Forest School Autumn 1
It has been an incredible first half term of forest school. The majority of our pupils (including our children from Little Acorns) have enjoyed several sessions so far!
This week’s focus has been celebrating the Autumn harvest alongside enjoying some Halloween fun. There has been a clear focus on building positive relationships and collaborating to design and make potions and pumpkins. Children have also learnt how to weave and make tea light holders using materials from the wild.
The magic has been sprinkled and the forest school team await to continue their adventures in the winter.
Thank you to Mrs Carpenter and Mrs Elliot for making the forest school experience so special for our pupils!
After some rather wet days, we enjoyed some sunshine on our final day of Forest School this week! After our Forest School yoga, we headed outside and did some more pond dipping, keen to see if we could catch some elusive newts! And our patience was rewarded as Ava managed to catch three! Harlee loved catching the tadpoles in his net and even caught a tiny freshwater shrimp!
We used clay and sticks to make tree monsters and learnt how to make a little coil pot for our ‘slip’, which is clay and water mixed together to make a sort of clay glue.
Our older children took on the challenge of making the tallest stick tower and adapted their design many times to get the end result. A great deal of collaboration and resilience were required!
Everyone planted a butternut squash seed to take home to grow and Jack and Harlee planted some potatoes too.
Den building and tree climbing were great fun and Ellie discovered some beautiful orchids living in our woods. What a fantastic day!
Mrs Carpenter and I are really missing you all and are looking forward to some exciting Forest School times with you all again sometime soon.
Keep looking out for all the fantastic nature out there, wherever you are and take care. From Mrs Gordon and Mrs Carpenter
At Forest School on Wednesday, we weeded the raised beds. Some of the weeds were tricky to get out, as their roots were so deep but Feo showed great resilience and dug out some tough thistles and dandelions! We discovered so many minibeasts and the snails were definitely the favourite! Ryan enjoyed collecting a whole family of snails and giving them all names!
Tuesday was a rather wet day so we did our Forest School yoga in the hall. Once we had got into all our waterproofs, we headed outside and warmed ourselves up with hot chocolate and biscuits before getting stuck into building our bug hotel. It was a definitely a collaborative affair and we all worked together to build it. We layered pallets and bricks, then filled it with tubes, cardboard, twigs and sticks to make some great hiding places for our bugs.
We found soooo many snails and Felicity made us some delicious soup in the mud kitchen! A great day despite the weather.
We’ve got a new Mud kitchen at Forest School and the children loved playing with it today! We had children from Year 2, 3, 4 and 5 and it was lovely to work with a mix of ages. Numerous cups of ‘coffee’ were made for us in the Mud kitchen, as well as pizzas and cake!
We spent time exploring the pond and discovered hundreds of tadpoles as well as other creatures, which the children identified using the laminated pond key.
Leaf prints were created onto fabric and can easily be made at home. Just place a leaf under some thin fabric, such as an old pillow case and use the end of a rolling pin to bash the leaves. You can use flowers too, such as dandelions and buttercups which grow everywhere!
To add a bit of exercise into our day, we took part in the Bunny Hop challenge and Gracie is in the lead with 70 bunny hops! She also impressed us with her bunny hop jumps over 3 blocks. Forest School yoga was great and we learnt lots of different moves including the Adder, the Heron, the Snail and the Butterfly pose.
What a busy day! It was great but we’re missing all our friends and really hope to see you back at Forest School when it’s safe to be back.
Stay safe and keep looking out for all the fantastic things in nature when you’re out for your daily exercise or in your garden.
Everyone in school enjoyed the glorious sunshine at Forest School on Friday and it was ‘all hands on deck’ as some of the staff worked to get the pond finished! Our pond is looking amazing and is bursting with life. We found newts, frogs and oodles of tadpoles!
At Forest School, we made fairy fires in scallop shells, created fairy and elf homes in the woods, searched for mini beasts with the Early Years children and practised out knotting skills. We also planted butternut seeds to take home to grow over the Easter holidays. Everyone was awarded a Forest School certificate by Mrs Carpenter at the end of the day, to celebrate their achievements.
We really missed all our friends and hope you were all able to enjoy the sunshine in your garden, if you have one.
Take care everyone!
The Key Stage 2 children, who were in school today, enjoyed a lovely sunny day at Forest School. We welcomed our Year 3 children who haven’t experienced Forest School before and they very soon became experts!
We started with a scavenge hunt with two teams searching for corks and pine cones. After a welcome drink of hot chocolate, the children then whittled hazel sticks and made mini fires with a flint and steel. Meanwhile, others searched for mini beasts and enjoyed playing and exploring in the woods. Spring is definitely on it’s way and our Forest School area is looking so pretty with primroses and daffodils springing up everywhere.
In the afternoon, the children learnt how to build a fire and we used our whittled sticks to cook marshmallows on the fire to make smores. They were very sticky but delicious!
Year 5 had a fun time in Forest School today and came up with some great ideas for carrying on Forest School at home while school is closed for a while. They enjoyed playing the game ‘Farmer and Foxes’, making dens, abseiling down the muddy slope, searching for mini beasts and creating a drum orchestra!
We’re very excited to find out what ‘mini’ Forest School projects you will come up with while you’re at home! Have a look at the list Bonsai came up with if you need any ideas. Why not practise tying different knots; there are some really good animated videos on how to tie knots on YouTube!
Both Year 5 classes had the opportunity to learn about bees and making honey from a local bee-keeper in Forest School today. Mary A’Hearne and her partner have many hives around the Teignmouth and Dawlish area and Mary brought in a hive in to show the children and she explained how bees make honey (there were no bees in the hive that she brought in!).
It was fascinating to find out about all the different jobs bees have in the hive and to learn just how amazing bees are! The children learned about the waggle dance that bees do, which shows the other bees where the best places are to get nectar! At the end of the session, Mary let the children taste some honeycombe as well as honey that had been made by bees from the flowers of two different trees: chestnut and sycamore. What an incredibly interesting day – we all learnt so much!
We have recently received a very kind donation from one of our families and we used it to buy trees for our Forest School area: willow, hazel and apple. We started planting them today in the Forest School area and had some great advice on where to plant them from a parent who is a tree surgeon. It was incredibly hard work and the children in Year 6 were extremely resilient. They were rewarded with some well- deserved hot chocoate which was made with water heated in our Kelly Kettle!
Year 6 had a busy day at Forest School today! Luckily we also enjoyed some lovely sunshine in-between the showers! One group spent time designing a Parkour course and devising a Parkour routine. Parkour is where you move rapidly through an area, negotiating obstacles by running, jumping, vaulting, rolling or climbing in order to travel from one point to another, in the quickest and most efficient way possible. We have a number of pupils at Hazeldown who are very skilled at Parkour and it’s fantastic to see them sharing their skills at Forest School.
Year 5 spent the day learning all about composting and how to make rot pots with Alex Mack, an education officer from Resource Futures. She explained the importance of the 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and taught the children how to turn simple organic matter into compost. The children filled plastic bottles with layers of wet and dry materials such as paper, grass, leaves, fruit and veg waste and a small amount of water. Each week, we’ll observe them and monitor the rotting process.
They also learnt what can and can’t be composted. Did you know that it could take over 100 years for a crisp packet to decompose because it is made from ‘metallised’ plastic film.
The children also had fun finding mini beasts in soil and using magnifying glasses to examine them in detail. We found some pretty speedy centipedes!
Fir Class invaded Forest School today as Saxons and beat their drumming rhythms to show they had conquered England! They also learnt how to build with wattle and daub. The ‘wattle’ was made from willow which was woven around hazel sticks. The ‘daub’ was a messy business, made from a mix of mud, clay and straw – and they mixed it with their bare hands and their feet!
Another group made bird-nest bags to hang in the trees for birds to find materials to make their nests with. They filled mesh bags with upholstery stuffing, wool and tiny twigs.
This week, the Year 6 children who didn’t go on the Residential, became Native Americans for a few days and enjoyed exploring the Forest School area in their tribes. They had tribal tasks to complete, such as: making a headdress, creating tribal war paint designs for their faces, climbing trees, devising celebration drumming rhythms and making a 5 minute fire to boil water in a Kelly Kettle so they could have hot chololate. They also learnt how to make friendship bracelets and wrote a legend describing ‘how their tribe became’. Each task required different skills, but resilience and collaboration were needed for every task! It was lovely to see some sunshine and some children took a rest from their tasks to bask in the sun – even in a wheelbarrow!
Bonsai class spent the afternoon making bird feeders for our Forest School area. Using old coconut shells and pine cones, they squished in lard, mixed with seeds, fruit, grated cheese, breadcrumbs and raisins. Other groups made Christmas wreaths and stars and practised their knot tying using an animated knot website. Next week, we will take the bird feeders out to the Forest School area and hang them up for the birds to feast on over the Christmas holiday!
Ebony class started Forest School with a stick tower challenge – which group could build the tallest tower using only small sticks and natural materials found in the woods. There were some interesting results! The winning tower was made by slotting small, hollow sticks into one another, making it look like one long stick! After that, a group re-located some old tyres from the garden behind the bungalow … and found some interesting wildlife – huge frogs! The bug hunt proved popular, especially using the magnifying pots, as some of the bugs were very tiny. After some whittling of hazel sticks and some fire-making with a flint and steel, a welcome cup of hot chocolate was enjoyed by all – the wind was chilly today!
Holly class got into some serious whittling at Forest School, with some great hazel sticks. They used potato peelers and worked methodically to create some lovely carved pencil points. Other groups spent time in the school grounds orienteering and developed some fantastic map reading skills. The clock was against them so they had to be quick to find all 12 flags! Read more
In Monkey Puzzle class, the children learnt how to tie a range of knots using a great website called ‘Animated Step by Step Knotting’. They discovered that there are a number of expert knotters in the class who soon started teaching others to tie some tricky knots. Ms Elliot is very talented at plaiting, so she taught some complicated plaiting skills. Outside, the children played Bat and Moth, a game that taught them about how bats use echo location.
Year 6 Ebony class spent the morning at Forest School making miniature homes for animals in the woods… and then creating a mud slide! Thanks to the waterproofs provided by the PTA, they could get as muddy as they liked! We ended the morning with a delicious and warming cup of hot chocolate – what a morning! In the afternoon, groups played Bat and Moth, while others completed a Forest School quiz or wrote a Forest School rap!
Monkey Puzzle enjoyed getting into the groove making music in the woods today! They used old plastic bins and water-butts as drums and sticks from the woods to beat out a rhythm. Some drummers accompanied singers too. To finish the end of our Forest School session, we enjoyed a Christmas sing-song in the sunshine.
Redwood class had a busy afternoon both in and out of the classroom today. They took part in a carousel of activities which included: practising tying different knots (including the over-hand knot and the figure of eight knot), playing a memory game with natural items called Kim’s Game, making Stickmen and women based on the story ‘Stickman’ by Julia Donaldson and playing a game called ‘ Bat and Moth’ using echo location! Bats use echo location to find food in the dark; they send out sound waves which produce echoes when they hit an object.
Year 5 braved the elements today and enjoyed getting muddy! Despite the persistent rain, we made a fire, lit matches, cooked delicious smores, whittled hazel sticks and practised striking with a flint and steel. We even managed to practise the Year 5 Christmas songs around the fire in the pouring rain! Now that’s resilience!
Fir Class had loads of fun in the woods creating their tree monsters to keep the wicked witch away from the woods. They listened to a traditional tale about tree monsters and then made their own. Some were left hidden in the trees – others were taken home!
In addition to completing an orienteering challenge today at Forest School, Year 6 built shelters in the woods, lit a fire and cooked deliciously gooey smores (melted marshmallows squished in-between biscuits), played an amazing Squirrel and Acorn game and created a music area with some cool drumming beats! Roro, the teddy, joined us too – well, it was Children in Need day!
Ebony class were set an orienteering challenge today at Forest School! Each team was given a plan of the school and the grounds. Twelve points were identified on the map and they had to find them as quickly as they could. It certainly helped to develop their skills in orienteering and collaboration.
At Forest School, Redwood created crazy tree monsters using clay and natural objects from the woods, such as berries, fir-cones and feathers. Every season, nature offers us a visual drama and winter is no exception. The spooky silhouettes of gnarly branches provided us with amazing hiding places for our monsters!
Year 5 challenged themselves by using potato peelers to whittle hazel branches. They learnt about positioning themselves in a safe stance and the importance of the safety bubble when using tools.
Year 5 had a fantastic day, building and lighting a fire which was great fun! They learned about the fire triangle and the safety aspects of lighting a fire. We had a chilly start to the day so those children who had layers and hats and gloves really appreciated having them.
Year Three have had a fantastic time over the last two days taking part in Forest School activities on our wonderful school field. We have hunted for treasure, played hide and seek, learnt about fire safety, lit a fire and baked damper bread and smores! How lucky we are to have these wonderful school grounds to learn in!
What a fabulous day we had!
The children were very excited this morning and enjoyed singing on the bus on the way to the farm (only a few had their fingers in their ears).
We were busy from the moment we arrived. Meeting the animals, learning about the farm and where our food comes from. We learnt how Occombe Farm is an organic farm and has a SSSI (site of special scientific interest) on its land. Not forgetting learning about the all wild animals the farm helps to look after too. Animals such as the Greater Horseshoe Bats which eat the beetles which eat the cows poo. We also created our own animal out of clay to live on the farm and found a place for it to live.
After lunch we went to cookery school and made our own pizza. MMMMMMMMMM tasty. After weighing and measuring the ingredients we left our dough to rise while we went to the farm gardens and picked vegetables and herbs to put on top of our food.
A big thank you to everyone who offered their support.
What was your favourite part of the trip?
Will you be growing your own herbs for you next pizza?
What did the coloured spots on the sheep mean?
Why did all the animals have tags in their ears?
Why did we need to be careful when adding water to the dry ingredients?
This morning, Ebony Class worked in groups to create natural Mandelas within the forest school grounds. They worked with people they didn’t often work with, problem solved, foraged for items, took risks with their artwork as well as working to deadlines.
They all created some amazing pieces, showed great reflective skills and supported one another.
Everybody has been impressed with what has been created.
What do you think? Could you re-create your own at home?
Yesterday afternoon, as the weather reached its hottest point, Holly class showed great enthusiasm and resilience for forest school.
They cooked sweet and savoury damper breads over the scorching fire as well as have a scavenger hunt through a go the woods.
All staff involved were incredibly impressed with the resilience and collaboration skills shown.
Yesterday, Ebony class had fun in the sun at forest school. They got to play and explore in the woods whilst scavenging for things, cook damper beds the fire, play trust games and so much more!
They showed great collaboration skills and supported one another so well. Not only that, but they showed great resilience for cooking over an open fire when the weather was so hot!
Well done Ebony, a day to be proud of!