School Site Forest School 16/10/19
This week was a short session for the children as we had the harvest festival celebration first. This meant that for their last session we would use the school site. The school site is not really ready for the children to use, the forest part of Forest School is missing. It does, however have a permanent fire pit so I planned to have a fire since the children had been asking for one.
The children had a go at using the fire lighters, putting the wood on the fire and using the fire blower. The trouble with the fire is that I have to be there at all times so all the other jobs fell to Mrs. Heslop. The children had the chance to help build a lawn mower shelter, make forest school medals and roast some marsh mallows. They were also allowed to use the trim trail. I cooked up a bit of popcorn too.
Since the fire took up a lot of the time I am afraid that not as many photos were taken as usual.
By the state of the children’s trousers it might appear that all we do at Forest School is jump in puddles. We do, however, spend a lot of time exploring and finding out about the dene. This week I had planned a whole session around the oak trees that are the dominant species where we have out camp.
There are thousands of acorns that litter the ground, they make great stress busters as they are incredibly smooth and hard. I always seem to have a few in my pocket at this time of year. Last week Braith had drilled some holes into some wood, they made excellent acorn holders and we were able to drill into acorns to make acorn people, acorn necklaces or even a set of weights for some fairy weight lifting.
Other children wanted to enjoy the slide or hammocks. I like the way that Forest School children are able to explore the topics that they are interested in. Giving children the time to experience the outside and pursue their interest is an important part of their time in the dene.
Next week will be the last session for this group and we will spend it at school. Several children have said that they would like to make a fire. We will use the fire pit to make some hot chocolate and maybe even some marshmallows.
Drills and Saws 02/10/19
It felt very autumnal today as we set off towards the dene and indeed there were many more leaves on the ground and less berries on the bushes. I like the way the children can feel the change in the seasons as the weather gets cooler.
On our trip down we stopped off to look at the horses. I was very surprised that the children were able to call them over from across the field. We found the ivy flowers had yet set to berries. They are full of pollen and if shaken can easily turn your hand yellow. Bees use the ivy as a late honey harvest as it is usually the last flower of the year.
At the camp in the dene we put up some hammock and a slack line. The children were very good at helping each other across the low rope. I showed the children how to use the drills safely. We also looked at what drill bits would be good to use. Every wants to use the larges size but of course that is also the most difficult to turn. The children soon learnt to scale back on the size of the drill. I also showed some children how to use a bow saw, we used this to make a cute log dog. I think we might make more of these next week.
How does the weather effect Forest School? 25/09/19
In Forest School we have been doing some work on what type of trees there are in the Dene. We have identified Ash, from the ash keys it has, Blackberries, from the lovely fruit and also Oak from all the acorns that we found. I thought it would be good to do some more work on this using Hapa Zome to make some leaf patterns.
With the rain pouring down it seemed a better option to explore some more. We found a new tree to climb (Ash) and a good tree to hang a swing from (Oak). We did a lot of exploring so there was just time to get out the new tarpaulins that Mr. Leiper had given us; they are very big and use them as a slide before it was time to have some hot chocolate.
We decided to leave a bit earlier than normal as that would give us time to splash in a few puddles on the way back to school. I think that this might have been the children’s favourite part of the morning. I do appreciate that the clothes returned will have been very muddy, I see it as a good indication of the smiles made that morning. I hope you do too.
A long Walk 18/09/19
It can take as little as 15 minutes to reach our space in the Dene but quite often it can take a lot longer. Today was one of those days where it took a long time; we kept on finding lots and lots of amazing things. We discovered an old ash tree that was great for climbing but difficult to get to. There were still some blackberries out that could be picked and some hazelnuts that I put in my pocket to save for Christmas. We found some ‘Old Man’s Beard’ (Clematis vitalba), which we made into some very fine beards and we found a lot of Elderberries. It was interesting to discuss what made a good plant to eat and which ones you wouldn’t want to.
Once we were down in the dene The children set about making their slide again. We found some useful pieces of wood that made the slide even more slippery. I helped some children put up some hammocks which make great swings but are also nice to chill in.
What was good for me to see was the laughter and activity that the children were engaged in. I looked around and every child was busy and the woods were filled with the noise of happy people.
Hapa Zome 11/09/19
I came prepared for all sorts of weather today but in the end the sun shined and the children wanted to know where the puddles had gone.
Before we left we found a hazel bush and used a mallet to crack some nuts. They were delicious; still sweet as they had not got too old.
On the way down to the dene there were a few blackberries left so we picked a bowl to use later. When we got down to the base some children were keen to use ropes and slide. Others I showed how to Hapa Zome. It is a way to bash leaves and berries to make patterns. The children called it berry bashing. The blackberries splat very nicely when hit with a mallet.
To make the slide more fun the children used an old shower curtain to slide down. I don’t think it made anything quicker but it did add to the excitement.
There were some blackberries left so we used them to make some ‘forest blood’ drink. It was very nice with a gingersnap on the side.
As you can imagine that just left time to get back to school for lunch.