This week we planted trees to fill in some of the gaps in the new hedge. Do you remember that really long spell of hot sunny weather we had last year? Unfortunately, despite our best efforts to water the trees, some of them died. So we got some new saplings free from The Woodland Trust to replace them.
Some of the children used sticks, grass and stones to make nests. I think they did a great job.
On Tuesday it was the younger children’s turn to toast marshmallows. The children were all able to recall the ways to keep safe and what to do in an emergency. We learnt about the fire triangle. This tells us the three things a fire needs to stay burning. If you find out what the three things are come and find me to tell me!
On Thursday the weather was cold, windy and wet. So, we made a shelter and drank hot chocolate to keep warm. I was really impressed with the way the children worked together.
There was so much going on in Forest School this week. The children are now familiar with the rules, the area and each other. This has given them the confidence to try out different things independently and they have been supporting each other.
Playing games like hide and seek helps to build trust and supports children to follow rules.
Building stone towers takes perseverance, concentration and good fine motor skills. It is a great mindfulness activity and is also very satisfying and rewarding.
Finding insects involved working as team, sharing resources and develops respect for all living things.
Building a den and then sitting in it to drink hot chocolate and share our feelings about the session,
Using a bow saw is another activity that is good for mindfulness, you have to concentrate only on what you are doing.
Using natural resources to make objects (a nest) or pieces of art.
This week a new group of children started Forest School sessions. We played some games to establish how to keep safe during Forest School sessions and also to help us learn each other’s names.
We then did a team building challenge, the children had to stand on a tarpaulin and, without their feet touching the grass, they had to flip the tarpaulin over. I was really impressed with how the children listened to each other and managed to achieve the task without any support from me.
Some children spent some time climbing trees.
Two girls were eager to learn how to peel the bark from a stick using the potato peelers.
We could hear some birds in the trees, so some children used the binoculars and ID sheet to try and identify what type of birds they were. We saw blue tits and magpies.
The KS1 group really enjoyed toasting marshmallows and drinking hot chocolate. They listened sensibly about how to keep safe.
We sang songs around the fire and listened to the birds singing too. Three pairs of garden birds came to visit us, the most I’ve seen in the Forest School area. There were two blue tits and two other pairs that we haven’t identified yet.
To end the session we poured water on to the fire and made a wish.
The KS2 group were brilliant as well. They wanted to cook something else on the fire. It was a bit windy so we made a wind break using a tarpaulin and logs. Some children used peelers to peel bark off hazel sticks. We were going to use these to cook with but unfortunately it was still too windy for the children to enter the fire circle. Instead we wrapped the scone mixture in tin foil and cooked it in the embers of the fire. It got a bit burnt but the children said it still tasted delicious.
As the session came to an end it started to rain a little and a beautiful rainbow appeared.
Today the weather was perfect for a fire, dry and not windy. We talked about how to keep safe. We remembered how to kneel and what to do in an emergency. Then we all enjoyed toasting and eating marshmallows.
It was great to be back out in the Forest School area with the KS2 group. Despite it being a few weeks since our last session the children had remembered the rules and routines.
We played a few hide and seek type games to make sure we kept moving in the cold weather.
The children made their own choices for part of the session. It was great to see lots of team work and children being very focused on what they wanted to achieve. Some children decided to work alone but were just as determined to be able to complete what they had set out to do.
This den became the perfect place to sit and read a book 🙂
These children had a clear goal and with two others communicated well and worked as a team to achieve it.
Some children worked with me to use the bow saw to cut branches. This is a good mindfulness activity as the only thing you can think about is what is happening there and then 🙂 The children need to listen carefully and follow instructions. They also enjoy that there is an element of risk involved and feel a sense of achievement when they have cut through the branch.