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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.

Bug Hunting and Fishing

Submitted by tawnyowl on Tuesday, July 3, 2018 - 17:54

Year one were saddened to be having their last session in the woods today. However, they made the most of every moment – searching for bugs (they found centipedes, beetles, slugs and lots of empty banded snail shells - which the children decided should be called 'Tiger Snails'), digging, ‘fishing’ (Jemima and Tilly 'cooked the fish they caught over a camp fire' - delicious), playing in the stream, looking at the nature books, playing in the hammocks and climbing trees.

Tawny Owl read the story about Scaredy Squirrel to both groups while Hedgehog acted it out with Scaredy Squirrel puppet .  Then there was time to talk about things which scare us, trying to make links with the story and realising that a lot of times we are scared of the ‘unknown’, and actually we are scared for little or no reason.

Miss Wilford visited for the first time, and thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon. Her Forest School name is Butterfly.

The adults observed excellent learning; particularly resilience, helping each other, and independence. We noticed today especially that the children manage their own stinging nettle stings without fussing, small injuries were just brushed off and everyone is becoming much more robust.  There are also far fewer requests for help from adults in many tasks.  Great progress!

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