Last Day in the Woods 06/04/22
It was nice to get out in the woods again. After a few days of dry(ish)weather the paths and dene were not too bad and although not stunning sunshine it wasn’t a snow storm!
Disaster stuck our group as some how the trolley we use got three flat tyres. I think the rubber perishes and then if the trolley is heavily loaded they must just give out. I am still puzzled as to how all three went at once. The trolley was useless! Rather than go back we parked it up and everyone helped carry the essentials down into the dene. It was quite a task, I can tell you.
A few weeks ago, the children asked to do more crafting. We hadn’t been able to do any as we were busy with other things. I thought after all the work we had done with birds it would be nice to see if we could create some of our own. We had some feathers and sticks and we were away. Of course, some children wanted to have the hammocks up and others wanted to explore using ropes. We separated into our different groups.
The children are getting better at tying knots and so I didn’t have to help so much putting up the hammocks. Another difference that I saw over the 6 weeks is how much more the children are to try out the activities. Instead of just keeping to the usual area I took a group of pioneers to a large slope, for dramatic purposes I call it ‘THE SLOPE OF DOOOOOM’. Every child came to have a look and assess what they wanted to do. In Forest School it is important that the children are allowed to explore the boundaries of what they feel confident doing. At the start of their time at Forest School many of the children would not have entertained going on such an adventure; isn’t it great that they have gained the confidence in themselves to have a go.
Polar Explorers 30/03/22
Well, I did say that the weather could change! Look at the photos, an actual snow storm, how exciting. I toyed with the idea of having the session around the fire pit in the school grounds but one of the things this group loves to do is have an active Forest School session. If we had a fire it would mean that no one would be allowed to run around near the shelter, that can be a hard ask for some. We set off into the maelstrom not quite knowing what to expect.
Of course, we found plenty to do and had a fine time saying hello to the horses, plotting the stream that was running down the lane and running into the dean. With all the rain a lot of the ground was slippery so climbing was difficult. We used a rope and team work to help everyone get where they wanted to get to.
When we arrived at the Forest School area Mrs. Newton played Chicken Chicken – our own made up game while I put up a tarp as a shelter. I thought we might not need it but just as I was securing the last corner it started to snow again. We gathered underneath and used the hot chocolate to warm our hands, it also tasted delicious.
Today wasn’t one to sit around despite a request for crafting activities. Instead we set off to find the fairy trees and maybe spot the wishing tree. The ground proved to be so slippery that we stuck to the main path, even so we found the big fairy tree. I thought I might fit in; the only problem was getting out.
I thought we would probably have a shorter session this week but as usual we had to rush back to school to get back in time for lunch. What a hardy bunch of children.
A Rocky Beach Day 23/03/22
Who would have thought that March cold spring into spring with such vigour? I know April can still have some surprises but I do love a lovely warm spring day. I think everyone had big smiles on their faces even before we got to the dene.
We can no longer play in the bracken. With the warm weather comes stinging nettles and possibly ticks. What we can play though is the game made up by the children called Chicken Chicken. I like this game a lot as it has a fox pot, fat chickens and oak trees all in the game. I do get hot playing it though.
I needed some wild garlic for my cooking club after school. The best leaves are across the stream. We have had so little rain this last week that I knew the stream would be low. We crossed over the stream and picked some leaves. Then looking downstream, I saw an area where the water had left the rocks exposed. The sun was streaming through the trees upon the area although the dene was inviting us to play there. Who was I to go against such an invitation. Through rocks to make a good splash seemed good fun. Building a bridge across so as to not get wet feet was also enjoyable. Some children found worms and leeches in the damp soil.
After a lovely time exploring and building we continued to our usual area to set up camp. The hammocks were set up for those who wanted them. Some children tried to spot the birds that could be heard singing so loudly. We saw a blue tit flit from tree to tree. We played the song of the blue tit and he seemed to respond, until the battery ran out in our bird.
After our hot chocolate we all lay back to stare at the sky. Just then a huge buzzard flew over, using the hot air rising out of the dene to try and gain some height. We could see the round markings on the underside of its brown wings very clearly.
Just time to find our quite spot and sing the Forest School song before a dash back to school.
It is getting warmer now so full woollies might not be necessary every week. Keep an eye on the forecast to check it out. Children still need wellies as it is lovely to use the stream as a learning resource.
Birds, Nests and Hammocks 09/03/22
Spring is soon catching us up, we found daisies and the start of some catkins on the willow. There was even some pollen on one! I was very excited as I see willow blossom as the start of spring proper. The weather matched today too. I did not need gloves or my thick scarf.
Last week some children wanted to play a new game called Chicken Chicken. We ran out of time so we had to play it this week. The oak trees were den and the chickens could run from one tree to the next, but if they were caught they would have to go the foxes cook pot, a stand of hazel. They could only escape if another chicken helped them out. It was a good game. I wonder if the children will play it next week.
When of the things that is striking in the dene is how many different bird songs there are. I brought along some soft plushie birds to help us identify the song. The children decided that they would need to build the birds a nest each. I thought they looked great.
To my surprise Mr. Twiggy from last week was still at the dene. Other children decided to make him some friends. Whilst they were doing that I set up some hammocks for children to have a swing and chill on.
You can imagine what a busy time we had if you also consider that we took time out to look into a badger set, have a hot chocolate and have our quite reflection time.
Our photos this week are again provided by the students.
Games and Crafting 02/03/22
We gave out the spare gloves today as it was very cold. We can never tell what the weather is going to do so it is super important that children arrive prepared. I can almost guarantee that children will get muddy so a change of socks and shoes is important. I always tell the children to wear a hat and scarf to start with. We can always put things in the trolley if it gets too hot.
We walked straight to the Forest School site so that we could have more time to learn a new game called camouflage. Well, I say straight there but we had to stop to say hello to the horses, jump over the puddles and find a rather nice worm. We also found a large patch of very fresh wild garlic. Making sure to pick just a few leaves well away from any paths the children had the chance to try a little bit of the leaf. It was very garlicy.
It was good fun playing but the game soon had everyone puffed out. We decided to stop for a drink then and I could show a crafting idea that I had had. After our break some children decided to work with me whilst others went off with Mrs. Newton to explore the fallen down tree.
Mrs. Newton gave the camera to different children so that they might take some photos. There was a lot of posing going on! I hope you enjoy the pictures.
Windy Weather 16/02/22
The only weather that I will cancel Forest School for is a windy day so I was very worried about the storm warning earlier this week. Luckily, we were not due the worst of it until later in the evening. That being said if the wind was bad in the Dene we would have come back and done some activities at the school site.
It is great setting off on a first trip to the dene as the children are all excited to go and I always feel that those who have a positive attitude will get the most out of the sessions. We practiced some safety rules and when we got to the bracken field had a great game of hide and seek. After a while we carried on.
I love running and making noise in the dene so we ran down the hill shouting some cool Forest School names. The children went on a short cut to the bridge while poor Mrs. Newton had to pull the trolley! After a quick game of Pooh sticks we arrived at the forest school centre. As soon as we did it began to rain. We sat under the tarpaulin until it eased a bit, then whilst Mrs. Newton showed the children the places that they could go to and explore I quickly hung up a tarpaulin as a temporary shelter
The children love to explore how much their bodies can work or what they are comfortable doing. In Forest School we provide opportunities for the children to test these limits in a place that is exciting and stimulating. The children soon had out the ropes and were climbing slippy banks. Others were happy to make the shelter into a cafe and were collecting branches to turn into benches.
It was soon time for a hot drink and a snack. We then learnt a song and found a special quiet place to stop and think, where the children had five minutes of reflection time. Even in the rain this is a lovely part of Forest School where in busy lives the pupils can stop still and listen.