On a lovely warm Autumn day I had year six out helping year 2 with their circuits activities on the field. They showed skill, patience and genuine interest in helping the younger children to achieve. Well done year six ( and year 2!)
Sadly this was Mouse’s last session with us until the summer. We have really appreciated her giving up her valuable time to volunteer with us in the woods again. We will miss her calm, quiet cheerfulness, sense of humour and wonderful ideas.
You will see from the pictures that she celebrated with slap up lunch today!
Year 6 got stuck in with all sorts of tasks today: continuing to dig the trench for the willow, which we hope will be in a growing vigorously by the time they return to the woods in June, washing some Lime bark and hanging it out to dry, ready for making cord, making cooking sticks, and making and cooking damper bread and eating it with frankfurters or honey.
There were mixed feelings as we returned to school: disappointment that this was the final session of the term, but excitement that there is something to look forward to later in the school year before they move onto secondary school.
Year four had slightly shortened sessions today due to their workshop for World Mental Health Day with Jenny Langley. It was a beautiful day - we heard and saw buzzards, robins, and wrens. The children found frogs and we also watched several large but amazing hornets flying down the 'ride' created in the woods by the tree clearance. The sun shone through the trees creating beautiful sunbeams.
Tawny Owl decided that as they had worked so hard over the last few weeks to rebuild the deadwood hedge, plant our vegetables etc. they deserved to have a true Forest School session. Those that wished to continue to help out began digging a trench so we can plant a willow screen around the tree bog. This provided a detailed study on worms, along with perfecting the technique of digging.
Wren and Dragonfly set themselves the task of redesigning and making a new ‘tippy tap’ structure, which Phoebe and Tyler helped with after lunch. The rest of the group played hard in the dens they had made in previous weeks.
Dragonfly created a beautiful picture using autumn leaves. Do you recognise any of the leaves?
Wren also learned about how to use a Kelly Kettle from Tawny Owl.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Our Forest School is evolving. We are endeavouring to increase the variety of learning this year (First Class Opportunities to Respond to and Explore our Surroundings Together). Time in the woods encompassing the Forest School ethos will be at the core of our sessions, but we are now aiming to include a wider variety of settings and learning to complement our curriculum.
Following a fun, warm up game of Beetle Tag, year 6 began their term’s sessions with a busy and sometimes challenging set of activities – they began the huge task of preparing our raised beds for some serious autumn/winter vegetable gardening, willow weaving, litter picking, weeding and tidying the Peace Garden. They all took part with enthusiasm and several children realised how satisfying and calming gardening can be. It encouraged teamwork, and perseverance as well as providing an ideal opportunity to learn about plant structure and propagation.
Take a look at the class gallery page for more pictures of our busy day.