Week Commencing 31st October 2022
The start of the new half term brought torrential rain and gale force winds; natures way of saying Winter is just around the corner! Class 1 therefore had their Forest School session for this week inside the classroom - but this did not dampen our spirits!
I always like to start the session with a game and Wednesday's session was no different. We read the Gruffalo story and I put the children's listening skills to the test! They were all given a character from the book and every time they heard their character's name they had to stand up and do an action to show who they were.
With bonfire night coming up at the weekend we decided to make Conker rockets that we could launch into the air and create our own impressive display! As well as being topical and good fun, the task of making the rockets allowed children to use and develop their fine motor and language skills. The children also had the opportunity to put their creative minds to the test and design some stylish wellies.
Hoping for calmer weather next week!
Sunshine, warmth and still trees! What a contrast to yesterday’s turbulent weather and we were NOT complaining!
Each week, on our walk to the Forest School area, I ask the children to practice a bit of mindfulness by focusing on one sense. Today, I asked the children to choose one natural item using the sense of touch and think of adjectives to describe it and why they chose it. In all our sessions I stress to the group that we do not pick things that are growing and if they are unsure of what something is then it’s best to always ask. Once we had gathered in the shelter, we shared our findings and the children used excellent language skills to describe their chosen items.
Our game today was hibernating squirrels! Every child was given a conker and had to hide it somewhere ready to snack on in the depths of winter! Once hidden, the squirrels gathered back at the nest and after a quick sleep they were told they had to find another squirrel’s conker because we are kind, generous creatures who like to share.
For the theme of bonfire night, I asked the pupils to create a firework display in the night sky using natural materials! It was great to see the imaginations of the children and the excitement they had when it came to describing their hard work. Lots of lovely vocabulary was used to show off their night skies!
Free play to end is always well received!
Week Commencing 7th November 2022
Class 1 were asked to find something interesting on their walk today and to use an adjective to describe the natural treasure they had found. It’s another great way to practice mindfulness and it was a joy to hear them using descriptive language to describe their treasures!
In our shelter, we talked about Remembrance Day and why this is an important event and why we have the 2-minute silence. We read ‘Where The Poppies Now Grow’ by Hilary Robinson and Martin Impey to learn about all those who sacrificed so much for the cause of peace. We discussed the meaning behind the poppy and why we wear them at this time of year. The children were then tasked with creating a natural poppy using the colours of Autumn; it was a great way to reflect on the story and our class discussions in a respectful and thought-provoking way. To end our session the children enjoyed some free play and a little conker hunt!
We kicked off today’s session with a teamwork game – tarpaulin flip! In groups, the pupils stood on their tarpaulin and they had to turn the sheet of tarpaulin over without touching the ground. The winds made it a little more challenging, but the game tested the children’s communication, problem solving and listening skills really effectively. After the game we reflected on what made the task simpler and what skills they used in order to be successful.
The children then gathered in the shelter and I read ‘Where The Poppies Now Grow’ by Hilary Robinson and Martin Impey. It was lovely to see the class listening intently and sharing their thoughts and feelings on Remembrance Day and why it is so important to remember the fallen and serving people in our armed forces. I asked the children to put themselves in the shoes of the soldiers from WW1 and what it must have been like to live in trenches and how it must have made them feel. Their task today was to build a shelter in their groups and make a little camp as if they were soldiers from the book. The children took to this activity well and identified how hard it was finding a spot that provided shelter from the wind and rain. They showed resilience and perseverance when building their camps and there was a real sense of comradeship amongst the children. In our reflection at the end of the session it was heartwarming to listen to the groups’ ideas on how it must’ve been for the soldiers and how difficult it would have been to live in such basic.
I was very proud of the respectful attitudes both classes showed this week! Well done Class 1 and 2!
Week Commencing 14th November 2022
On our walk to the Forest School area and to practice our mindfulness skills I asked the children to use their seeing and hearing senses to find birds. I reminded children that this would mean they’d need to be extra quiet so that the birds weren’t frightened away! When we arrived at the Forest School site the resident rabbit was there to great us; always a lovely surprise! As a group we spotted: a magpie; a wood pigeon and a robin! We were also lucky enough to hear the call of a buzzard. Some excellent bird spotting skills from the group!
‘Would you rather’ was our warm up game today. This is another fantastic rule following game that increases the vocabulary, listening and decision-making skills of the children. After the game, I told the class that when I came down to the Forest School area this morning I found an unusual creature that I’d never seen before! A Bug-A-Lug! He was a very friendly bug that liked to feast on acorns and moss! But he was feeling a little lonely and asked me if Class 1 could make some more Bug-A-Lugs to keep him company, I said of course they can! The children were so imaginative and created some great bugs using their fine motor skills.
As this activity was taking place, a very exciting discovery was made by some children on the snake mound. A pair of newts were found! In small groups, the pupils peered into the hole and we discussed what a newt was and why they might be living in our Forest School area. We also discussed the importance of being respectful to all flora and fauna and how they might feel with lots of loud noises and heads poking into their home!
A fantastic afternoon of discoveries!
The winds were up for our Forest School session today! A game of squirrels in a tree encouraged the children to practice their problem-solving skills and use mathematical and numeracy skills to successfully complete the game.
This week class 2 became paleontologists! In groups, they were tasked with choosing a dinosaur skeleton that they wanted to make using only sticks and other natural materials. This activity was very physical, and the pupils had to move around the area navigating the muddy terrain and carrying large sticks in a safe way. It was lovely to see how motivated the children were and how they connected and interacted with the members in their group. There were lots of discussions in the groups about how to improve their dinosaur skeletons and lots of individuals used their problem-solving skills to complete the task. Perserverance and resilience skills were really developed today, and I really enjoyed reviewing their findings at the end of the session.
Another afternoon well spent!
Week Commencing 21st November 2022
The forest was FILLED with magic this week!
We focused on our sense of sight whilst we walked down the track because I was convinced the children were going to spot something magical. We looked high and low using the ‘head, shoulders, knees and toes’ song. As well as being lots of fun, it is also a great way for the children to risk assess their surroundings and begin to take ownness of their safety in a supportive environment. Sure enough, the magic caterpillars are spotted! Some were up high in the trees whilst others were low on the ground hidden amongst the leaves and as we got closer to the gates there were more and more to be found! Inside the Forest School area the excitement from the children was infectious and they noticed that their bugs from last week had climbed the trees with a little help from the magic caterpillars! Once in the shelter, the children found a book that had been left out for them by their bugs to help them with today’s session.
After playing a game called squirrels in a tree, we read the story (The Squirrels who Squabbled) and talked about how important it is to work together and build a community. We talked about what we have in our community where we live: a church, a school, houses, a shop and a playground! We decided to build a community for our bugs and discussed what they might need to connect with other bugs and how this would make them feel. It was lovely to see the children really immerse themselves in this activity and work together.
Another lovely afternoon down in the forest!