Forest School 2022 -2023
Robins and Fledglings this year will be enjoying weekly, Forest School sessions. This involves interaction with each other where communication is learnt and confidence gained.
Wishing Robins and Fledglings a fabulous Summer Break
Stay Safe everyone.
During the final session with Fledglings this afternoon they enjoying melted marshmallows also chocolate biscuits were included to create 'Smalls'. Yummy! Free play followed which today involved the tunnel and an impromptu waterslide. Lots of muddy fun.
Smalls and Waterslides
This was Year 2's last Forest school session and last week some children decided they would like to build birds nests with tweezers, imitating a birds beak whilst other children decided they wanted to den build. Free choice for everyone today and what a lot of fun everyone appears to have had.
Last Session 2023
It was a very WET day for forest school . What can you do outside on a rainy day? Lots and lots of wonderful things. Our afternoon started with a challenge. How can you move this crate without lifting it and using three rolls of tubing? At first one group pushed the crate with the tubing and then I asked them to use the tubes as rollers and then transport the crate across the carpet.
"We need more tubes", came a little voice .
"I know how to do it", said another voice.
I watched as the first group listened to instructions from one of their team and eventually the crate moved across the carpet using only the three tubes. It even transported the children as they became very efficient at transferring the tubes around. Excellent team work and problem solving from everyone.
Following this we went outside puddle jumping and splashing, we played follow the leader, catching rain in our mouths and wondered what rain tasted like. Strawberry flavoured jelly, water, shrimps! What a variety of taste buds we had. We eventually ended up in the forest school area where waterfalls were created, a den was found amongst the leaves to shelter from the rain and the impromptu see saw came out for action as well
Who said rain couldn't be fun?
What can we do when it rains?
Today, the children spent most of the session using mapping skills to find the cones which in turn gave them a letter that could be used to build the flower word . One group completed all 8 maps so well done to them. To finish the afternoon, the class spent a short time of free play in the forest school area making a large potion in the fire pit and den building.
Orienteering flower names
Today, the Year 2 children enjoyed the boomerang activity but also as a treat we had a campfire with marshmallows and smalls. A Fun afternoon for everyone involved.
Today the class was a mixture of soon to be Yr 2 and soon to be Yr 1 children. As a group they interacted very well, co-operated with one another, and generally had a great afternoon. Australia was our theme and boomerangs seemed a fun activity to do. This was followed by free play where new friendships were emerging.
Similar to Robins and after a game of "What's the Time Mr Wolf", Fledglings enjoyed being creative when mixing potions from nature and allowed their noses to make the scents they preferred. The finishing touches on two were very thought through. Can you spot the straw also the greenery decoration?
Potions June 2023
Will they be sour, sweet or just earthy smelly potions created today? Lots of sweet smells with one in particular that smelt delightful, some earthy scents but definitely one child managed a disgusting potion using soil, old water and leaves.
This session was finished with three different parachute games and lots of laughter.
Potions and Parachute Fun
Fledglings completed a similar activity to Robins yesterday . They chose to throw the hoop and then investigate where it landed. They found a much wider variety of Flora and Fauna by doing this also their knowledge on names of plants has increased immensely. The tree shake or branch tap we carried out in the forest school area and again we found a much wider variety of insects , A lot of them were new to us all and opened up another world of unknown characters. Our curiosity was piqued,
My insect discovery books will be well thumbed through this weekend so names of some of these can be found.
Who lives here?
Discovery on different habitats was the main focus of the session this afternoon. Each child started by selecting an item of nature outside then sketching it with willow charcoal. We had some interesting tree shapes which as the children became use to using the charcoal their lines had more flow and less rigidity.
Initially. after exploring the grassed circle zones that had been covered and moisture added their first reactions were "Theirs nothing to see!" Until it was suggested they looked again not just for insects but the different amount of grasses/plants growing in a small space.
Finally we moved to the tree canopy and this was our next exploration. Using light paper the children were amazed at how a tree shake could reveal different insects hidden away above our heads. This was carried out on three different tree species , horse chestnut, beech and oak. We decided the oak tree had a larger variety of insects living amongst its branches. we saw a green harvestman - great camouflage it was decided. lots of black dots which we thought could be caterpillar poo, a small green caterpillar and two different fly species . These dropped within seconds of branch shaking. we discovered an interesting caterpillar on the beech tree which has no name yet so watch this space as I try to find out what it could be.
This session was about solitary bees, where they lay their eggs and how we could help them by making bee bricks. Once dry our bricks will be hard but for a bee it means the prepared holes can be used and sealed to protect the new brood hidden away from view.
Solitary bee/wasp fact - There are over 270 known species of solitary bees/wasps in the country. Each bee has its own preferred nesting area which can range from sandy banks, hard limescale walls, manmade holes in old tree stumps, manmade bee hotels and a convenient hole in modern homes where screws or cement have been removed or fallen away leaving holes behind. Just to name a few areas where bees will frequent.
Bee Brick Fledglings
The Fledglings did get very wet today but during this water session they worked in groups to achieve different waterfall systems by using the equipment available . One of the children worked out how to stop the water from shooting off the end of the guttering. Plug it with cups! Whilst the other group found it was an easy way to fill containers as the water gushed down the guttering so it could be reused.
One child used and achieved the term - Making A Chain Reaction . Can you spot it?
The session started today with predictions. Will it float or will it sink? As you can see below the children had great fun experimenting with the selected objects and then using their creativity they were challenged with making a boat from anything that was available which would carry a weight and not sink. The results were amazing, we had plastic bricks which were filled and unfilled to stop it from toppling or readjusting the weight to equal the balance. Bark they discovered was a fabulous material for a boat base and on this we had stones, corks, sails and even a stick person. Can you spot it? A hint is to look for the daisy which was the head. Great fun on a hot afternoon.
Float and Sink
Using card with punched holes the children were encouraged to find long grasses to start the borders and then to follow on with other plant material that could be woven into the grasses as an anchor. The end results were a beautiful front but also a tidy woven back. The children were very focused throughout and their creations were very individual as you will see below.
Weaving on card
Fledglings enjoyed using the magnifying glasses today in their search for butterfly eggs. In our quest we did find aphids - green fly - in egg forms and various stages of growth. We also discovered 'Cuckoo Spit' and the small nymph called a spittlebug or froghopper that makes the spit as a protection from being eaten.
Prior to the lesson I did find a caterpillar on the hazel and this the children will feed until it pupates and emerges as a butterfly/moth.
Butterfly Egg Hunt
Our session started with a discussion about seed dispersal and what that meant. After lots of discussion and a video we went outside to try to create seed dispersal via water. The guttering was the river and the tubs at the end were the sea and the seed was a conker. The first few attempts soon demonstrated that the guttering was set correctly and the amount of water used was sufficient to send the seed to the sea.
Following challenges were set which required the children to work as a team if they were going to reach each of the goals.
Create one water fall, the two then up to four. Once this was completed the next task was to create a meander in the river and eventually after a few mistakes and slips with the guttering both groups achieved a brilliant end result.
A wet afternoon on a sunny May day was enjoyed by all.
Seed Dispersal via water
Our afternoon started with a demonstration on tapping and not bashing. Fledglings found their first items to print and soon all that could be heard was tap, tap ,tap.
Once this was completed they spread themselves around the forest area and set about enjoying den building, slug counting, playing on the make shift seesaw and two of the children used a variety of sticks to create their own forest area. A brilliant afternoon of fun and learning.
Material printing with fresh flowers
If you go down to the woods today you'll be in for a big surprise! Tapping, tapping not bashing bashing could be heard from the children as they focused their attention on creating the most beautiful and original art work on material using only small hammers , mallets and large smooth stones. When dry they can be ironed to help hold the colours . The results as you will see are fabulous.
This morning our day started with looking for treasure which we used later on when playing 'Kim's Game'. Fledglings were brilliant as memorising the missing items. Following this they asked if they could play 'Hide and Seek' which they were very successful at.
The second part of todays session involved building three different sized habitats and then mapping them on a white board. A very good effort was shown by all the children.
building and mapping three habitats
This afternoon the children went on a treasure hunt for items that would could be used for our Kim's Game. The dandelion clocks were scattered with great joy and the children were asked to try to find a four leaf clover. Sadly no-one did. Kim's game relies on your memory skills and in groups each child took a turn at looking and remembering. Finally we got the parachute out and finished the afternoon with two of their favourite games.
Kim's Game and Parachute Fun
Eagerly, the Fledglings wanted to know if they would be pond dipping for a second time. As you will see from the images we had much better weather with lots of opportunities to use the nets. we caught pond shrimps, pond beetles, water snails and dragonfly nymphs as well today.
It was raining on our first afternoon of pond dipping but this didn't stop Fledglings exploring the pond area. After many dips with the nets we gathered a mixture of mostly newts also a large frog jumped into the net which caused a few squeals of laughter. Well done to everyone for making this session such fun.
Pond dipping with Fledglings
During the afternoon the children discovered the names and locations of some of the trees on the school site, also they discovered wild flowers and unusual leaves in the grass and borders which they tried to identify with the ID sheet. We measured the height of selected trees using a trundle wheel and a method of looking between your legs for the top of a tree gave us the starting point. The tallest tree we discovered measured 23.75 M.
Finally, the children during the afternoon were asked to collect leaves and flowers so we could press them using the flower press when we returned to the classroom, they even had time for free play in the forest school area.
Flora and Fauna ID
Spring is a great time of year to visit the pond for pond dipping. The weather is warming up and the visitors that return to spawn are more likely to be caught in the nets. We had already spotted frogs spawn at the furthest end of the pond but as the session continued the children were visibly excited at finding lots and lots of newts and the occasional water boatman. Two great afternoons for everyone.
Pond Dipping, Palettes of Colour and Free Play
The rain left lots of wonderful puddles for the Fledglings to dance and jump in today. The next activity involved co operation, sharing and listening to others ideas as they pieced together three different puzzles that linked in with a previous topic - Farming.
Finally after a fun game of 'What's the time Mr Wolf', the children played hide and seek around the school grounds. One particular hidey hole had them all stumped. Can you see the child hidden away in the bush. Eventually he was located after he started to "squeak, squeak", as they passed him. Lots of laughter today.
Puddles, Jigsaws, Hide and Seek
Well, what a windy day its been! With the use of large stones to anchor the pictures the children enjoyed the jigsaw run which linked in with their topic 'Famous Women'. We finished the afternoon with parachute games , run the colour and catch the mouse. Lots of fun and laughter outside today.
Jigsaw and Parachute Activities
Fledglings were eager to dig holes and discover what might be living in the soil. They found quite a few worms. Long, thin, small and fat. our longest worm measured 19cm the shortest was 2cm. After we moved into the forest school area some children were still keen to dig and discover whilst other children built a fabulous gutter run for the balls. One of the children used rain water to chase the ball down the guttering. The igloo from robins became a great den and hiding place and in another area three children were playing house. A wonderful afternoon of discovery, observation and free play.
Worms, worms, worms.
Today, Robins children were asked to explore a spade depth to see what might be living in the soil/grass conditions. If any worms were found then they had to be measured. All our data will be sent to a national bio study 'WHAT'S UNDER YOUR FEET' which requests three digs a year in the same area to monitor changes in invertebrate species. Robins found a variety of worms with the smallest being 2cm to the longest measuring 17 cm. To finish the afternoon off you will spot a long roll of children trying to do a log roll without breaking the chain - letting go of the other persons wellies. Lots of laughter could be heard in school as we nearly achieved a role of 19 children.
What's Under Your Feet? March 2023
Snow, snow, lovely snow. Today was an extra special day as the snow was thicker than usual. Perfect for snowman building and in our case today igloo construction. Using cups to shape our snow bricks the igloo soon started to take shape. Once it had reached the height of a child's coat the children were encouraged to use a pipette and drip food colouring on the snow. The effect was very pleasing. We had green, red and yellow. The children experimented by dripping different colours on to existing colours and they discovered brown and orange.
Fledglings, started their afternoon session by observing the skeleton of the trees. After a demonstration on how to use charcoal, each child sat and experimented themselves by putting charcoal to paper. Some excellent results were achieved as they gained confidence with this new medium. Following this and armed with a sketch of a tree, glue and their imagination Fledglings were encouraged to look for twigs, leaves, grass and soil so they could create a collage on the paper. It was lovely to see such concentration.
After a discussion about trees in winter and their skeletons which are very visible at this time of year. Robins were tasked with using charcoal as a medium for drawing a chosen tree, demonstrating good use of the charcoal with light / heavy marks, including smudging for extra depth.. Following this they were asked to find some colour and using water colours to paint their subject. I witnessed some fabulous detail today.
An afternoon of toasting marshmallows and eating smalls. Very sticky fingers but also very Yummy!
Marshmallows and Smalls
For our last session this half term the children assisted in building a camp fire which when it got going they melted marshmallows over, damper bread was rolled and toasted over the flames then topped with toffee sauce and finally Smalls . (Marshmallows between biscuits.)
February Camp Fire