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Forest School Blog

Posted on Jan 4, 2018

Thursday 4th January 2018

Due to the recent wet weather and high winds Lilac class had their Forest School session in the school grounds this week. We learned about fire safety how to start a fire with flint and steels. The children experimented with using cotton wool, Vaseline, silver birch bark, char cloth and King Alfred’s cake. They showed great ‘Growth Mindset’ approaches to this and persevered with the task (it was extremely windy, so they had to work together to use their bodies to provide shelter), creating lots of small fires, so are ready to put this into practice next time we go to the woods!

Using the hazel they had cut last time, the children perfected their whittling skills, using the new amphitheatre in the playground, to continue to develop their arrows. They worked sensibly, safely and with increasing independence.

There was also time for a bit of balancing on the trim trail, along with puddle jumping and we finished with a class game of pare, scissors stone! Well done to all of the children for showing such engagement, persistence, patience and sense of fun! Another great Thursday afternoon!

Thursday 14th December 2017

It was really cold, so we spent a long time wrapping up warm before we left.

We sang our ‘Christmas Candle’ song from this year’s Nativity play….what a lovely spot in the winter sunshine for a last minute rehearsal.

 

We found some fungus called ‘King Alfred’s Cake’ on a fallen log and collected it. We looked at the pattern inside of the fungus, which is like the rings of a tree. It is brilliant for holding an ember, so we saved it to help us light fires another time at Forest School.

We learned to use a bow saw to cut rounds of hazel.

 

We then used a bit and brace drill to drill holes and make our rounds of hazel into necklaces and pendants. We are going to decorate them later.

 

At the end of our session, we all shared what we had enjoyed; listening carefully to each other’s ideas. And we talked about what we would like to do next time we are in the woods. The children mainly wanted to learn to use more tools and to continue to climb and balance on the slack line. They also want to have a go at playing recorders! A great end to the year in the woods, well done Willow class!

 

Thursday 7th December 2017
It poured with rain on the way to the woods and we had so much fun in water and jumping off styles into puddles and cheering everyone on as they splashed! The rain came down so hard at one point that we couldn’t hear each other talking!

 

We saw the water flowing down the hill and then off into the river and talked about the water cycle and precipitation!

 

Once we got to the woods we looked at some different trees and learned a bit about ivy, silver birch and oak trees.

 

The children made some dens together and want to do some more of this next time.

 

The children found their own rope and tied it onto some logs to try to move logs to make themselves a playground. The children used other long pieces of wood to try to lever some of the large logs to move them. They tied their own knots and made themselves a see saw!

 

The children used loppers to cut up bamboo and then thread it onto strings to make some necklaces, it was harder work than it looked, but they were great at learning how to persevere and use tools safely. They also discovered they could make the bamboo into whistles by blowing through the holes!

 

 

Some of the children had a go at using the saw horse to cut up wood.

 

And of course there was time for some balancing and climbing on the slack line! Well done Cherry class for braving the December weather and being so enthusiastic and creative with your ideas and sense of fun!

 

 

 

Thursday 30th November 2017

It started snowing before we left, which meant momentary excitement and a good reason to dress up warm with hats, gloves and two pairs of socks. Maple Class were BRILLIANT at getting themselves ready for our wintry adventure.

 

 

We cut and collected some willow and ivy along the Forest Way, to take to school to make wreaths with at the Christmas Fair on Saturday.

 

We found some Oak apples on some Oak leaves on our adventure, along with some badger tracks, snail shells, crab apples and muddy tracks.

 

We learned how to stay safe around a fire by sitting carefully on logs. Then we had a go at using flint and steels to make sparks to start the fire….it was really tricky, but we did it and had a toasty fire to warm ourselves and eat our snacks around.

Warming our hands!

 

What a fantastic time, well done Maple Class for such an enjoyable adventure on such a cold day!

 

Thursday 23rd November 2017

Lilac class were lucky to have sharp sunshine for their Forest School session. They thought about verbs throughout the session and spent the afternoon learning how to use tools safely. They used bow saws. Folding saws, penknives and peelers to whittle, saw, cut and peel various thicknesses of wood. Some children used their tool skills to create elder necklaces, some whittled arrows and Mr Wood made a bow!

Thursday 16th November 2017

This week Willow class had their Forest School session in the school grounds. We learned how to use saws safely to cut elder sticks. The insides are all soft, so we used another stick to poke out the pith in the middle and then put charcoal (made by Cherry class) into the holes to make elder pens.

Selecting the right diameter charcoal to fit the pencil

 

The children learned to use gloves on their bracing hands, to protect them and supported each other when holding their elder steady whist cutting it to the length of a pen.

Once the charcoal was in the elder pen, the children had a go at writing with them and some decided to try to make clay pencils…

 

 

Willow also had a go at adorning our trees in the playground with clay faces…they showed such individual and creative ideas to create characterful sculptures……come and have a look at them……as they may not last long!

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday 9th November 2017

Walking to the woods with Cherry class…We had another lovely adventure today, and despite a bit of drizzle earlier in the day, it turned out to be another dry, Autumn day…

Clambering over styles…

Using soft, furry hazel leaves to clean our hands…

Taking on the challenge of the slack line…

Mastering the slack line…

We cut willow from the woods and packed it into tins to make charcoal, by burning it without air, for our drawing at school the next day….

We watched the white smoke coming out of the hole in the top of the tin…

Digging together, we found red coloured roots…

And we found worms!

Moving wood to create dens together!

And of course we found time to play and sculpt with clay again!

Thursday 2nd November 2017 – Maple Class

Another gloriously sunny Autumn day and the class set off for the woods once again. We played 1,2,3,change tree on the village croft, where we had to run to reach another tree by the end of a countdown, practising out counting and taking away.

We walked together along the narrow pathway and spotted lots of sheep and a tractor.

The class met a troll at the bridge and threw lots of leaves at him after he shouted” Who’s that trip, trapping over my bridge”….it turned out it to be Mr Wood!

We read the story of ‘A Bear’s Winter House’ and had a go at building our own houses. The children used clay and sticks with their constructions. They also found some moss, which the bear had used in the story to sleep on and to plug up drafty gaps in his house.

Lots of fun was had playing on the slack line. Initially the children said that they couldn’t climb up on to the rope, but very quickly their resilience and independence shone through and they were climbing and wobbling along the line with laughter, confidence and enjoyment.

 

Thursday 19th October 2017 – Lilac Class

Lilac were amazing! What a great bunch of children to take to the woods!

We walked wonderfully well and arrived in plenty of time to find some fly agaric mushrooms and others growing on the fallen, rotting tree stumps in the woods.

We put up a slack line and balance rope, and the children worked out their own rules of how to use it and support each other. They helped each other to clinb up onto the rope and had a lot of fun, balancing and bouncing!

There was some amazing clay work, sculpture, mortar making, mixing,
digging and creating, which led to the idea of maybe making your own kiln in the woods….we are going to try to start this next time we go!

Some great tree climbing and den building was observed and the children wanted to extend this next time, so we will learn to use some tools to help cut more wood for our projects and maybe have a go at weaving and whittling also.

Finally Mrs Banks would be proud, that the children have taken their learning outside the classroom and created a Borrowers House in the wood. Complete with a leaf thatched roof and with some homemade clay built steps! Beautiful!

Well done to lovely Lilac, you were so full of enthusiasm and engagement. Again, as alway, another thank you to the volunteers- not only helping make it all happen and getting involved with all the activities, but it looked like they were all enjoying it as much as the children!

 

 

Thursday 12th October 2017 – Willow Class

Willow had a wonderful time in the woods, they learned to identify some trees along the Forest Way- the hawthorn, the Wellingtonia, the oak and the Hazel.

They loved exploring the woodland and found some Fly agaric mushrooms.

Using clay some children managed to make their own mortar, to fix joists onto an oak tree root to be a roof for a fairy house, some built a den together that they could sit in, which had their own seating logs and even a charcoaled log as a fireplace!

There was lots of clay sculpture on the trees and the children really showed their imaginations and creative ideas, which was wonderful to witness.

 

 

 

 

Thursday 5th October 2017 – Cherry Class

We collected Autumn leaves. Then we melted beeswax and dipped the leaves into the melted wax to preserve them.

It was lots of fun investigating underneath logs, we used trowels to dig and found lots of mini beasts, including worms, woodlice and beetles.

We rolled the logs with our feet to look for minibeasts

We mixed clay with sticks and with our hands1 Some children made pictures on trees, some painted on paper, and some loved the sensory exploration of how the clay felt!

Using our clay on the tree

Eating a snack in the woods. We learned about how to sit in a circle and use the space safely.

Thursday 28th September 2017 – Maple Class

Getting ready to leave, Maple Class were brilliant at getting themselves ready for their first Forest School adventure!

 

We played woodland whispers on the Town Croft under the large tree.

 

A quick game of ‘Sparrowhawk’ in the meadow….pretending to be small mice, rabbits and hedgehogs and trying to escape from the predator by freezing as still as we could.

 

We counted cows in the distant field from the gate.

The puddles were fun and so were the tracks we spotted on the railway line.

We mixed some clay and painted the old oak tree with it!

We climbed stile

We sat under the shelter in the woods and then had a little explore.

We had our afternoon snack in the woods and learned how to wash our hands when we are out in the wild!

 

Academic Year 2016-2017

What a brilliant afternoon in the sunshine and Autumn shade of the trees. Maple class were amazing adventurers and spent all afternoon chatting to each other about what they were doing, what they could see, where they had been on adventures before and what they wanted to do in the future. Thank you to all of them, their parents for the support with their kit and collection and to our brilliant volunteers who helped make it all possible! Can’t wait until next time!

 

 

Tuesday 4th July 2017

A pig face made from the mud badgers dug out of their sett

Busy, busy, busy in the woods today…the clay courtesy of the badgers was brilliant and it was sculpted into a wolf today, which led to a team of intrepid explorers… the children used bow saws to cut rounds and then drilled holes to create pendants, and other creative pieces of handicraft to be decorated next week…. the small people at playschool learned some bird calls whilst playing listening games and followed tracks to go on a badger adventure… it’s all good in the wood x

Wooden pendants

Tuesday 27th June 2017

Today we dug our own soil and mixed our own clay… the children were brilliant, lots of creativity, storytelling, characterisation, science. We’re doing more with it next week and making our own paint!

Green Man crafted from mud, leaves and twigs

 

 

A small selection of the beautiful masks made by Cherry class today

Green Men decorating the oak tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20th June 2017

Well today was one of the hottest! How hot is hot?

It is mid summer after all. We were lucky to have the opportunity to spend the morning under the cover of dappled hazel and oak leaves…to celebrate the solstice we prepared our own elderflower lemonade. The children chopped lemons and tore up mint and elderflowers before taking turns mixing it with water and sugar… meanwhile others lit the fire with wood they had independently collected, amazing to see such perseverance with flint and steels, so another none-match fire by the year ones- skills!

Whilst we were watching the bubbling pot some of the children initiated some sawing, such great enthusiasm for learning to use tools… some of them used them to make butterflies on sticks, some played tapping music with them and some just were in the zone sawing…

We checked out the badgers set and talked about the soil which is clay rich, so we’re definitely going to dig some up next week and have a go at modelling and creating with it…

We took our time ambling back along the shaded railway line and came up with some ideas of an adventure for next week, maybe to explore the woods further or go an investigate the river….

Thanks to all for a lovely midsummers day, can’t wait till the next time

 

13th June 2017

Flutterbies

Phonics Hoopla Logs

Making marks with charcoal

Phonics in the woods, making hazel frisbees to throw at our phonics hoopla logs, then making symmetrical flutterbies, to flutter through woods and meadows and back to school for lunch

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday 6th June

No adventures in the woods today, garden shade and basketball hoop down, and just heard of a tree down on the forest way, so a safe morning inside to be had by all… lets hope the blue skies return soon

 

 

23rd May 2017

Butterfly at Sawpit Woods

Blue Skies!

Making Charcoal

What a fun morning, spotting butterflies, looking for worms under logs, six independent fire lighting six year olds, making and eating popcorn in newspaper cones, measuring sticks, making ‘ilex’ holly wands with peelers, checking out the badgers den, balancing on a slack line, running as fast as we can, admiring buttercups, making giant spheres of sticky weed, enjoying the warmth of the sun, making our own rhythms with sticks and our feet and making it back to school in time for lunch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

18th May 2017, Outdoor Classroom Day

So much rain today!

A rainy, squidgy end to the day, but what a fantastic, magically brilliant time was had by all. ” Beat school trip ever”- William….. a massive thank you to all involved in the day and all those behind the sciences who have helped make it happen… you know who you are! …to be repeated soon hopefully , and to the kids today… you smashed it! Welcome rain and blue skies to all

 

 

 

2nd May 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A brilliant first day in the woods with a fantastic bunch of children… we spotted badger tracks, listened out for the woodpecker, marvelled at holes in trees, found some wild marshmallows and glittery tree stumps , tapped some sticks, cut and peeled our own tapping sticks, sang some songs, whispered about the woods, climbed some trees, gates and stiles, drew with some charcoal, lifted some logs, made a home for some rabbits, drunk some peppermint tea, swerved some bluebells, blew some whistles, played games with foxes, rabbits and sparrowhawks and ambled it back to school in time for lunch. Skies of blue to you all