Forest School Blog
What a glorious month to be learning in the woodland. The children have enjoyed walks to the orchard to see the blanket of bluebells covering the ground at this time of year. The eagle-eyed amongst us even spotted some white bells! Other nature spots have included queen bees searching for nest sites, orange-tip butterflies and many a caterpillar in the tree canopy. Our resident red kites have been absent, which we think is a result of nesting.
All year groups spent the first session this month learning about invertebrates or ‘minibeasts’. We discussed how to catch them humanely, sorted them into different categories, looked closely at their movements and behaviour, as well as talking about their importance in the food chain. In amongst our finds were beetles, spiders, woodlice, as well as millipedes and centipedes.
In the latter half of the month, Reception explored floating and sinking, making rafts out of bundles of sticks. Some were even able to carry cargo! Year 1 worked on their map-reading skills, using a map of our forest school to find buried treasure. Some children then chose to make their own maps and hide treasure for friends to find.
Year 2 have been learning about the Great Fire of London in class. Some children then took part in a water relay at Forest School to find out what it was like to help try to stop the timber houses burning, carrying water from the Thames to the burning houses.
We cut elder with secateurs, hollowed out the middle and added a charcoal nib to make pencils. There was also the opportunity to grind charcoal and add oil to make a natural paint, which we then used to make reverse prints of leaves.
Of course, in amongst all this, the children have had the opportunity to connect with each other, build new friendships, gather confidence and build self-esteem through their time in the woodland.
It’s been another busy month at Forest School. We’ve had some hot walks across the common but lovely shady sessions under the tree cover in the woods.
The children have worked hard all year to earn the RSPB’s Wild Challenge Award and this month, we’ve achieved our Bronze certificate. The children had to collectively complete six challenges that show how they connect with and learn about nature. From habitat heaps to homes for mammals and minibeast safaris to the Big Schools Birdwatch, the children have definitely earned it.
During Year 2 Forest School sessions, the children have been celebrating butterflies and using fine motor skills to weave their own, with sticks for a frame and wool for the wings. They chose colours based on the species we see around us in the woods, such as the Orange Tip and Common Blue. They’ve also been busy taking part in cryptic treasure hunts, made land art and chosen their own activities, such as jewellery-making using natural resources.
Year 1 ended the month as architects and engineers. They built towers and then used those to construct bridges in the woods that were strong enough to carry their weight. Activities like this are excellent ways to use planning and problem-solving skills, as well as encouraging resilience, teamwork and a sense of achievement.
Reception have been practising the ancient Japanese art of Hapa Zome, or leaf-dyeing. Some positioned their leaves and flowers to spell the first letter of their name, some wanted theirs to look like the wings of a butterfly; each was unique. They then folded the fabric in half and used hammers, mallets and pebbles to release the juice from the leaves. The results were super!