Keeping Warm 12/02/20
I was very concerned by the forecast for the morning’s session and so planned activities that would keep the children moving and warm. As always I was aware of the wind too. The wind is perhaps the only reason that the school would cancel Forest School. As it happened the forecast was off and we had another lovely session in the woods, we did go on a great walk.
The children learnt how to play a new game that kept us amused as we walked along, we found the fairy doors that we discovered last year but it was very hard to explore them as everything was soooo muddy. We stopped at the rocks that I have been told is called The Devil’s Chair. Although they are too high for us to climb on them it was great fun trying to scramble up the slope to reach the base. Instead of coming the same back we took an adventurous route back to the base, around stumps, up steep banks and through the thickest of bushes. I was ready for my hot chocolate by the time we reached the trolley.
On a sad note as we were leaving the dene we spotted some fly tipping going on. It is such a shame that people set out to spoil our dene.
Finding Things of Interest 05/02/20
Often in Forest School the things that I have planned are superseded by the ideas of the children. Today was a good example of that. I had hoped to create journey sticks of objects and things of interest along the way to our base in the dene, then make a magic walking stick that would help us to talk about the things that we do in Forest School.
On the way we found some huge tree trunks that had come down in the recent wind. I made a comment about how ash is very good for making tool handles and bows, and in that instant the day changed. First job was to collect some ash, well there was lots of that about, the trouble was carrying it. After carry a branch along the track we decided it would be easier to saw it up into little bits to transport.
When we got to our Forest School spot we split up into different groups depending on what the children wanted to do. Some children went off to have a rope adventure, others wanted to make things. We used the bow saw, bark peelers and a drill to make a hedgehog feeder, digging stick, bows and some very sharp pointers. What a fantastic imagination the group has.
Exploring and Dens 29/01/20
We only only stopped to pat the horse today. I think he likes the good scratch that the children give him as he came from the top of the hill down to the gate to visit us.
Whist we were going down into the dene I saw how low the water was so thought it would be a good opportunity
to go and explore. The children soon took up the challenge and we were crossing the stream in no time. On the other side of the bank we found a good spot to throw rocks into the river and some very early wild garlic, it was very strong. One group started to make a den. When we got to our Forest School spot we carried on den making, it can be hard work to get it just right. Other children wanted to make things again so we got the tools out. Another group still wanted to mine for coal, I think they found 10 pieces today. They wanted to bring a spade next week I think it might be getting out of hand, especially as we always have to put the wood back as we found it at the end of the session.
Tools to Use 22/01/20
After a brisk walk along the track I thought we were going to get to the Forest School site in double quick time. Of course we all got distracted and wanted to explore the climbing tree that the children had found when they were in year 1. They spent some time climbing and exploring. We found a dead shrew, it had probably run out of food. It is this time of year that most animals struggle with; warm enough to be active but still no food out on the trees.
When we got to the Dene The children looked at some of the tools that we can use in Forest School. We had bark peelers, hand drills, bit and auger, wood splitter and some bow saws. Each of the tools has to be used in a special way with the right safety gear on. It is important that the children have time to use these tools as they allow the children to make interesting things. Today a great walking stick was made as well as some stick men and some holes were drilled - just in case. Of course the children got to choose so other children decided to chill in the hammocks and another group went mining for coal!
New Games and Old 15/01/20
It was nice to take a new group out. The current year 2 are the first class to have a third year of Forest School. It showed in the way that the children were confident in re-exploring the area. They have already put in requests for activities next week!
This week we remembered how to act at Forest School and made a bangle that would remind us of the three rules that we have: Look after ourselves. Look after each other. Look after the woods. I like the way that although these 'rules' are very simple they pretty much cover everything we do at Forest School.
After a drink and snack one of the children made up a new game, it is called Tornado. It is a very exciting game with lots of running and chasing. It also helped us to identify oak trees. We all needed a bit of time to calm down after that so we spent 5 minutes by a tree that we chose listening to what the wood had to say.