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Larches-Nature Paintbrushes…and lots of fun!

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

This week, we tried out another use for a stick…look at what resources the children were given and what they made from them…

After twisting leaves/feathers/dried grass/buds/pine needles onto a stick, the children set about making their own mud paint, by collecting some soil and adding water to it.

Some chose to follow on from last week and make an elder stick-man, by cutting fresh elder sticks and pushing out the soft pith from the middle.

But for most of the session, the children led the way, finding their own activities and being very creative! These boys spent the morning being pirates…they buried and hunted for treasure. They found special ‘treasure stones’, worms and a pot full of sycamore saplings (which they decided they would plant in see if they grew bigger)

Elsewhere, an adventurous group of boys worked together to create a new fun area. They found and hung a tyre from a tree, then decided to extend it by adding a walkway and a log bridge to get to the swing. We were SO impressed!

Our other creative duo worked together to complete a den they started a few weeks ago, this time adding a slide to it. They decided it wasn’t high enough to slide down, so worked out that by adding more tyres they could increase the height. Once the slide had been played on, they decided to decorate it, using the nature paintbrushes and mud paint that had been made by their friends, earlier in the session.

Well done Larches! What a great morning.

Elder wood stick-men (and lots of stick activities)

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Each session this week started with  the game- “I’m not a stick, I’m a…..” Anyone who wanted to, could go into the centre of the circle, repeat the phrase and add their own bit of creativity. We had sticks that were for juggling, a golf club, a magic wand, a motorbike, a bow and arrow and a boat…to name just a few!

This week, the children had the opportunity to make an elder-wood stick-man. Firstly, they listened carefully to a tool talk, and learnt how to safely use the secateurs to cut sections of elder. Elder is special because it has a soft pith inside, which can be poked out.

Once cut, the elder stick slices were hollowed out, and then thread onto pipe cleaners. With a few twists, stick-man’s arms body and legs were complete. We were very impressed at how well both Larches and Maples children concentrated on this task.

Some children chose to go on a stick hunt, searching for different types of stick- thin, thick, bendy, pointed, bumpy, tiny…

Once collected, the children were challenged to use and practice their knot skills to tie their sticks into a bundle. Some children have clearly been practicing as they made a really job of tying up their sticks. 

Lastly, some children chose to make forest-school art! Some lovely pictures of the stick-man story characters appeared across our site.

And not just stick-man pictures, but a boy, a swamp and big-foot too!

 

A fun and Firey Day!

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Another lovely busy time in Forest School for Larches and Maples. This week the children looked closely at a real nest (and an egg!) made by a robin…it was much smaller than the swan’s nest in the Stickman story. Before long, lots of different sized and shaped nests had appeared across the site, all with their own special features and ideas.

Both classes had previously enjoyed using the tarpaulins to make shelters, so these were available for the children to use if they wanted to. Larches decided to work together on their’s….they worked very well as a team.

In Maples, one very determined young man worked hard on his shelter, using the obstacle course to hold it up!

Also this week, some children had the opportunity to use the fire strikers for the first time to make mini ‘Fairy-fires’ They had to understand and demonstrate how to use them properly and needed to follow our fire safety rules. Lots of learning took place as they observed and discussed in which order to add the different sized sticks, how to keep the fire going, how it went out and how to keep safe.

To finish off their session, both classes enjoyed helping to make hot chocolate, by feeding the fire beneath the Kelly Kettle.

This weeks Superstars!

Super Shelters

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

This week (building on from their developing team-work in previous sessions), Larches and Maples tried out their shelter-building skills.

They were given a tarpaulin and challenged, in small groups, to find a good space to put it. We looked closely at how our shelter above the log circle was attached, then each group walked around our woodland site, looking for a group of trees that they could attach their own tarpaulin to.  Then they set to work with only minimal direction from the adults!

It was great to see the groups problem solving, realising what they needed to do next (for instance, working out through trial and error that using just one rope was not enough!) coming up with their own ideas (such as climbing up onto a tall stump to attach a rope higher up) and talking amongst themselves.

They learnt new techniques and new knots, and supported and helped one another really well.

Larches…This group was very good at wrapping their rope tightly around the trees…they made a low shelter which was raised in the middle.

This group made a rectangle of ropes around 4 trees and attached their tarpaulin low to the ground. The whole class sat underneath…watched by a small robin, who had hopped around whilst the shelter was being constructed!

The last of the Larches groups worked very well putting up a high shelter. We were really impressed with their ingenuity! Everyone could stand up under this shelter.

Maples…These children worked really well together. They worked out how to attach the tarpaulin using the holes around the edges and tried out all the knots themselves.

These two children worked closely together to make their high shelter…which had a closed in back too.

This next group tried out different sized trees to see which ones were strong enough to hold the rope securely. They discovered that the holly branches weren’t very good…but the tree trunk was!

Lastly, these very creative children put up a high shelter that we could all stand underneath…complete with  seats and their very own fire place!

 

 

Introducing our Bird Feeding Area and Bird-Hide!

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Our Langley and Coppice Forest Rangers meet up and enjoy working and playing together every Tuesday lunchtime. Over the last few weeks, they have helped to create these two lovely bird feeding areas, topping up the feeders and making new ones each week. The new bird hide is looking great and we’ve spotted some birds looking very interested in visiting us!

This has been a great way for our two schools to learn together. The children have worked brilliantly as a team, have enjoyed learning new names, making new friends and have been a real credit to both Langley and Coppice Schools. This is how they did it…

 

Today, we took part in the Big Schools Birdwatch with Lucy from the RSPB…

Firstly, we learnt how to identify different birds (Lucy was very impressed at how knowledgeable the children already were…they could already name several different species) Then we took our binoculars and ID charts and went bird spotting in different locations around the school grounds. We spotted crows, wood pigeons, robins, a nuthatch, blackbirds, herring-gulls, magpies and great tits and at the end of the afternoon we submitted our results online.

Den Building

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Maples had a great start to today’s session. They repeated the Stickman circle game, this time leading the game themselves. They were then set a challenge- to work together to create dens with sticks, logs, tarpaulins, ropes…and anything else they managed to find in the forest! They learnt how to safely move long sticks by holding one end and dragging them on the ground, and had to make sure that they were aware of their friends when balancing the sticks on the dens so that no-one was poked with them!

Maples had a huge amount of fun making and then playing in their dens. They invented all sorts of adventures, from welly-eating monsters that came knocking on a den entrance, to creating a warm bed to lay (and tell funny stories!) in.

Fun finding the ‘Family Tree’

Thursday, 2 February 2017

What trustworthy classes Larches and Maples proved to be this week!                                                                    We began our session with a great Stickman based game. We looked at a picture of Stickman’s ‘Family Tree’ and challenged the children to select a secret tree, to feel it whilst blindfolded, and then identify it after they had been led away. The children worked in three’s with one wearing a blindfold. The other two children chose a tree and carefully led their classmate to it. They learnt to walk slowly, to hold and support them and to talk to and reassure their team-mate along the way. In reflection time at the end of the session, we heard some fantastic comments…

I was a bit scared but I did it” “He held my arm and my hand and talked to me. I felt better”  “It was hard but I tried”  “I liked it when she helped me” 

Next we talked about what else we could do with sticks…someone suggested making a fire! Mrs. Smith explained about the different sized sticks we would need to collect (and dry!) for when we had a fire, and everyone helped to collect and then sort the sticks into three different bags…making sure that they were no longer than from our elbow to wrist.

As always, the children thoroughly enjoyed their self-directed activities. These 3 boys created a very funny game…which made them giggle a lot!

The digging pit was a hive of activity (and VERY MUDDY for Maples!)…more stick men were made…dens were created…an assortment of meals were made…obstacles were conquered! All in all another busy and happy two days at Langley Forest School.

Stick Homes for very funky stick men!

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

What a great time Larches and Maples had in Forest School this week…and how hard they worked to help their Stickman friend!

The children discovered that Stickman was upset…all the houses that he and his friends had made, had been broken! They immediately suggested that we should help to rebuild them…and off they set to create some fabulous stick homes.

Larches

Maples

We were SO impressed with how well both Larches and Maples worked together and supported one another.

After finishing, admiring and discussing all the stick homes, some children chose to work on the stick men they had made last week. They were very creative! We had a selection of leaf faces, plus a scarf, amazing hair and a fully clothed stick lady!

 

 

 

Introducing Stick Man…

Thursday, 19 January 2017


This week, both Larches and Maples listened intently to the story ‘Stick Man’. We’ll be using it as a stimulus for lots of Forest School activities this term…and hoping that the children come up with plenty of their own ideas about what they’d like to do whilst outside.

The sessions started off with a story picture hunt…the children were challenged to find and match the characters and pictures from the Stickman story. Some were more difficult to find than others! We were impressed with how independently the children completed the challenge…and how well they helped one another too.

What a surprise we had when we spotted this big Stickman in Langley Forest School! We shook his hand and welcomed him.

Everyone was keen to make their own stickman, so set off to find a special ‘Y’ stick, that could be used to create their stick man legs. A careful bit of twisting with a pipe cleaner, and stickman’s arms were complete.

Connor learnt how to make a clove-hitch knot..and then worked really hard to lash his stickman arms onto the body with string

As always, there was plenty of opportunity to choose activities…and this week the mud kitchen was very busy.

 

There was also a great game of hide and seek going on…and some very special ‘decorating’ too!

‘Welcome to Forest School’, Larches and Maples

Friday, 13 January 2017

Larches and Maples classes were excited to begin their term of Forest School sessions this week…some of them for the very first time.

After being introduced to our Forest School Rules, both classes explored the woodland site and discovered all it had to offer. The children learnt where the boundaries were, shared hot chocolate around the log circle, were introduced to and played a very active listening game…and a good time was had by all!

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LANGLEY IS A SCHOOL WHERE INDIVIDUALS ARE VALUED FOR THEMSELVES
AND WHERE ALL ARE EXPECTED TO GIVE OF THEIR BEST