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Forest School Blog

Beeches busy busy day…

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

What a lot we did today! Beeches worked really hard and as always were full of enthusiasm for everything.

The first job of the day involved a lot of teamwork. The children worked together to plant a young Ash tree. We looked carefully at the grey bark, the black buds and counted 9 leaves on each of the leaf stems, then took turns to put compost into the bottom of the large hole that had been prepared beforehand. Next we carefully placed the tree into the hole and filled it with more compost. We put the grass back on top and gave the ash tree lots of water. We’re looking forward to watching how much our new tree grows and enjoys its new home.

Then, after a request from the children, we checked back on the tadpoles in our pond. We learnt that it takes 6-12 weeks for tadpoles to develop into frogs. We watched them swimming around and noticed that although they were fatter, they still hadn’t developed back legs.

Next we discussed the very exciting news that the blue-tit eggs in our birdbox had hatched this morning. The children were very excited and were keen to watch the newborn chicks on the live YouTube feed. We watched the birds collect grubs and caterpillars and feed the babies…and made sure that we were very quiet as we tip-toed past the birdbox on our way into the woods

Once in the woods, we discussed the caterpillars that Beeches have been looking after for the last couple of weeks. They have watched them grow from tiny caterpillars, to big ones and this week they curled up into a chrysalis, ready to become a butterfly. So todays choices included creating a caterpilar life cycle to show the different stages of growth so far, and making a butterfly feeder, ready for  when they emerge.

The life cycle was made by attaching a tiny sticky ‘egg’ to some wool at one end, then finding a small thin stick for the caterpillar, a bigger fatter stick to represent the caterpillar as it grew, and finally a cone wrapped up in wool for the chrysalis.

Painting fun in Foundation

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Group 2 from Oaks and Firs had a lovely time this week, creating some artwork using these forest school paint brushes…made by tying different leaves onto a stick.

It didn’t take them long to get stuck in and to start experimenting…

When we ran out of paint, we decided to make our own by digging and collecting lots of soil and mixing it with water…

We used it to finish our amazing forest school art. Well done Group 2!

Watch our Bird Box Live!

Thursday, 10 May 2018

We’ve all been excitedly watching our very own Langley School blue tits through our bird box camera, for a month or so now. We saw both birds as they built a nest, we watched the female begin to sleep in it overnight, then saw her lay an egg a day until there were 11 in total. Since last Tuesday, she’s been sitting on the eggs, incubating them. Usually it takes 13-15 days, so we should start to see some chicks hatching soon!

The live YouTube link can be found here:

This is the latest video…

And there are lots more videos on our YouTube page, so you can scroll through and watch all the action at any time…just search YouTube for Bird Box Langley or click here.

…and enjoy watching!


Frog life cycles…Forest School style!

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

The tadpoles in our pond are growing quickly…we noticed that their bodies were much fatter than when we looked last week! We scooped a few out of the pond, to have a closer look at…

Outside, we started off our very rainy session with a fun game of ‘tadpoles beware!’ We talked about which animals might try to eat the tadpoles, and decided thar cats and birds would be our ‘predators’ for the game. Everyone wriggled and pretended to swim around like tadpoles…but as soon as they heard a ‘miaow’ or ‘tweet-tweet’, the children had to quickly hide on a ‘lilly pad’ (a tyre or hoop) before the cat or bird caught them. We all had great fun playing this game, using good listening skills and helping one another to escape and keep safe.

Then we thought about what we already knew about frogs…and decided where to stand along the knowledge line. Everyone chose where to stand…depending on whether they could tell us 1-2 frog facts, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8 or an impressive 9-10 things about frogs.

Next we listened to and learnt lots of things about frogs! We learnt that they are amphibians (meaning they live on land and in water) we learnt what they like to eat, their life cycle, how they move and lots more. Then we worked in 3 groups, to produce a picture on the ground of either frogspawn, a tadpole or a frog. The discussions, creativity and results were brilliant! Look at what Beeches made…

The frogspawn was made with lots of stones, gathered and placed carefully by this group. They completed it by adding little spots of mud onto the middle of the stones, to represent to eggs inside the spawn.


This wonderful tadpole was made by first drawing an outline in the ground with a stick, and then lining the outside of the shape with sticks, before filling the middle with leaves. Perfect!

Lastly, the frog! It started off with a green belly, then was given a lovely big body, four legs and big bulging eyes. We were very impressed with how well Beeches worked (and cooperated with one another) on this task.

We also had LOTS of fun jumping through this big muddy puddle, pretending to be a frog! Some of us didn’t mind getting  just a little bit splashed!!

At the end of the morning, we thought about how much we’d learnt, and allowed the children to decide whereabouts on the knowledge line they now were. It was great to see that all they recognised that they had moved up the line and that they could now tell us a little bit more about frogs.



The Hungry Caterpillars

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

A really lovely first  session today for Group 2 in Oaks and Firs. They started the morning looking at these very small caterpillars. We will be watching them grow and change into butterflies over the coming weeks.

Then we went on a picture hunt, looking for hidden pictures around the woods. Everyone got involved, finding them in all sorts of places!

When the pictures were all found, we gathered in the log circle, looked at them all and then read a story- ‘The very Hungry Caterpillar’.  As we read each page, the children selected the matching picture…and pegged it onto a line.

As always, a busy morning investigating… with lots of activities to choose from and lots of enthusiasm!


Foundation Group 1…wiggly worms

Thursday, 26 April 2018

This week, Group 1 from Oaks and Firs had their first Forest School session of the year. They had a lovely time exploring and using the site, and enjoyed finding the ‘wiggly worms’ hidden around the area.

Once they’d found a ‘worm’, the children looked around for a suitable stick to wrap it around…there was lots of discussion about whether the stick should be long or short, thick or thin, bumpy or straight…but everyone chose their own perfect stick.

Wrapping the ‘worm’ around the stick was tricky, but with a bit of practice, we had excellent results…  

Later on, we looked in the digging pit for real worms, and found LOTS! The children were fascinated and learnt how to carefully hold the worms on the palm of their hand. Even those who were a little unsure at first, were soon keen to feel and observe the worms as they curled, twisted and slithered across their hands. Well done Group 1…we were very impressed!


Lots of fun was had during the morning, including cooking in the mud kitchen, using the obstacle course, investigating with the balance scales, climbing…and this lovely kind sharing on the swing!

NEW LIFE…and new things!

Sunday, 22 April 2018

What a beautiful sunny start to the new term! Everything is springing into life-have a look at some of the exciting things happening in our garden…

We had a lovely surprise when we got back to school-Mrs Smith had discovered frogspawn in the pond over the  holiday, and when Beeches looked, they saw that tadpoles had hatched. There were lots and lots! We looked closely at their long tails and enjoyed seeing them swimming around.

More exciting news…the blue tits had finished building their nest. Beeches watched the live footage and one of the Bird Box videos on the ipad, and then sat in the birdhide, trying to spot the birds coming in and out of the nesting box. Even more exciting…we’ve since found an egg in the nest, and are expecting an egg a day for the next week or more.

The children also looked at the plants and flowers that were beginning to grow in the wildflower meadow. They helped to sow some more bee friendly seeds and then gave them plenty of water.

We’ll be checking on the progress of the tadpoles, the eggs and of course the wildflowers in the coming weeks…watch this space.


Lastly, a massive THANK-YOU to Claire at Myths and Magical Things, who has very kindly donated these beautiful fairy doors to Langley School. Our new doors will be finding their way into the Forest School site during the term…I wonder who will discover them first…?


Bird Box News!

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Last week, we were all very excited to see that the Langley Bird Box had been occupied! Many of the classrooms were watching it all happening on the smart-boards, via our YouTube live stream. Seeing our lovely little bird building and arranging her nest has been fascinating. You can check out the live feed (and videos) using this link. 

And here are a couple of videos from today…


Our Visit from the Mayor

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

There was much excitement last week, when we had a visit from Councillor David Pears- the Mayor of Sutton Coldfield. He arrived with this huge cheque which Langley School had been awarded, for the exciting environmental work that the children have been involved in.

The Mayor was keen to meet some of the children and to see some of the things we’ve been doing. We showed him our pond, our bird boxes, feeding area and hide, the hedgehog house and some of the things we’d made…and he even enjoyed a wander through the willow tunnel! The children were an absolute credit to the school, talking knowledgeably and with enthusiasm about what we’ve accomplished and what else we’d like to do next.

(click the photos to enlarge them)

Beeches Super Shelters!

Saturday, 17 March 2018

During reflection time last week, Beeches class talked about how much they’d enjoyed making their animal homes, and asked to continue with this. They also decided that they’d like to have a go at making something a bit bigger…big enough to fit themselves in! So that’s what we did this week…

This first group made a shelter big enough to fit the whole class into! They built walls, a front door, a sofa and a securely tied roof.

The next group worked really hard, arranging branches and long sticks to make this very creative rabbit home! They explained to us  how they had carefully moved the sticks, how the rabbit got into his home, where his bed was (on a ledge at the top of the shelter). They even designed a bouncing platform, for the rabbit to climb up and jump from into his house!

We were thrilled to see this young man taking part in the activities for a short time…and he loved the cheers and praise he got for helping to build this shelter.

This next group decided to make a rabbit home too. They worked beautifully as a team, praising and encouraging one another throughout their build. They made a bath for the rabbit, set the table for his lunch and even found a ball for him to play basket ball with when he woke up!

Last but not least, this threesome worked on a shelter that once again, the whole class could fit inside. They added walls and a roof and a lined the floor too.

Well done Beeches…you were ALL brilliant!