and we will definately do it again....

No Pens Day Wednesday

Submitted by class3 on Wednesday, October 3, 2018 - 16:00

Today, year 3 took part in no pens day Wednesday. This is a day suggested by the communication trust to improve speech and language within schools. We began our day with making videos/presentations showing how to do column method addition for our maths lesson. This really encourages children to think about what they are doing, and the best way to learn is to teach it to someone else!

Next, we looked at breaking a word up into its individual syllables to learn how to spell them correctly. We used some of the year 3 statutory words as these can be quite tricky. Within no time, most of the class could spell long words like accidentally!

Before lunch we then did some shared writing, where each child would think of the next part of a story, and Mrs Wyatt typed it up for us. It was great to see how we can use our imagination and listening skills to add extra details to a story.

After lunch we did art and PE - two things that don't need pens! But in P.E we tried to better our communication skills by playing a team game.


A wonderful day all round - we'd love to do it again!

Hedge Building

Submitted by tawnyowl on Monday, October 1, 2018 - 19:18

Year 6 carried out further work on rebuilding the deadwood hedge today.

However, they seemed to find it difficult to appreciate the learning involved, unlike year 3 last Thursday. After each session we discussed the learning.

Whitebeam Group were shown how to use loppers and saws safely and enjoyed using them to create a very neat section of hedge.

Some children worked really hard on the task, while others spent a lot of time doing very little. Needless to say the children who worked hard enjoyed their session while those who didn’t were less enthusiastic about their learning today.

Building a Hedge

Submitted by tawnyowl on Friday, September 28, 2018 - 11:29

Year 3 had an amazing day in the woods today.

They began their sessions by working really hard to move some of the brash from the area where the tree surgeons have been taking down the dangerous trees. It was fabulous to see some children really taking a lead, supporting their friends and managing the arranging of the material so it created a good hedge. Other children were involved in using their strength to gather the material for others to drag. Some worked well in pairs; even making a great game out of the task.

Everybody worked hard to drag branches from the woods up to the footpath to add to the deadwood hedge which is beginning to show signs of wear.

When we were talking about the learning at the end of the session, Oliver declared that it was a fun activity and he had really enjoyed it because he learned that you can make a game using your imagination out of a task – they were witches and wizards and rode their branches like broomsticks. Others thought it was good because they liked the feeling of being helpful, while others still said they had enjoyed it because they felt they had a ‘workout’.

Both groups then had time to play; some had a go at playing conkers, while another group enjoyed making a ‘Bigtopia’.

Have a look at the class gallery to see more of the photos.

More Conkers!

Submitted by tawnyowl on Wednesday, September 26, 2018 - 17:06

Holly group began their session finishing off the task which Year 6 began on Monday. In spite of their size, they managed to move a lot of lovely topsoil into the raised beds ready for the vegetable plants. They also did a fantastic job of sweeping up afterwards.

We then travelled to the woods where the children enjoyed playing in the sunshine. Some helped sorting some large boxes of conkers which Monty’s mum had sent us. We ended up with a bog basket full (and there were still some on the ‘reject’ pile which the children continued to find and play with.

Many of the children worked really well as a team, showing amazing perseverance to push down a dead tree they found. They learnt about using levers, and also ensured everyone’s safety.

Chestnut Group unfortunately took a long time getting ready today, so they had a shorter time in the woods. However, they settled to their learning really quickly. One group managed to disturb some wasps which meant a couple of children were stung (as well as Tawny Owl, who was removing the wasp from some clothing). The boys were really brave and soon settled to playing happily again.

Tawny Owl then organised a game of Blindfolded Caterpillar – this involved trust and taking risks, which some of the children found challenging. The group discussed afterwards how they felt – they felt anxious, frightened, scared and worried. They also found it rather disorientating moving through the woods unable to see. However, they all overcame these feelings and gained a sense of achievement. The leader and the person at the end had to use their skills in spoken communication to convey the dangers the caterpillar as it travelled through the woods.

Have a look at the year 4 gallery for more lovely pictures.


Submitted by tawnyowl on Monday, September 24, 2018 - 17:30

Today Whitebeam Group began their session working really hard to move the compost/topsoil from the bulk bag outside the back gate to the raised beds. They took it in turns to load, wheel and dig the soil into the beds to improve the contents ready for the winter vegetables.

They did an amazing job and it didn’t take as long as Tawny Owl thought it would.

We then went down to the woods. The children then helped to set up the area for our sessions. We had a look at all the results of the tree surgery which has been going on since last week. They have done an amazing job and an awful lot of unsafe wood has been felled. It has really opened up the canopy which has meant more light can filter through allowing plants in the understorey to grow. We noticed lots of birds flitting around in the undergrowth.

There is still a little more to do before we can begin clearing and tidying.

Do have a look at the photos to see what has been happening.

The children then enjoyed their own learning. Oscar had requested last week that we play conkers, so many children enjoyed choosing their conkers from the basket that Tawny Owl had collected, drilling holes using soft wooed drills and Conker Clamps. The difficult part for everyone was threading the string through and tying a knot.

Then the rules of the game were explained and was enjoyed by children and adults alike.

There are more pictures on the class 6 gallery.

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).

Changes happening in the woods

Submitted by tawnyowl on Wednesday, September 19, 2018 - 16:39

Year 4 enjoyed a varied day in the woods today. As on Monday, we were camped at the other end of the woods – now aptly named ‘Plan B’ by Sam.

We spent a while on arrival ensuring that everyone knew about the new, temporary boundaries which had been put into place as Fernshire Tree Services (Rob Twyman and friends) were busy clearing the dangerous trees today. We heard lots of chainsaw noise over the rustle of the trees (it was a little windy today, but not too windy fortunately).

The children then enjoyed free learning time. The activities were varied – some made shelters for animals, shelters for themselves and the wolves, there was a game involving lots of recall of the facts about WWI (this contained a lot of negotiation and discussion about rules of the game), one group made a rainbow stick using lots of different coloured leaves which was beautiful. Chestnut Group welcomed Phoebe and Tyler who enjoyed looking for chestnuts and insects. The minibeasts they found included a stripy snail, centipede and spider. One group also found a tiny Toad.

Holly group played a game of Plant Duplication which involved Tawny Owl revealing some leaves for the children to look at (which dragonfly had collected earlier in the session), and then she covered them up. In groups, the children then went off to see if they could find a leaf from the same species of tree. They did really well, but realised that they needed to look really closely at the leaves e.g. several groups found Ash leaves and thought they were the same as Rowan, so realised when they looked closely that the leaves of Rowan are serrated, darker and smaller than Ash leaves.

The sessions today were happy and calm, in spite of the fact that it was a little windy on the other side of the hill.

At the end of each session, Tawny Owl walked the children carefully to our Stump Central area (having checked and agreed a time with the tree surgeon), so the children could see the changes. Holly group could not see Stump Central at all, there was so much brash around. However, by 2.45pm, this had been almost cleared. It has made the area so much lighter. We can’t wait for it to be finished.

Have a look at the gallery on the year 4 pages for more pictures.


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