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Forest School Blog

Archive for January, 2020

Willows

Thursday, 30 January 2020

Last week, Willows children used the loppers for the first time, whilst helping to put together the bug hotel. They were so careful and sensible, that some of them had the  opportunity to use the loppers again this week…this time to help cut back some of the overgrown holly. They made a good job of trimming the overgrowth, and made one of the  hammocks-that had prickly branches hanging over it-much safer to use.

Willows children also enjoyed pattern making with natural resources…look at this well thought out 2:1:1:1 repeated pattern-

The mud kitchen had a hard working chef, who cooked up a marvellous mud meal, and the swings and hammocks were, as always, very happy places to be!

Choo-choo…here comes the rope train!

Thursday, 30 January 2020

Oaks children were very inventive this week…creating a great game with a rope, that turned into a train! The train driver led the way, with passengers joining along the route. Not only was it great fun, but also demonstrated lots of developing social skills and negotiation, a huge amount of problem solving (especially when the  rope became wrapped around trees), and plenty of language and communication skills.

One of the activities on offer was colour matching-looking closely at a selection of natural objects and finding similar colour cards. This promoted lots of discussion…

Oaks children also had the opportunity to use and play with some number stones-using them for counting, adding, ordering and matching…and some of the class had fun investigating the mini-beast discovery table…

The outdoor ‘loose parts’ store was well used too…with drainpipes, tubes, cable reels, ropes, wooden planks and foam bricks all featuring in this ball run!

As always, a lovely happy morning all round.

 

Squirrel Obstacles, a Wormery and Sorting…dead or alive!

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

This morning, Acers began their session fulfilling a request from last week-which was to play ‘1,2,3…where are you’. They took turns to hide and respond to the  call of ‘1,2,3 where are you?’…with a loud shout- ‘1,2,3 I’m here!’ Everyone really enjoyed calling out or listening for where the hidden sounds were coming from!

Then we gathered in the log circle to discuss today’s activities. Some children chose to help design and make a squirrel obstacle course, using any of the many resources available. We were astounded at how creative the ideas were!

We started off by making a zip wire-the children tied a rope between two trees and clipped a pot onto it. The squirrel could sit in it and whizz from one end to the other!

Next came a swing…followed by a slide- with a barrier of bricks at the end to stop the squirrel falling off!

Next they added a balance beam, then a wooden pathway and at the end it was completed with a large pole to climb up. The pole was fitted into a big hole, which took a long time to dig!

Everyone was very proud of their hard work…and we think that lots of woodland creatures might be enjoying this over the next week!

Also today, we created a wormery. We dug for soil, carefully removing any stones or sticks. The soil was placed into the  wormery, and alternated with layers of sand. We found and added lots of worms too.

Then we added some leaves and covered the wormery over, as worms prefer it to be dark. We’ll be watching the worms move up and down the  wormery over the next week or so and will making sure we spray it with water and add a few scraps of fruit or salad leaves so the worms have plenty to eat.

Lastly today, we talked about what we could see in the forest, that was living/dead/had never been alive. It was a bit tricky sometimes, but we all had a go at sorting out the things we’d found into the different groups.

 

Willows rescue the Bug Hotel!

Thursday, 23 January 2020

Willows worked together this week, to help repair the Bug Hotel, which was looking a bit shabby and in need of attention.

Willows started off by helping to build up the layers of pallets, adding bricks between each one…

Then everyone helped to fill pots, and the spaces between the pallets, with natural resources such as leaves, sticks, stones, pine cones, straw and vegetation. What a team Willows were! They all worked really hard and made a great job of filling the hotel with different habitats…

Some children used the loppers to cut lengths of bamboo-the hollow sticks will make great hidey holes for lots of different insects.

The completed bug hotel-ready to attract lots of new residents!

Puppets, printing and play

Thursday, 23 January 2020

Oaks had a great time this week, using the stage area to put on a puppet show. There was much laughter as the woodland animal puppets danced, sang songs and played peekaboo!

Some children enjoyed using the mini-beast stampers…

…whilst others investigated our mini-beast discovery table.

And everyone had fun whilst learning and playing together.

 

Acers amazing animal homes

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Acers are proving to be a fabulous class to work with! Today they started off their morning, recapping the number line activity we did at the beginning of last week’s session…except this time we asked them to stand next to the number of animal homes they thought they could name independently…

Everyone chose their numbers well! And  if, when asked to tell us the names of the animal homes, they realised they were standing by the incorrect number, Acers children then worked out whether they should move up or down the  number line.

Last week, after our nest building activity, some of the class asked if they could make some homes for other animals…so that is exactly what we did! Mrs. Smith set a challenge to build a home that would keep a woodland animal dry, safe and warm. We looked at some of the woodland animal toys, got into teams and then worked together to make these amazing creations!

Team 1 made a home for a mum and dad squirrel. They started off at the end of the see-saw as they thought that the plank made a good roof. Then they added hay to keep the squirrels warm, planks of wood to protect them and keep them dry…and a long pathway leading up to the entrance.

Team 2 chose a mouse. They built walls from bricks, then built a roof to cover the mouse, using sticks to balance over the top of the bricks. They found a piece of artificial grass in out outdoor store and used that to make a  garden for the mouse. Then they added more planks to the roof to make sure the mouse stayed dry and finished off by making a playground complete with tunnel, and a wall all around the edge of the garden!

Team 3 looked for a tree for their squirrel…and decided on a large tree stump on the ground. They cleared out the leaves to make the inside clean, added straw to make a soft dry bed, then protected the squirrel by covering the outside in long sticks. We talked about how well disguised he looked inside his finished home!

When all 3 teams had finished, we took turns to look at each home, to ask and answer questions about it. We also decided what we liked about them all. All 3 teams were very proud of their work and enjoyed a round of applause from their classmates.

Before hot chocolate, a biscuit and our reflection time, we had the opportunity to choose our own activities. One of the  favourites today was retelling the story of the 3 little pigs in the  playhouse…there was much laughter and squealing at the naughty wolf!

Oaks

Thursday, 16 January 2020

Firs had a marvellous time this week, enjoying all sorts of different activities. An old favourite-mud making and painting-was as popular as ever…

The children loved investigating the buckets and ropes-focusing on this activity for much longer than we’d normally see them concentrate!

We also did some counting (and addition), played  on the stage, created a ‘home’ for  the  worms in the digging pit…and had a little chat to some of the worms that we found!

 

Games, sorting, remembering and making…

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Acers had a wonderful morning, proving how  much they had learnt and remembered from last week’s session.

We started off with a number line activity…everyone decided which numbers they should stand in front of…depending on how many forest animals they thought they could name. We tested them out and the children were surprisingly accurate!

Then we looked again at all the animal pictures and recapped the names of their homes. Next we sorted the habitats into 3 groups-underground, on the  ground and above the ground…

Next we played the circle game introduced last week…making it a  little harder this week by calling out the names of the homes (den/warren/nest/sett etc) instead of the animal names. Acers had to look at their picture and respond to their home by running around the outside of the circle. They really enjoyed playing this game and showed us how well they are learning this new information, by responding correctly and at times very quickly!

Then we headed back to the log circle to listen to a story-‘The Best Nest’. You can listen to it here…

We looked at a real nest that had been made by a robin, and decided to have a go at making some nests ourselves. We worked together to find small sticks to make a nest shape on the ground…

The robin loved his comfy nest, complete with soft leaves to line the bottom

These boys worked really well together to make a spectacular nest, complete with a door, a long stick at the side to guard it and upright sticks around the edge to protect it!

Well done Acers…what a brilliant morning we all had.

 

Buckets of fun…

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

This morning, Firs class investigated simple pulleys, enjoying working out how to lift the buckets up and drop them back down to the ground. We added stones to feel different weights and to see how much harder we had to pull to raise the  buckets…

“I wonder if I can lift myself up?…”

 

During the afternoon, Willows class also had a go at using the buckets. Some of the children were able to work out which bucket was heavier and then thought about how they could make it lighter…

We also had a go at decorating the tee-pee den…both classes selected ribbons to weave in and out of the strings…

And in the digging pit today, some dinosaurs had appeared! Firs enjoyed playing with them – using the logs and stumps as their homes…whilst children in Willows worked on creating different areas for the  dinosaurs to play in-including a fabulous swimming pool lined with pebbles.

It’s always great to get really stuck into an activity! This mud kitchen meal was lovingly prepared-each leaf, stick and stone carefully chosen before being added to the mix…

What a lovely, self directed shared activity…a game of peekaboo in the hammock, with shouts of ‘more!’ coming from inside!

And more shared play, a chance to practise core body strength by balancing on a moving skateboard, counting and sorting…and exploring the bushes looking for fairies!!

Acers Habitat Trail

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

It was Acers first time out in Forest School today, and they worked super hard learning the names of lots of woodland creatures…and also the names of their homes. They searched high and low around the site, looking for pictures of different animals and then matched them to pictures of different animal homes and habitats.

Back in the log circle we all practised naming the animal homes…we made funny actions to help us remember and we all called out as loud as we could!

Fox-Den…Rabbit-Warren…Badger-Sett…Squirrel-Drey…Mouse-Burrow…Bird-Nest…Worm-Soil and so on!

Then we played a circle game-we all chose an animal card and listened as Mrs Smith called out different animal names (then afterwards, the name of the animal homes.) Everyone listened carefully for their animal or animal home…and ran round the outside of the circle when the name matched their picture. It was great fun! And everyone tried very hard to remember this new information.

Acers really enjoyed their independent explorations of our site too…

And they were brilliant at choosing and completing their own sentences during our reflection time…“I was  good at finding all the different animals” “I liked it when we played the game” “I was happy when I made my own animal home” “Next time I want to go on the skateboard swing”

Well done Acers…what a lovely start to the new term.

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