Final Farwell 9/02/22
The sun shone on the final trip to the dene today and we all had a fantastic time.
Of course, we had to have a game in wolfie world but not before saying hello to Mustachio Pete the friendly horse. We were being shepherds at the time and had a good collection of shepherds sticks. We used our shepherd skills to call the horse over. To are amazement he came across! The little pigs in Wolfie World are getting fantastic at hiding so the game went on longer than normal but we finally made it to our Forest School site.
The wind of the last few weeks has had quite a dramatic effect upon the dene so we went over at a fallen tree. It was very interesting to look at all the roots that are underneath the tree. The space also made a great climb through.
I wanted to have a go at climbing along the fallen log so I gave the camera to a pupil. From that point on all the photos were taken by the children. I think they made a fantastic job.
Last week the children got a lot out of the exploring and using ropes that we did. This week we went to a different area. It is great fun to slide down and play tag up and down the ropes. It is great to hear the laughter and fun that the children have whilst developing a sense of their physical self. As always we let the children direct the learning so another group decided to stay with Mrs. Newton and put up the hammocks and do some making. This was great as by the time that the rope adventurers were ready to come down Mrs. Newton had put out the hot chocolate.
For the final week there was a bit of extra time in our quite spots. It is nice to hear the children request this space as it is one of my favourite times too. What a lovely way to end our Forest School time.
Amazing Rope Adventure 2/2/22
Well today turned into one of the most amazing days in Forest School history! It started out like any other ordinary trip to the dene; we collected the cart, found some turkish alder cones, said hello to the horses and then played in the World of Bulfie field. Where things started to go a bit different was after we had ran down the screaming hill. Instead of going up and over the shortcut we turned right down towards Newburn (stream). We then used ropes to help each other cross the slippery rocks. Some children did not have high wellies on, (always good to wear when in the dene,) so we had to use another rope to help make a bridge along a tree. Everybody got across Newburn safely. We looked up at the HUGE CLIFF OF DOOOOOOM. Right who is for going up? To my surprise everyone started off on the epic quest. One confident child scootered up with the rope, wrapped it around a tree then threw the other end down. Those less confident could use this to climb up. When we looked down it seemed to be much further than what we had climbed up. This is where I really like the Forest School ethos which puts a great emphasis upon the children making decisions about how they feel about their own behaviour. Some children decided to go down with Mrs. Newton. She took them back across the stream and when I checked seemed to be having an extra munch on the biscuits!
I talked to the other children and we made a plan of action, plotting out the best course to take. It was very hard to find the safest route but we used ropes, helped each other and finished the adventure all together. What an excellent Forest School group this is.
By the time we had all come back together it was time for hot chocolate and a biscuit, the second for some. We had a bit of time to play chase and tag. I wanted to make some nests for the birds that we could hear so got some helpers. They had some very good ideas about which leaves would be best.
In our quite time I was able to join in as we had not had time to get out any equipment. The warm weather is starting to have an effect on the birds as there was definitely more bird song this week. I hope we don’t have a cold snap like we did last year as I worry it could badly affect the fledglings. Fingers crossed.
Last week next week.
A walk to the Dene and Back 26/01/22
For the first time this term we had everybody with us for our walk into the dene. We were on a special mission to collect good sticks for den making. A good stick can be sometimes difficult to find as if it is too thin it will ben too much. On the other hand, a great big thick stick is hard to carry as it will be too heavy. Too long it will hit people as you move around, of course too short would be useless. Finding that just right stick is a skill and once found needs to be kept up.
On the way to the dene we took our usual side trip to Bulfie world as it is now called. I had found one of my old hats from Sierra Leone. It was a hunter’s hat, reputed to impart amazing powers. It certainly gave the wearer great finding and hiding skills.
We then found out that we had left important equipment behind at school. Never mind, we had already collected some great sticks so we loaded up the trolley and turned around to come back.
When we arrived at the Forest School site we had a Hot Chocolate to warm up, then chose what activities to do. I took the group who wanted to put up the hammocks. The children are progressing well with getting them out and making sure they are stretched enough. I think that pretty soon they will be doing it all themselves. Mrs. Newton stayed with the rest of the group and helped craft sticks and pipe cleaners. Everyone was very busy.
It was nice that at the end of the session all the children helped to pack up the things that they had been using.
Wood Work Den 19/01/22
This week, for a change, we decided to stay at the school’s Forest School site. The school site has a lot of advantages; we have longer outside, the children can do more activities, we can use paint and we can use the fire steels.
This week we had a go at pretty much everything! We got out the hammers and drills so that we could make things. I like the way that sometimes what you make can turn into something new so I started by making a hammer but it soon turned into a bird. I thought it would make a good robin but someone suggested it looked more like a woodpecker. This was good as I had heard my first woodpecker of the year yesterday. My model became a woody woodpecker.
A few children stayed with Mrs. Heslop while others came with me to set up a climbing rope. It got very complicated as we found a huge log that would make great fire wood but we would need another rope to get it back – few.
Next was setting up the hammocks. We have a lovely area just next to the dinner hall with great climbing trees that is also just right for hammocks. It is good to see that some children are starting to try and tie their own knots. It is always to test the knot first in case it gives up!
Some children started to collect wood for a fire. I had not mentioned anything about this but since we have all the things for chopping wood and setting a fire we all had a go with the fire steels. It is very hard to get a light but some children managed to get a light. I then attempted to get a fire going with the wood that had been collected, of course after all the rain this morning there was no way that it would take, a pity as I like a little fire to look into when I am having my hot chocolate.
The last activity was suggested by children who had seen a video of making dens using sticks. We have lots and lots of sticks just right for den making. We finished it off with the super deluxe tarp. It looked great and was big enough for me to sit in.
Wow, what a very bust Forest School session and we still had time to teach Mrs. Heslop our Forest School song!
Jack Frost be Gone! 12/01/22
The mud was thick today on the walk down to the dene, just right for trying to spot different animal tracks. In the past we have seen badger and roe deer tracks. I think I might have seen a tiny muntyjac track too but was never really sure. Unfortunately, all that we spotted today, was the usual dog, horse and human. Maybe next time there is fresh soft mud we could get luckier. If you see any unusual animal prints, take a picture as I would love to see them.
We played our new game again ‘Bulfie’. We are getting some good hiders, as hard as I searched I could not find them. Luckily everyone knows the special call so no one was left behind.
When we got to the Forest school site I thought I blue tit trying to nest in a tiny hole in a tree. It will be interesting to see if we scared her off or she starts to build a nest. It was pretty close to the ground so I would think it might be vulnerable to predators. After last week’s very cold weather it was much nicer today. This allowed us to sit and do some crafting also to put out the hammocks. We made some special spell sticks to chase away Jack frost. The children were very good at making up spells too.
After our hot chocolate it was nice to have a reflection time. This is an important part of Forest School as it gives the children time to process the activities that they have been doing. Children also comment that listening to the stream gurgle or the birds singing is very calming. It is not something that I do when it is very cold but as the sun shone through the trees and a quiet came over the dene it became a place of contemplation and calm.
A Frosty First day 05/01/22
It took a bit longer than normal to get everybody together and ready to make the trip to the dene today. As it was so cold it was important that we made sure everybody had warm clothes on. I also was pretty sure that it would be quite muddy in some parts so I found some old over trousers for those that needed it. I think on the whole everybody was all dressed up well. The only cold bits that children mentioned were the feet and I have yet to find a warm wellie.
As we walked down to the dene we explored the large areas of water that had frozen over. They were not quite strong enough to hold our weight but were thick enough to hold up and look through. Everything became blurred and I could only tell the children apart from the colour of their hats.
One child had a hat with bear ears on. She was keen to play a game where she was a hungry bear. I knew just the spot where there is a lot of bracken and holes to hide in. we are only able to use this area in winter as then the stingers and insects will all be gone. We spent a good while hiding and chasing around the bushes.
When we got to the Forest School centre we spent some time exploring around the area that we can use. The cold weather meant that it was not a day for sitting still so we played more games and the children were kept on the move. I got a rope out and straight away the children were off on an adventure. We had a break for some lovely hot chocolate. It was nice to use it to warm our hands on. I could feel it in my tummy too.
We set off back to school nice and early to give the children time to warm up but even the dene had a traffic jam today. We had to wait for a truck to get unstuck from the mud, another to reverse back to give our group room and then for a horse with bells on to get by. We arrived back just in time to get washed up before lunch – what a busy morning.