Final Goodbyes - until next year. 20/10/21
We had to swap the sessions around today which meant we only had 2 hours. Consequently, we rushed out the door and set about adventuring straight away. Instead of going our usual way we went the ‘long’ way. What an experience that turned out to b. Everyone was very brave as we scaled enormous cliffs, wadded through muddy seas and dodged wild animals. We even braved the waterfalls. Wow, that was a proper adventure.
When we got to our Forest School spot we played a game of camouflage then sat down for some well-deserved hot chocolate and snacks. This being our last session it was important that we spent time reflecting in our own quite spot so we went off to spend some time quietly sitting and thinking about our different experiences in the dene. We then came back together to look up at the leaves and comment on the changes that we have seen in the last 6 weeks. What a nice way to finish our Forest School.
Berries and Wasps on a Big Adventure 13/10/21
What plans and ideas I had for today’s trip to the Dene for Forest School. I should learn though, as per normal my plans went out the window as we explored the children’s ideas and pursued their interests.
Mrs. Howse has been doing work on autumn and so the children were enthused with idea of collecting things for the Autumn table. Straight away we found lots of different types of berries. There are so many out at the moment, a good job as the birds use this fruit to fatten up for the lean months of winter. In addition to all the berries there was a lot of fungus out. The damp but still warm days of autumn are ideal for the fruits to pop up. We had great fun drawing on the Artist’s Conk (Ganoderma applanatum) poking different jelly fungus and then to my great surprise we found some fungus that looked like Hen of the woods (Grifola frondosa). All the children were fascinated by this ‘mushroom’ with the appearance of a cauliflower. Hen of the Woods is very tasty so I cut a bit of for my tea later. I always like to check and then double check when it comes to eating things in the wood and to my surprise I think we have discovered the very rare Grifola Umbellate. In my book these are only found in the south of England. Luckily Most of it is left in place so I will have to get an expert to have a look at it – how exciting.
Amongst all these discoveries we had an adventure to find the wishing tree. I was surprised by how active the wasps still are so had to make some detours around their nests. After all the children had been through the wishing tree and I had been unstuck we made our way back to the Forest School site and had our hot chocolate. We talked about all the amazing things we had discovered and by that time we had to make our way back for lunch.
Puddle Jumping, Hill Sliding and Balancing Skills 6/10/21
I must admit that after all that rain we had yesterday I was worried about what state the Dene was going to be in. Apart from the path having all the soil washed off it, it wasn’t too bad. There were puddles but there was enough dry ground to get to the site without having to swim.
When we got to the Dene we investigated the old badgers lair. We think we found a back door to it. Sliding down the hill quickly became the best thing to do. I was surprised by how slippery the slope was. It was great fun.
Ms. Luke gave the camera to the children so the wonderful photos that you see are taken by them.
When we got to our Forest School site we had an explore around and found a new path. We used this path to play some hiding games. I wasn’t very good as I kept being found first. In no time at all it was 10:30 so we set up camp and worked on our stick men. They looked fab. Children added all kinds of extras. They also made bracelets and necklaces, what a creative group.
I set up the slack line for those children who preferred to do something more active. Another group wanted to use a rope to play slides again so we set that up too.
There was only just time for a warm drink and a snack before it was time to come back and enjoy stomping in all the puddles.
The Stickman comes to the Dene 29/09/21
After all the rain we have been having I was wondering what state the path to the Dene might be in. I was pleased that it wasn’t too muddy but there were still some nice splashy puddles. We saved the puddles for the way back so that we don’t have cold feet at Forest school.
The children are already getting better at exploring and adventuring by themselves. All the children went along the short cut to get to run down the slope at the end. We made that into a game and spent a bit of extra time enjoying running around.
When we got to our Forest School site we played find the tree – easy you might think but we did it blind folded! We are getting good at finding trees just by their bark.
We had the story of The Stickman and then started to make our own stickmen. We left them in the woods in case they had their own family to go to. We built a little shelter for them too. I wonder if they will be there when we come back.
As usual we finished our session with a quiet time of meditation in our own spaces. The sun shone in spots through the leaves and the Dene managed to weave its own magic so we could leave with a good feeling.
It is getting cooler so I will be bringing a warm hat and gloves next week. A good idea for everyone to do the same.
First Trip to the Dene 22/09/21
This week we went for our first trip to the Dene. We were very lucky with the weather as the sun streamed through the leaves making everything have a wonderful glow. The dene had a magical look about it.
On the way down we all practised ‘dog angels’. It is what we do if we meet a dog. The children were experts by the time we got to the dene. It took a long time to get to the Forest School site as we kept on finding evidence of the approach of Autumn; The blackberries were fat and ripe. Old Man’s Beard was al wispy and the Ivy was still in bloom. With so much to explore you can understand how it can take so long.
When we arrived we found lots of acorns and saw how the bark of the oak tree was all wrinkled like an old man’s hand. We made little people with the acorns. Then we made forest plates with some of the twigs. The children made one of those magical creative moments that make Forest School so special. They started to cut the plates up and make huge elf ears, how creative is that?! I was most impressed.
We put up some hammock for relaxing and swinging in and finished our session with some quite reflexion. It was lovely to really listen to the sounds of the wood.
What a great first session.
Starting with Jam 15/09/21
It is always lovely to start Forest School with a new group and this week we started with year 1. The blackberries are big and juicy so it was a great chance to pick them and turn them into jam. After exploring and finding out where the fruit was we set off to pick as many fat berries as we could. We got lots and lots. We put them into a pot and then added some sugar. We had picked so many that when they heated up they went all over the cooker. Oh dear, what a sticky mess. There was still plenty of jam left in the pot.
When it was cooked there were lots of berries left so we turned those into paint. No brushes? Never mind we’ll use our hand for some splodge paint mixing.
When the jam had cooled enough we had it with some hot buttered toast – yum yum. There was just time to have a go on the trim trail before we had to go in for lunch.
Next week we will have adventures in the Dene.