The Wednesday group are very interested in the insects that live in the woodland. They went looking for them and then decided to make a home for them.
They gathered sticks, leaves and other items from the forest floor to create a home at the bottom of a tree.
The Thursday morning group learned about how to make a safe fire in the forest. There is always a fire surround made from sticks that establishes the fire area and ensures that the fire is a safe distance from the children. Fire safety forms an important part of the Forest School Leader Training.
Once the fire was established the children used their whittled sticks to toast a marshmallow on the fire.
On the way into the forest the children heard a loud sawing noise and noticed people up in the trees cutting branches. We talked about the job of a tree surgeon and why they need to cut branches sometimes.
The Thursday afternoon group made a raft to sail on the river. You can see the launch in this video.
Video FS 14 PM
The children in this group also learned about fire and whittled sticks to toast their marshmallows.
The trees at this part of the walkway have been felled to allow a greater view of the river and viaduct. We love to stop and look at this view each week as it changes so much but is always inspiring.
This week we had very confident children who reached the height of their choosing using rope and their problem solving skills. The rope was then used to create a swing for everyone to enjoy.
Others continued to explore the forest.
On Wednesday and Thursday sessions in the forest were cancelled due to the weather and so we used the green area behind the centre.
Children explored the area, investigating the ice with magnifying glasses. Some found large muddy puddles and encouraged others to jump in. Children used the ropes and cooperated with each other so that they got to the top of the hill. They also played a game of tug of war.
This was our first week of the new block and we have been so impressed with the children getting ready into their outdoor suits in super quick time.
It was a cold start to our forest school journey but that did not stop us having fun.
The children learned about boundaries – where they can go and explore in safety and where they cannot go beyond without an adult. They also took part in risk assessing the site for any hazards.
Then it was time to explore and investigate the new environment.
We look forward to observing the children and noting how they extend their learning next week. Please remember layers ,cosy socks, gloves and a change of clothes for when we come back to the centre. It looks like we are in for a cold one !
On Tuesday our group of children were continuing to explore the forest floor. We explored different leaves and used an identification sheet to see what kind of trees we had on site. The children also used some clay to carry out some transient art.
One Child had asked to make perfume, she found some items from the forest and mixed these with water to make a woodland smelling perfume.
Some of the children also felt confident enough to make their own tree cookies. The children listened very carefully and worked with adult support to cut through the wood with a folding saw.
Wednesday was another cold day. Our children and staff decided together that it would be safe to keep our session short. This week we returned to the river, we took different resources from the nursery to test if they would float or sink. We watched as the current moved our items around the water. It was very exciting.
We tried plastic.
We also tried metal.
Lastly we tried paper.
Then we tried to rescue our metal boat as it floated down the river.
Thursday’s group were excited to get back to the Forest as they missed it last week. We decided as a team it was better for the environment to use more natural resources in the river, as if they did float away it would not cause pollution. The children then collected resources from around us. One child created his own raft during his time at the Family Centre and brought it with him to test in the water. It was a very exciting time.
Our children also enjoyed climbing trees and using ropes again. It was lovely to see how confident the children have become.
This was our ninth week at Forest school, this means that next week will be our last for Tuesday and Wednesdays groups. Next Thursdays Forest school will be postponed due to the Christmas concerts. We will go to the forest on the 20th December instead.
It has been lovely to watch the children develop new skills and build their confidence and self esteem. Please find some of their developments placed within their learning journeys.
It all started this week when we found an acorn. We talked about the acorn and where it had come from and we used our tree identification guide to help us. We found out it was an Oak tree and there was one nearby.
The children then made beautiful woodland transient art.
We took some tools with us to the forest on Wednesday and we made wooden objects. We then thought about if they could float or if they would sink.
We decorated them too.
“It’s a photo frame!”
We tested the objects out on the river.
The Thursday group was cancelled due to the weather but we will be back next week hopefully if the weather improves.
The theme this week has most definitely been MUD! The children were so excited about making mud slides and getting completely muddy and they had a ball – staff did too!
The Tuesday group played with mud, made patterns in the mud and of course created a mud slide.
It was nice to watch the water as it was moving fast and a bit noisier than usual due to the rain.
The Wednesday group explored a new site as we felt the river was just too strong and high to go to our usual site and it was still raining.
The children negotiated a new hill and we set up the tarpolin to keep our bags and gear dry.
Stephanie got ready for us to use our tools to make tree cookies and she gave the children a safety drill.
It proved to be too wet to use the tools safely so we decided to try again next week if it’s drier. We had our lunch and hot chocolate and because the rain was still falling we decided to start making our way back to the centre earlier than usual.
The children have loved to roll down the hills as we talked about in a previous post but with the grass being wet a mud slide formed easily. It was mudtastic!
The Thursday group had experienced the children coming back from the forest covered in mud the previous day and wanted to try the mud slide out too – who wouldn’t want a go on this slide?
This week the children taught us, the adults, that we should never stop having fun and we didn’t!
We have been developing our gross motor skills as well as hand eye co ordination and balance through rope work.
We found a small hole in a tree – ‘I wonder what’s inside?’
We began coppicing with the full day group on Wednesday. Coppicing is a method of woodland management and allow trees and plants the chance to grow. The children made the fire paying attention to the safety rules and then we had our hot chocolate
When we were ready to head back to the centre the tree was missing ! So we identified another tree to use for coppicing on Thursday.
The children developed their patience, problem solving and risk assessing. They used real tools with adult support to cut a tree. They picked an Ash tree as there are many of those trees in the Forest school site.
The children are growing in confidence as we expected this week. We were particularly pleased to see children challenging their gross motor skills, problem solving and assessing risk.
We introduced open fires this week and we talked about the safety around fire. The children also whittled sticks using knives and then used their stick to toast their marshmallow or pastry on the fire.
The children are motivated and enthusiastic about the tree swings and ladders and each week we have tried to increase the level of challenge by changing something about the swing or ladder. This week we removed one stair from the ladder so it was a bit harder to balance and still climb the ladder.
We also made the foot swing with a monkey bar to swing from.
We still love the swing!
The children challenged themselves by putting the rope over two trees and making their way across.
The children are enjoying the freedom they have to move around and to be in the great outdoors. It is a lovely experience each week to look at the views, see how the trees are changing and to admire the local wildlife.