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Forest School Blog

Archive for February, 2017

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.