Have a look at our latest Forest School News here.......Keep coming back to see regular updates!
Ethos of Forest Schools
“Forest School is based more on the process of learning than it is on the content, more on the 'how' than the 'what'. This means that genuine Forest School practice steps out of the shadow and limitation of 'planned activities' and ventures collaboratively into the realms of the unplanned, unexpected and ultimately unlimited. Learners are given encouragement to direct their own learning - this often requires catalysing on the part of the FS leader either through stimulating play in the outdoors or through 'scaffolding' a child's learning, but mostly through simply observing how children are in the outdoors.”
YEAR 4 will be starting their Forest School sessions this Wednesday, 11th September.
PLEASE REMEMBER TO BRING YOUR FOREST SCHOOL KIT TO SCHOOL EVERY WEDNESDAY MORNING TO CHANGE IN TO AFTER DINNER.
We WILL be going out every week, unless the weather is totally unsuitable, so PLEASE bring OLD CLOTHES, BOOTS (no trainers!) that are appropriate for the weather conditions on the day.
We have lots of exciting activities planned for our 14 weeks in the wood. Please have a look at the "PLANNING" section (blue buttons to the left of this text) to see what we will be doing, and to see copies of all relevant FS documents for this coming term.
Year 4 - Session 3 - 18th September, 2019
Firstly, I would like to say that I am very pleased that nearly all of Mrs Kaye's Dragon Class remembered their Forest School kit today, very impressive! Well done all of you!
We had a very busy session today. We spent some time with our animals and learned that our battery hens used to live in small cages that were lined up in a smelly shed. They never used to go outside until they came to live on our Animal Park. We also talked about how an egg is made inside a hen and that they lay one egg every 25 hours. We had a look inside the egg at the yolk and the albumen, and talked about how the yolk turns into a chick in a fertile egg. We looked at our chicks and fed the goats and Horace and Olive, our pigs. We couldn't catch any guinea pigs this week!
We explored the equipment on the main Forest School site and talked about how to play safely on everything. We are getting more confident on our climbing tree now and we really love playing on the cargo net. We found that we can sit and bounce on the slack line and it's very funny when we fall off! We also put the balance beam back over the pit on the bike ramp area, that took a lot of us working together as it's a very heavy log, but we did it and then we walked over it. Super team work Year 4!
We went down to the meadow to look at the willow dens that Year 4 made last year; they are growing really well, we'll soon be able to hide in them! We looked at the acorns and apples on the trees and found some juicy blackberries to eat and we learned that all these things are the fruits of the trees and bushes and that they are also the seeds.
We did find a lot of rubbish in the wood today, litter that people who visit our woodland leave behind instead of putting it in the bins provided or taking it home. It makes us very sad that people do this, especially as we have to tidy it all up before we can play on the equipment. It is also dangerous to the wildlife that lives in the wood, so we talked about how important it is not to leave litter anywhere. Put it in a bin, or better still, take it home!
Have a look at this weeks photos below!
Year 4 - Session 2 - 11th September, 2019
We had our first session in the woods this week and we found that quite a lot had changed since our last visit when we were in Year 2. We visited our Animal Park with Miss Thompson and Mrs Kaye and were introduced to our new chicks. We have 4 chicks that hatched on 2nd August 2019, 2 that hatched on 31st August and 5 that have been given to us by Pilsley School; they hatched 18 in the middle of July in an incubator, so they asked if we would like some for our Animal Park. Thank you Pilsley! They're wonderful! We also met Horace the pig who moved to our Animal Park over the summer holidays. He's very large and very friendly. Our goats, Norbert, Norris and Ned are still very naughty, but they ate out of our hands and they're very friendly too! We sat with our guinea pigs and even managed to catch a few for a cuddle. We are also looking after a hedgehog that Mrs George found on the school yard, he is living in the chicken coop for a while until he puts some weight on. He eats cat food every night, but he's nocturnal so Miss Thompson had to wake him up so we could see him. Lots of us said that we had never seen a live hedgehog before! You'll see on the photos below what fun we had!
We also spent some time in the woodland with Laura and Sam (Miss Thompson's son who is helping in Forest Schools this term). We had time to explore our main Forest School site and to play on the new equipment. We have a cargo net, which is just like a huge spider web, and we now have some very large tyres to climb on. There is a slack line for us to try to walk on, but it's very hard and we had to help each other to balance. We went for a walk around the woodland and found some juicy blackberries to eat; we also noticed that there are lots of apples on the trees, but they are not quite ripe yet, we'll have to wait a few weeks before we can pick them. We visited Sizzles' Den (he's our woodland dragon, ask us and we'll tell you all about him!) and then went to the pond and some of us got a bit muddy, but it was lots of fun. The pond has changed a lot since we last visited.
We are really looking forward to exploring our woodland and learning lots of new skills over the next 12 weeks. Have a look at our photos below, and there'll be a blog on our class page each week with more info on what we've been doing in Forest Schools!
YEAR 2 :
THE WHOLE CLASS WILL BE IN THE WOODS FOR OUR LAST SESSION ON FRIDAY 12th JULY.
PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU ALL BRING YOUR KIT ON FRIDAY.
Also we will be inviting your grown ups to join us for Year 2's final woodland session!
Session 9 - 3rd and 5th July
Clay pinch pots, finding woodland creatures, gathering firewood and looking for Sizzles!
Two very busy sessions this week! On Wednesday some children and staff from Morton school came to see us in action. They are setting up a Forest School and wanted to see what we get up to in our sessions! We showed them our Animal Park and introduced them to all our fluffies and furries. We also found a grasshopper in the piggy bucket! We went into the wood and found that some of Stick Man's friends had moved in and had built some wonderful homes, we were careful not to disturb them!
We went down to the pond and found that lots of the tadpoles are turning in to teeny weeny frogs; they still have tails and are not quite amphibious yet, but over the next week or so their tails will disappear and they will begin to come out of the water more.
We dug out some clay from the stream near the pond and made some pinch pots by making the clay into a ball and pressing our thumbs into the middle of the clay. We moved the clay around in our hands pinching it to form a small pot. Some of us took our pots home and when the clay dries we are going to paint them.
We went back up to the main site and had some time exploring the equipment. We showed the Morton children the swings, monkey bars and the cargo net.
On Friday we went hunting for Sizzles, our woodland dragon. We thought he might be in his den, but he wasn't there. We found some pieces of burnt wood and decided that he must have been practising his fire breathing skills. We talked about fire safety in the woods and collected some firewood for our camp fire next week. Hopefully Sizzles was listening while we had our discussion!
Have a look at our photos below; we've had two more amazing sessions in the wood and thank you Morton for coming to see us. Hopefully we'll see you again in September!
Session 8 - 26th June
Mud Faces and Gymnastics!
This week we made mud faces on the trees for a change, rather than mud faces on each other! The mud was very sloppy and sticky and we had to find a tree that had rough bark because we found out that the the mud stuck better here. We squished the mud onto the tree then we found bits of twig and leaves to make a face. Have a look at our creations on the photos below.
We have a new piece of equipment in the forest. There is a huge cargo net for us to climb on. Miss Thompson and Laura explained that we need to be careful not to get our feet stuck in the holes and that we need to watch out for each other and be considerate when playing on it. We told Miss T and Laura that the cargo net is like a cross between a huge trampoline and a hammock. It's very difficult to walk on but lots of fun.
We were all in the forest on Wednesday this week and Mrs. Bowes came with us. She said she was very impressed with our behaviour and loved our mud faces!
5 PITS PUPIL PARLIAMENT FOREST SCHOOLS VISIT
On Thursday 20th June teaching staff and children from schools within the Tibshelf Cluster came to Stonebroom for a Forest School Session.
We spent some time in the Animal Park and met the goats, Norris, Norbert and Ned; the pig, Olive; 17 guinea pigs, 5 quails and 6 chickens. The goats ate out of our hands and we had cuddles with the guinea pigs and the quails. Olive was her usual grumpy self but we made sure she had some food too!
We went down into the woodland to try and find the Woodland Dragon, Sizzles. Sizzles is quite evasive but we can often hear him crashing about in the trees and we can feel a breeze when he flies past us. Sometimes he casts a shadow over the wood and sometimes we hear him land with a loud bump! He's quite clumsy and very friendly but he often causes damage without really meaning to.
The woodland folk of Giddyland had invited us for tea in their woodland grotto, but we had to make a Dragon's Breath Friendship bracelet before we could enter the village so that Sizzles couldn't see us and follow us into the village.
When we arrived at Giddyland, we found that Sizzles had destroyed the whole village and the woodland folk had disappeared! We didn't know what to do, but several children offered to rebuild the village so that's what we did; we made some wonderful new homes for the woodland folk and we are hoping that they will come back to live in the wood and maybe even invite us for tea another time!
We found Sizzles' lair too - he wasn't at home at the time, but several of us saw him flying through the woodland. He couldn't see us because we were wearing our Dragon's Breath bracelets.
We had a walk around the woodland and went back to the main Forest School site where we had a bit of time to play and explore.
Thank you for coming everyone, we hope you will come back soon!
Session 7 - Learning to use tools safely.
Wed 19th and Fri 21st June
We spent some time on the Animal Park and we cleaned out Olive's pen, swept her feeding boards, cleaned the roof of the goat pen and fed the goats; some of us managed to catch a couple of guinea pigs to cuddle too! The quails are getting used to us now and we found an egg they had laid. The eggs are so small and speckled, so we compared the quail egg with a hen egg, You will see on the photos how small they are!
We took the trolley with all our tools and equipment down to the main FS site and we talked about how much cooler it is in the woodland because the tree canopy (that's the roof of the wood) is now closed because the trees are fully leaved. Miss Thompson and Laura were very impressed with our knowledge of temperature, and we read our woodland thermometer. It said 16 degrees C.
Miss T and Laura taught us how to use peelers and loppers this week and we were all very sensible with these tools. We worked in pairs to cut some branches and then whittled them with the peelers. Some of us made bows and arrows and some of us coloured our sticks and wrapped wool around them.
We mended our monkey bar and Miss T said how wonderful our team work was with this. We worked together to get the bar securely between two trees at a height we could just about reach when standing on a log.
Once again, a wonderful session in the woods Year 2, super listening, and super sensible behaviour with the tools. We'll see what we can make next week!
Session 6 - Friday group and mud!
Our Friday group were quite excited today, so as soon as we were changed and in our overalls, we made our way down to the Animal Park. We spent a bit of time with all the animals and met our new arrivals, the quails. Once we had fussed and fed everyone, we made our way into the woodland and down to the balance beam. We are very good at helping each other across this now and a lot of us can do it without any help at all!
We went to the pond. It was very full of water after all the rain and our tadpoles are getting very big! We rescued a lot of tadpoles from the stream that runs out of the pond and we had to learn to be very gentle with the them and get them into the pond quickly because they are not amphibians until they turn into frogs. We also learned that it was a lot more difficult to find them once the water went cloudy with the mud from the bottom of the stream. We also discovered that the cold, slimy, squishy mud at the bottom of the stream was fun to paint onto the trees. It felt lovely in our hands and we soon started to paint it onto our faces too!
Laura found some clay and we made some little finger pots out of it, and some of us used the pots to catch the tadpoles in. TH made her pot into a nose and wore it all the way back to school!
We had a lot of fun playing in the mud. Please take time to have a look at our photos below.
There is also a bit of info about how good it is for us all to play in mud just below this write up.
We all enjoyed this muddy session so much that we asked Miss T and Laura if we could have another one, and they said we could once they have washed all our overalls!
Session 6 - Wednesday group and mud!
It's been a very wet week so far, but it wasn't raining this morning, so we decided to put on our overalls and go into the woods.
We went to the Animal Park first. The goats are a bit fed up with the weather, they don't come out of their pen when it's raining, but they did venture out for some food while we were there. We had a look at some new additions to our Animal Park. We have 5 quails. They are very small and very soft. They lay teeny tiny eggs, you'd need four quail eggs to equal one hen egg! The guinea pigs didn't want to come out of their hutch today either and Olive had made a big bed under her awning to keep her warm and dry. The hens have moved into the big aviary and they were perching on their roosting poles under a shelter to keep dry.
We went into the woods and noticed that the high shelter tarpaulin was full of water. Miss Thompson found a big stick and pushed the tarp up so the water poured out and lots of us ran under it and had a shower! It was a lot of fun and the water was very cold! We could have put our hoods up to keep us a bit drier, but we preferred to get wet! We squelched down to the pond through the woods, and we had a look at the tadpoles. They are huge but not many of them have got back legs yet. We noticed that the water was flowing quite fast out of the pond and it had made a stream that flowed down the wood. There were some tadpoles in the stream so we put our hands in a rescued lots of them. We put them back into the pond. They wriggled in our hands and it tickled.
We found lots of mud and began making hand prints on trees. The mud was very sloppy and some of us painted our faces, some of us painted trees and some of us made mud angels! We went down to a very sloppy bit and played there for a while and we didn't even notice when it started raining again. We washed our hands and faces in the stream and rescued a few more tadpoles.
We were all very muddy and wet at the end of our Forest School session today, but Miss Thompson and Laura said they were very very pleased with our behaviour and team skills again. We look after each other in the wood and we had an amazing muddy session, the time went so fast and we wanted to stay and play some more.
Our Friday group said they are looking forward to having a muddy session next!
Have a look at the photos from another really fabulous Forest School session. The first photo is of us all BEFORE we went into the woods and the second and third photos are of us AFTER we had played in the mud.
Session 5 - Wet Felt Bunting making with Beverley Moss (and our grown ups!)
We had an indoor session this week, in the Children's Centre. We had written invitations to our grown ups, in class before half term, asking them to join us for this wet felt making session with Beverley Moss, a local felt artist.
Beverley talked to us about how to make wet felt out of Corriedale Sheep wool. First we had to pull small amounts of wool from the long lengths of different coloured wool pieces (known as roving), and lay them onto a piece of bubble wrap in the shape of a triangle, all in the same direction, and evenly spaced; then we added another layer of roving in the opposite direction (there's some pictures below). After that we sprinkled soapy water onto the wool, and covered it with another piece of bubble wrap; then we started to rub the soapy water into the wool making sure it was all wet and soapy, The wool began to stick together, and the felting process began. We made sure our bunting was a proper triangle shape by folding the edges of the felt over, then we rolled up the bubble wrap with the felt inside it and wrapped it in a towel; we then had to roll it a lot of times to squeeze all the water and soap out. We had to concentrate and work hard and you'll see from the photos how well we worked with our grown ups to roll, squeeze and squish our felt bunting to make sure all the fibres joined together to make really good felt!
Once we had made our bunting pieces, Beverley said we could have some more wool to make whatever shape and picture we wanted to, and we came up with some absolutely wonderful creations which we took home! Beverley has taken our bunting and she is going to sew it all together for us to hang up in the woodland!
We had a really wonderful Wet Felt making session and we want to say a huge 'THANK YOU' to Beverley for teaching us this age old tradition, and also a massive THANK YOU to all the grown ups who came in and joined us. We all learned a new skill today!
We had a bit of time at the end of our afternoon session, so we practiced our Animal Alliteration woodland game and showed our grown ups what fantastic team skills we have.
Have a look at some photos below.
Session 4 - Giant Y Sticks and tree climbing.
22nd and 24th May
The weather was beautiful again for both our sessions this week and we spent a bit more time getting to know our animals. This week we let Olive the Pig out of her pen for a run round. Some of us were surprised how wiry her hair is.; she felt quite rough when we stroked her, especially after stroking the goats. They are very soft and fluffy, especially Norris, who has very long hair!. Olive behaved herself very well and it was lovely to see her having a run round. The chickens were out of the coop for a while too; we can't leave them out for long because Mr. Fox may come and visit, but they enjoyed the sunshine and pecking at the grass while we were there to keep an eye on them!.
We went into the woodland and talked about making a giant group Wish Stick. We had a look round and decided that some of the trees were like huge Y sticks, so each group chose a tree and we decorated it with wool to catch our wishes in! This was Frankie's idea and it worked really well.
We had a discussion on how to climb trees safely. We have a climbing tree to practice on and we cleared all the sticks from around the base of the tree before we started to climb. Some of us had never climbed a big tree before and most of us were happy to have a go, and we all looked out for each other. We also showed good team work on the balance beam and the monkey bar..
We had some time exploring our Forest School site and took turns on the big swing. We are very good at looking after each other and Miss Thompson and Laura were really pleased at how good our team work and consideration for our class mates is while we are in the woods.
Have a look at some photos from another wonderful session in the woods.
Session 3 - 15th May - Our first woodland session!
We had beautiful weather for our first Woodland session, and very nearly all of us remembered to bring our Forest School kit! Very impressive!
We went to the Animal Park and met our three goats, Norris, Norbert and Ned and we fed them some special food. They ate out of our hands and let us stroke them. Ned is a bit shy and kept going up onto the roof of the goat shed! We learned that we shouldn't run after the goats, we should let them come to us, which they always do if we have food in our hands. We met Olive the pig and we know not to feed her out of our hands because she doesn't have very good eye sight and could mistake our fingers for carrots! We threw some carrots into her paddock and she gobbled them all up very quickly! We read the signs on the gate of her paddock and maybe next week we will let her out to have a run round with the goats!
The giggly pigglies are very cute, but they are very difficult to catch, they run very quickly and when we cuddled them they kept trying to hide inside our jumpers!
We looked at the chickens too, and Miss Thompson told us that we could have some chicks soon as two of the hens are sitting on some eggs. They take 28 days to hatch so we'll have to be patient and see what happens!
We went to the log circle on the main Forest School site and we learned about the Layers of the Woodland. There are four layers, and they are the Canopy layer (which is the roof of the wood, the tops of the trees); the Shrub layer, which is smaller trees; Field,layer which is brambles and tall grasses and Ground layer, which is the moss and the mud. We lay on the floor of the wood and had a look up through the canopy to the sky. It was very relaxing and some of us didn't want to get up again!
We went down to the meadow and walked across the balancing beam. There was some fantastic team work here and we all looked after each other and helped each other across the beam. Lovely! After we had explored the meadow and played in the sunshine, we walked round to the pond and looked at everything that is growing in there. There are lots of tadpoles and they are HUGE!
We will be looking at the pond a lot more over the next few weeks, and we'll be learning about the life cycle of the frog.
We had a wonderful first session in the woods, and behaviour was excellent. Mrs. Bowes came with us and said she had really enjoyed herself. Thank you Class 2!
Have a look at some photos from a really lovely session in the woods.
Year 2 - Meerkats
Session 2 - Woodland crafts in the classroom
Due to the weather being awful for most of last week, we decided to have this week's Forest School sessions in the Children's Centre.
We had our Health and Safety in the Woods discussion last week so we had a chat about this to see what our Year 2 learners could remember. We were pleasantly surprised when lots of hands went up when we asked what we should wear for our Forest sessions and how we should behave in the woods.
Well done Year 2, Miss T and Laura think you are going to be a fabulous group this term!
We introduced the Happy Bag, which we always take to the woods as it has everything in it that we could need if anyone gets hurt or feels unwell. It also has several sets of binoculars in it and a few of the children were familiar with these and showed the rest of us how to use them.
After a lovely discussion with lots of chat and super ideas for activities in the woods, we introduced the activities for today. The children made Log Animals, Log Owls and Wish Sticks. We also gave ourselves a woodland name ready for games we will be learning when we get down to the woods.
Have a look at some wonderful pictures below of our super activities this week and ask your child if they can remember their woodland name!
Easter Eggstravaganza in the Woods!
A HUGE thank you to all the members of our wonderful local community who came and supported our Easter Activities in the Woods on the 17th and 18th April!
We had a truly wonderful couple of days with activities including making an Easter basket for the Easter Egg Hunt, Easter Egg rolling (I need to say here, that the adults were more competitive than the children!), Pin the Tail on the Easter Bunny (won by Riley C.), Woodland Crown making, Air Drying Clay moulding, Log Cookie painting, and Miniature Raft making for our Raft Races on the river. We also had a Name the Easter Bunny Competition (won by Tobi SS., runner up Josh P). Charlotte, Jess, Josh and Joseph were the winners of the egg rolling competition. Well done to all our winners and to everyone who took part in our competitions too!
The weather was superb on both days and many families brought a picnic to enjoy while they joined in with all the activities.
Have a look at some photos below.
We raised an astounding £220 which will be put towards further craft days in the summer holidays.
Thank you to everyone who participated!
That's it! Forest School is over now, but thank you for a wonderful 12 sessions in and around the woods.
Hopefully you now have some new skills to take with you into the next stage of your lives.
Have a look below for details and photos from each of our sessions.
Best of luck to all of you at Secondary School,
Miss T and Laura.
Year 6 - Session 12 - 5th April
David and Nicola from The Pottery in Alfreton came in today so we could make pottery bird feeders.
We had our session in The Children's Centre.
David talked through the procedure for making our bird feeders, then he gave us a ball of clay each to roll out into a rectangle shape. We wrapped the clay around a cardboard tube, and stuck the overlap down with 'slip' (we wet the clay with water on a toothbrush and stuck it together); then we rolled a smaller piece of clay into a ball and pressed it down into a circular shape and stuck it on the bottom of our tube of clay. After we had smoothed all the joins, we decorated our pot by pressing leaves, twigs and stones into the clay to make an imprint. We made spirals and shapes out of clay and stuck those on too, then we cut a hole in the side of the bird feeder so the birds will be able to peck at the food. Finally we made a roof out of another ball of clay and this time we made a 'pinch pot' by pushing our thumbs into the ball and pinching it as we moved it round in our hands; this made the roof shape. Some of us had some really fabulous ideas for our decorations and we were all very pleased with our creations.
David has taken our finished bird feeders back to The Pottery where they will air dry for a week, then they will go into the kiln (that's a really hot oven, about 800 degrees C!) to be fired. After that David will glaze our bird feeders and they will be fired in the kiln again. He said he will bring them back to school after the Easter holidays and we will be able to take them home!
WOW! Thank you David and Nicola, we thoroughly enjoyed our session with you!
Year 6 - Session 11 - 29th March
The Year 6 children that were not at Kingswood this week had a whole day in the woodland. We went back up to school for the Mother's Day meal at lunch time.
We spent time with the animals as usual, and made sure Olive's boards were swept, we filled the hay baskets for the goats, checked everybody's water tubs and had a look at our new hens who are beginning to put weight on and grow new feathers. Some of the eggs got broken accidentally so we had a look at the different parts of an egg and discussed how the egg is formed inside the chicken.
A big thank you to the two girls who made a wonderful sign for our new hens at home. Have a look at the photo below along with all the others from another sunny session in the woods.
We made some more log cookies, did some painting, built dens and used lots of tools safely and carefully Some of us took our creations home this week, the rest are displayed in the wood, and the dens that were built are still there too.
Mrs George came down and we took her to see the pond. She told us that she was very impressed with the work that we have all done down there. It is very beautiful and our frogspawn has all hatched and is beginning to eat the filamentous algae that is growing abundantly in the water.
We had a visit from Ollie the Owl in the afternoon. Ollie is a Barn Owl, we were able to stroke him because he is so tame and we talked about what owls eat. He is very beautiful. Thank you Becky and Pete for bringing him to see us.
Our photos show what a wonderful day in the woods we had this week.
A big thank you Year 6, we have achieved lots during our Forest School sessions this term.
Year 6 - Session 10 - 22nd March
Another lovely sunny day for our sessions this week... We had three visitors from Morton School again this morning. They spent the whole morning with us.
We spent some time with the animals as usual, and had a look at the new aviary that Miss Thompson and Lauren built last week to keep our chickens safe. Our battery hens are settling in well and we learned a bit about how they were kept and why they are called 'battery hens'. The name derives from the way their cages are arranged in the sheds that battery or caged hens are kept in. They are lined up in rows and columns, a bit like an array, or how an artillery battery is arranged. The cages are very small and the hens are just supplied with food and water, but have no room to move and their eggs are collected in wire tubes. We are so happy that they are now free to scratch and peck and eat lovely food, and that they can lay their eggs in nest boxes!
We went into our lovely woodland and Laura and Miss T gave us some tool talks to remind us how to use bow saws and loppers safely. Most of us learned this in Year 4, and we could remember the safety talk. Miss T also showed us how to use the drill to make holes in the log cookies that we made with the bow saw, so we could thread string through and hang them up. Some of us were so sensible that we were allowed to use the bow saw in pairs with Laura or Miss T watching us. We made lots of log cookies, then we painted and decorated them.
We also used the whittling tools to peel some sticks and paint them and some of us improved the dens on the main site. Teegan did some amazing weaving and hung her creation on the activity tree. We had some home made carrot and sweet potato soup to keep us warm and then we showed the Morton staff how we use our trust rope.
There was some fantastic team work and communication again this week; two lovely calm sessions in the sunshine in our beautiful woodland! Have a look at the photos from this weeks sessions below.
Year 6 - Session 9 - 15th March
We had a beautifully sunny day for our Forest School session this week. We have had a bit of sad news though. A fox came to visit our chickens last Friday afternoon at about 2 pm. All of our 13 chickens disappeared, although by the next day five of them had made their way back. We were left with three cockerels and two hens. We have felt very sad about this and although we understand that the fox family have to eat, we couldn't understand why he had to take so many, and in broad daylight too! Our morning Forest School learners suggested that we have a minute's silence to remember our lovely fluffy chickens. What a lovely thought Year 6!
On a happier note, we have rescued 13 battery hens this week from a lady in Eckington, through an advert in Pets At Home seen by Laura. We have 7 of them on our Animal Park and the other 6 are on Miss Thompson's garden with her other chickens. They are very sad looking at the moment, with bald patches and very pale combs, but hopefully they will quickly recover with good food, sunshine and a bit more freedom!
Unfortunately, however, we will not be able to let them be totally free range, as the fox could well come back, so Miss Thompson and Lauren have spent the weekend building a huge aviary behind the goat pen, so our new hens and our existing chickens can be as free range as possible. Come down to our Animal Park and have a look!
We had a visitor from Pilsley Primary School this week. Tracey Hills came to see what we do during our FS sessions. She runs a Forest School at Pilsley and Miss Thompson and Laura are hoping to go and see them in action soon. Thank you for coming to see us Tracey. Come back soon, it's good to share ideas!
For the rest of our Forest School session on Friday, we dismantled the big fort on the main FS site. It has been there for two and a half years, and was beginning to fall down. We have piled the wood up around the boundaries so we can use it for other activities in the future. There was some terrific team work during this activity; there were some huge pieces of wood and we needed to work together to move them safely.
We visited our meadow and mended the willow dens. They are beginning to grow, but we added some fresh willow whips to fill in the gaps.
Our afternoon group hung their felt bird pods in the trees around the school yard. Have a look next week during break and lunchtime and see if you can find them!
We walked round to the pond to have a look at the frogspawn. There's a lot more now and the plants are beginning to grow too. It's looking very beautiful, why not come down to the woods and have a look for yourselves?
Have a look at our session photos below.
Year 6 - Session 8 - 8th March
Our first session back in the woods since half term! It was good to be back, but it was very muddy today. The sun shone for the whole session though and we managed to get lots done!
We were joined by three members of staff from Morton School today, Mr Flint, the Head teacher; Mrs. Forrest and Lisa Baines. They are beginning their Forest School programme and came to see what we do during our sessions. It was lovely having them with us and they asked us lots of questions.
The Animal Park was very muddy and we got stuck in Olive's pen which was like mud soup! We did manage to clear her feeding boards and make a pathway to her pen though. We filled the hay baskets in the goat shed and collected a few eggs from the hen coops. The guinea pigs had some lovely green veg, but as usual they were very shy and ran away when we tried to pick them up for a fuss.
We went to the log circle in the main FS area and Miss Thompson gave us the felt bird pods that we made last week. They looked really good and we hung them high in the trees in the hope that some little birds may make their nests in them. We had to find a way to hang them on a high branch, but we worked together and managed to work out how to do it.
After this we sorted out the digging tools and some of us went down to the meadow with Laura and started to clear out the tyre planters. We found all sorts of insects in the soil, but we tried not to disturb them too much! Miss Thompson took a group up to the pig fields and we dug out some well rotted manure into the wheelbarrows and buckets. We had to work together to get the barrows down to the meadow; it was really difficult getting down the steps, the wheelbarrows were really heavy! We tipped the compost into the planters and we will be planting some wild flower seeds next week.
We went round to see our new pond and we could not believe how much frogspawn has been laid in there! Our pond is thriving and the plants are beginning to grow too! There is a good flow of water coming from the Spring, after all the rain we've had and the water flows through the pond and down a little waterfall at the far end. The dam we built at the bottom of the field is holding up well too!
To finish with, some of us had another mud facial (some may call this camouflage, some may call it simply getting muddy....), then we collected all our tools and came back to school.
Another wonderful session, with fabulous behaviour and amazing communication and team work! Well done Year 6 and thank you to our visitors from Morton School, we hope you will come and visit us again soon!
Year 6 - Session 7 - 1st March
Beverley Moss, a local felt artist came in today. She showed us how wet felt is made out of sheep's wool, and then we had a go at making it for ourselves! We had to separate the wool fibres and lay them in a lattice pattern on some bubble wrap, then we repeated this process until we had about four layers of wool fibre with a piece of bubble wrap in between. We sprinkled the fibres with lots of warm soapy water (that's the 'wet' bit!) and then pressed them between two more pieces of bubble wrap to make the water soak in. We folded the edges over to make a rough circle shape and to seal the edges, then some of us made patterns with different coloured wool over the top. We rolled our flat bird pod up in a tea towel and kept rolling it on the table so the fibres began to shrink and pull together. We kept rolling and rolling until most of the water had been squeezed out.
We cut a small hole in the matted together fibre and pushed a balloon inside. We blew up the balloon and it made our bird pods 3D!. We had made a handle on at the top and once the fibres have completely dried out over the weekend, we will pop the balloon and our bird pods will be ready to hang in the trees. Hopefully some small birds will choose to make a nest in them. We'll have to wait and see whose pod the birds choose first!
We will hang some of our bird pods in the wood and some in the trees around the school grounds.
It was fascinating to learn about the art of wet felt making, a process that has been used for over 5000 years.
Thank you Bev for showing us the basics, we can't wait to have another try so we can learn more!
Have a look at our photos below.
Have a look at our wonderful new pond!
A lot of hard work has gone in to completing our new pond area over half term and the support and positive feedback from our wonderful community has been amazing! From carrying stones, logs and plants to visiting and photographing this beautiful newly refurbished area of our woodland, our Forest School team cannot thank everyone enough for being so supportive this week.
Thank you to everyone who has donated tools and plants too, we've had a very busy and productive week.
Many, many frogs and pond creatures have already moved into this wonderful new habitat and hopefully we will find lots of frogspawn in our pond within the next few weeks. Have a look at how our pond has evolved on the photos below.
A special mention to Year 6 too for the initial digging out and plant removal last term, we couldn't have done this without you!
Year 6 - Session 6 - Friday 15th Feb 2019
The weather was beautiful this week! Such a change from last Friday! We were able to spend quite a bit of time with our animals today, they were very chilled and relaxed in the sunshine. Jelly, our Forest Schools dog, came for our session today, it was lovely to have her with us. She is very good, and stays with us all the time.
We went down to the pond to do a bit more digging out, and we had to work out how to divert the stream that runs out of the pond so it didn't run on to the footpath through the wood. We build a dam with sticks and mud and made the water go the other way! We dug out where the spring enters the pond and there was a lot of water coming out of the ground, so it was quite difficult to dig the pond much deeper because it was very muddy. Some of us nearly lost our wellies in the sticky mud!
We are really learning to work together and there was a lot of good communication today while we discussed the best way to make the stream flow away from the footpath. It was fascinating to watch how the water changed direction!
Have a look at our pictures below to see how muddy we were!
The children took a lot of the photos today, we have some budding photographers in our group!
Year 6 - Session 5 - Friday 8th Feb 2019
Moving logs and stones, tool work, stick dens and getting wet!
We weren't sure if we would get into the woods for our Forest School sessions today, as the weather was very wet and windy, but at 9 am and 1 am, the rain had stopped, and although it was still quite windy, Miss Thompson and Laura made the decision that it would be safe enough for us to be outside. Most of us had proper clothing today, apart from a couple of pairs of wellies, and we got changed in record time too! (We're getting much better at this now...).
The morning group moved four pallets from outside the school office, down to the Animal Park to start with (Miss Thompson told us that they are for a little project after half term....); then we went down to the school field and brought up some big logs. They were very heavy and slippery and we had to work together to get them up the steps and onto the Animal Park (these are for our 'little project' too...). The morning group spent a bit of time with the animals. The goats didn't want to come out of their shed, they don't like the wind and rain, so we filled up their hay baskets and gave them a cuddle in there. The giggly pigs are still very hard to catch and we had to get right into the cage to find them! Olive's pen was very muddy today, and the morning group swept the slippery feeding boards and cleaned the very muddy poo area. We spent some time in the woodland and the morning group met a character called 'Mike Raphone'. If you look through the photos below, you will see him, he interviewed us while we were using our tools and he was wearing a black coat with a hood and he had an American accent. He was very funny. We also met another character called 'Windy Britches'. Oh we had a lot of fun in the woods today! We used loppers and potato peelers and started to make some stick dens.
The afternoon group also brought some logs up from the school field, but in the pouring rain. We got very muddy and the logs were very slippery and heavy; more fantastic team work here too! The rain water was pouring out of the gutter over the chicken coop so we had a wash there and some of us even had a shower! Then we moved some large rockery stones from the top of the field down the very slippery path to the pond; we put the bigger stones in wheelbarrows and carried the smaller stones. Some of us had a ride back up in the wheelbarrows! The rain stopped after about half an hour and eventually the sun came out, which helped us to dry out a bit. We went into the wood to build some new stick dens and we also used loppers and potato peelers.
Miss Thompson and Laura said they were very impressed with us all today, we were motivated and on task with good communication skills, which enabled us to work together to get the jobs done! They were also impressed with how much we had remembered about using tools safely, and we were also able to show the children who weren't with us when we did Forest School in Year 4 how to be safe with tools. Hopefully we'll be able to use bow saws soon!
One child said at the end of today's session that 'he wished he could be in Forest School every day, just like Miss Thompson'!
Thank you Year 6 for a thoroughly enjoyable day today. Have a look at the photos below to see how much fun we had in the rain!
Year 6 - Session 4 - Friday 1st Feb 2019
Tidying up our Forest School site
It was another very cold day today and it even snowed for half an hour this morning! We had to break the ice on the animals water containers - we need to make sure they all have enough water to drink. We swept and tidied up all the paddocks and sheds, and collected 5 eggs from the main chicken coop. We filled the hay racks in the goat pen and made sure the guinea pigs had enough hay to keep them warm too. We tried to clean up Olive's paddock, but the ground was too frozen, so we only managed to scrape her feeding boards in the morning. It was a bit better in the afternoon so some of us dug a path through the frozen ground so Olive didn't hurt her trotters! (That's her feet!)
Miss Thompson and Laura told us that we wouldn't be able to dig the pond out today because the ground was frozen, so instead the morning group went to the main Forest School site and dismantled some of the old stick dens that had started to fall down. We piled the sticks around the boundaries of the site so they can be used for dens and bug hotels or firewood in the future. We made a seesaw out of a very long tree branch - it worked really well until it broke! Some of us started to build a new den and we used loppers to cut some of the sticks down.
The afternoon group dismantled the Geo Dome that was built in September when Mrs Kaye's Dragon class were in Forest School. It had blown down in the wind, but it was quite difficult to take apart and it took us a long time. Some of us made a bug hotel by knocking a big stick into the ground using a large stone as a mallet. We put other sticks around it and held it in place with rocks around the base. We had to problem solve, talk to each other and work as a team to make it stand up, but we were successful and thoroughly enjoyed working out how to do it! We wanted to walk along the balance beam across the leaf pit, but it was quite slippery so we had to help each other across it. Some of us fell off it, but it was a soft landing so we were ok!
In both groups, we found that the longer branches that were on the dens were too heavy to carry, so we had to work together to move them to where we wanted them. They were very heavy, but we did it!
Our wood looks a lot tidier now, and we even had some homemade hot soup to keep us warm while we were working!
Have a look at our photos to see how we got on on Friday.
Year 6 - Session 3 - Friday 25th January 2019
Animal cleaning and pond digging.
The weather was a lot more mild today, about 6 degrees C with a bit of light rain in the afternoon. The rain did not deter our efforts to dig out our pond!
We managed to get changed in record time, which meant we had more time to spend in Forest School. We started by cleaning out our animals; the morning group cleaned out the guinea pigs, swept Olive's feeding boards, and swept the tables in the goat paddock; the afternoon children swept the roof of the goat pen and raked out the chicken coops. We found 6 chicken eggs and had cuddles with several chickens, guinea pigs and of course Olive and the goats.
After this we headed straight down to the pond to start the excavation process. Our pond is only shallow and it dried up for three months last summer, so we have decided to dig it deeper and put and pond liner in it so hopefully it will be a more sustainable habitat for the creatures that have chosen to make it their home. We need to get this done before half term so that the frogs can move back in in time to lay their frogspawn. Our pond has a constant supply of fresh water fed into it from a natural spring.
We carefully removed the plants, and took away the dam that holds the water in the pond. We found about six frogs and lots of dragon fly larvae which we carefully put into the buckets with the plants and some mud. We will put all these back once we have finished. The frogs were gently guided towards the log pile we had made with the sticks and mud from the dam. Hopefully they will wait there until their new home is ready!
It all looks a bit of a mess at the moment, but we are hoping to get it finished within the next couple of weeks.
Not only did the pond area look a bit messy, but our Year 6 children did too! They were covered in mud and pond weed when they returned to school ! Some had chosen to paint their faces with mud (for beautification purposes, of course!) and some simply chose to sit (or fall ) in the mud. The water filled many pairs of wellies and we all squelched back into school at the end of the session.
The children all worked really hard today, their communication and problem solving was amazing, and they worked as a team to dig out some of the bigger plants, and the discussion on how to divert the water that ran out of the pond once the dam was removed was fabulous!
Miss T and Laura have been very impressed with the amount of work we have all managed to get done in one session.
Well done Year 6, let's see what we can achieve next week!
Have a look at our photos below...
Year 6 - Session 2 - Friday 18th January 2019
Re-introduction to our woodland.
It was very cold this morning, about -1 degree C, we had to make sure we had plenty of layers of warm clothing on to keep us warm enough! Some of us said we would bring a few more layers next week if it is as cold as it was today!
By the afternoon, it was much less cold, about +2 degrees C, but we still needed plenty of layers of clothing on and the ground was still frozen, some of us said how cold our toes were!
We spent some time with the animals, we noticed how thick the goats fur is and we were determined to give the guinea pigs a cuddle. Olive was as grumpy as ever, but behaved herself once she had been well fed! We managed to catch some of our chickens again too. We think they actually quite like having a cuddle really!
We went into the woodland today and talked about how some of the trees need coppicing (that means trimming, taking off some of the dead branches to open up the tree canopy, to let more light into the wood in the summer). We looked at an area of the woodland that Miss Thompson and Laura have been working on, (with the help of Miss Thompson's grown up children, Sam and Lauren), and we could see the difference this coppicing is making. Hopefully we will be able to do some of this once we are confident with the tools.
We looked at the willow dens that Mrs Kaye's Dragon class made last term and saw that some of the buds on the stems are just beginning to show signs of growing. We'll keep a close eye on those over the next few weeks!
We walked round to the pond and on the way saw a tree with lots of dead branches on it, so Miss Thompson and Laura said we could break a few off. Dead wood breaks very easily with a loud 'snap', and these branches could break off if it's windy. We broke the long branches into smaller bits and left them in the wood, away from the main paths, for bugs and creatures to use as dens over the winter.
We went to the pond. This is going to be our main focus over the next few weeks, until half term. We are going to make it bigger and a bit deeper because we need to make sure the water stays in the pond over the summer so it is a more sustainable habitat for all the pond creatures to live and breed in. We need to carefully take all the plants out and put them into buckets with mud from the bottom of the pond, then we will move the dam and let all the water out so we can dig the pond deeper and decide how we are going to keep the water in it when it fills back up. Our pond fills up naturally from a spring that comes out of the ground.
We are going to get very muddy next week,
so we'll need lots of old clothes and wellies if possible please!
Have a look at photos from today in the gallery below.
Year 6 - Session 1 - Friday 11th Jan 2019
Health and Safety and Meeting our Animals
We had our Health and Safety talk with Miss Thompson and Laura in the classroom, and we learnt how to keep safe during our Forest School sessions, how to behave around the animals and also how important it is to have the correct clothing during the cold winter months.
After this, we went and spent an hour on our Animal Park. We met Norris, Norbert and Ned, our goats; Olive, our very grumpy pig, our 15 very frizzy chickens and most of our 17 guinea pigs. We hand fed, stroked and fussed the goats and Olive cleared up all the food that was on the floor! When we finally managed to catch some of our not-very-tame guinea pigs, we had a cuddle from them too, but they are very shy. Some of us had to squeeze right into the guinea pig hutch to catch them! We had cuddles with Fizz Bomb and Speckles, two of our hens and we put some new signs on the animal pens to tell us what jobs need doing.
We swept Olive's pen, and cleared her toilet area, but we have to leave her bed alone because she gets even more grumpy if we mess with it! We have learnt that we should not feed Olive from our hands, but the goats love to eat their dried food out of our hands, it tickles and they are so gentle! Even some of the chickens came and ate from our hands too!
Have a look at our photos below....
Year 6 said that it was good to be back in Forest School and that they are looking forward to learning lots of new skills over the next 11 weeks.
Year 6 will begin their Forest School sessions THIS FRIDAY, 11th January.
Please bring suitable OLD CLOTHES and wellies / boots.
Please see letter with relevant information below.
PLEASE SEE PLANNING FOR THE FIRST 6 WEEKS BELOW.
We are looking forward to some very exciting activities!