Stonebroom Primary And Nursery School

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  1. Forest Schools
  2. Current Year Group sessions Year 4 - September to December 2022

Current Year Group sessions

Year 4 (koalas)         september to december 2022

Please scroll down the page to see photos of our latest sessions..... 

Year 4 (Koalas)

 Welcome to your Forest School activities page!

Here you will find details and photos of all our sessions in the Woodland and on the Animal Park.  Please scroll down the page to see what we're getting up to each week!

We are already into the second half term of our Forest School sessions!  Time goes so fast!  We are getting to know our wonderful animals and have already learned a lot about their needs and how to look after them all!  Over the next few weeks we will be learning how to take care of the different habitats in our woodland, we will be looking at food chains and we will see how the woodland changes from autumn and into the beginning of winter by the time our sessions finish in December!

We will have about 13 weeks of Forest School sessions in total and there's a lot to pack into each session.

PLEASE REMEMBER TO BRING YOUR FOREST SCHOOL KIT ON THE DAY OF YOUR SESSION! There are a lot of children in each session who are coming without kit and it is taking a long time to get everyone changed - this means we have less time with our animals and in the woodland!

Please make sure you wear sensible clothes for your Forest School session each week.  Have a look on the main FS page if you are unsure what you need to wear.

YOU NEED AN OLD WATERPROOF COAT - PLEASE DO NOT WEAR YOUR BEST SCHOOL COAT FOR FOREST SCHOOL SESSIONS - IT WILL GET MUDDY!

Please have a look at the Planning and RA tab (to the left if you are on your laptop / Menu : Forest School : Planning and Risk Assessments if you are on your phone) to see what we have planned for Year 4 this term. We will also take advantage of any spontaneous learning opportunities that present themselves while we are in the woodland and on the Animal Park each week.

Have a look at the write ups and photos of our weekly Forest School sessions below!

Session 9 - 22nd and 24th November

Woodland Food Chains and discovering Fungus!

Our Animal Park was really muddy after all the rain we've had recently, so we went straight into the woodland this week but on the way past the coops, a lot of us noticed how much our young chickens have grown.  Miss T said all the birds are getting used to being locked in now and have settled down quite well in their coops.

We had a discussion about woodland food chains when we got to the woodland and some of us remembered quite a lot about how food chains work from our classroom learning.  Miss T and Laura had set up food chain information posters on the trees and we found it really interesting to see how the food chain starts with a green plant (a producer) and goes through the whole cycle, ending up with decomposers which break down anything that is left from the food chain into nutrients that go back into the soil so that new plants can grow to keep the food chain going!  We found this process fascinating and also learned how important each consumer in a food chain is to keep the bio diversity of the woodland in good working order to ensure all layers of our woodland remain healthy and productive.  We learned that among other detrivores, fungus is a major part of the woodland eco system and is one of the main decomposers, breaking down all the deadwood and even the fallen autumn leaves.  We had a discussion on how the Detrivores (worms, woodlice, millipedes, snails, slugs AND fungus) all play a hugely important part in keeping the woodland healthy and providing nutrients for the trees and plants.  We went on a fungus hunt  and found SO many different species.  We even found some little maggots eating some fungus and LH said "so even the decomposers eat the decomposers!"  Fabulous stuff! Miss T and Laura have learned a lot about fungus and they knew which ones were safe for us to touch, but they told us never to touch any fungus unless an adult tells us it is safe to do so.  Woodland fungus should be left alone to do it's job as much as possible!  There was a lot of enthusiasm this week and even though it poured with rain half way through our session on Thursday, our wonderful Year 4 Forest School learners carried on discovering and learning about our woodland food chains! 

 Have a look at our soggy photos below!

There is also a really interesting short video on what happens to fallen leaves which we also discussed as part of our sessions this week.  Give it a watch, it's fascinating!

Session 8 - 15th and 17th November

Indoor session - prepping Christmas wreaths

Unfortunately the weather was so wet this week, we decided to have two indoor Forest School sessions.  It was an ideal opportunity to begin to prep our Christmas wreaths, so Miss T and Laura brought in some long willow whips for us.  We needed to make the whips more supple so we could bend them round into a circle to form the frame of our Christmas wreaths.  We all found this quite challenging and learned that we needed patience and 'stickability' for this to be successful.  We needed to 'work' the willow whips across our knees, pulling and bending them gently to break the fibres inside the whips so they would become more supple and therefore would be easier to bend.  We were surprised how long this process took and some of us rushed it a bit to start with and learned that the whips wouldn't bend properly, they just snapped.  With help, guidance and reassurance we all managed to see how our patience paid off when we eventually managed to bend the whips round into a circle and thread the thin end round and round to make the basic wreath shape.  We found it was easier to work in twos to do this and we produced some wonderful willow frames.  We will add more willow to the wreath frames over the next few weeks, then we will add holly, ivy and other 'evergreen' foliage and we will bring our finished wreaths home before Christmas!

We also had time for a couple of Forest School games and we nipped outside to play our "Ring of Steel / Trust Rope" game.  You will see from the photos that we needed to trust each other when pulling back on the rope and how the rope appears to be rigid, like steel when we all pull together.  Some of us even leant back and closed our eyes! That shows how much we trust each other!

Two very different Forest School sessions this week.. have a look at our photos below. 

Session 7 - 8th and 10th November

Orienteering and finding markers

The Animal Park is very muddy now and our chickens and ducks have to stay locked in their coops because of the DEFRA guidelines regarding bird flu.  We will be cleaning the coops out each week and we will make sure all our birds have clean water to drink and extra special treats from the piggy bucket.  One advantage of them being locked in is that we can give them a cuddle now which is lovely.  We trimmed some of the long feathers on the feet of the chickens so that they don't get too messy and dirty.

We tidied round on the Animal Park and made sure everyone had some lovely treats, hay and fresh water and of course, lots of fuss.  We cleared the river that flows from the duck coop to make sure the ducks have a good flow of fresh water going through their pond, which is especially important now they have to stay in.

We went into the woodland and looked at our woodland maps again, but this time we split into pairs and each pair was given a number.  We had to find our number on the map and then needed to work out how to get to it's location by following the woodland paths.  At the location of each number was an orange marker with an "action cookie" inside.  The action cookie is a log slice with a picture of an action on it, for example "Climb a Tree" or "Go for  Walk" or "Jump like a frog".  We had to work out a mime for the action and act out the mime in front of the group for them to try and guess.  We were really sensible around the wood and all of us found our marker and action cookie by following the woodland maps.  We had lots of fun acting out the picture and instruction on our log cookies and we even had a bit of free time at the end of the sessions.

We sang our "Layers of the woodland" song which we had remembered from Year 2!  Very impressive!

Have a look at some super photos from our sessions this week.

Session 6 - 1st and 3rd November

Woodland Maps and Hunting for Fungus!

It was lovely to be back in Forest School after our half term break.  The animals were pleased to see us and a few of us gave Horace a big hug! We fed the chickens and ducks and gave the goats some hay; we swept the roof of the goat shed and changed Horace's drinking water. We collected eggs and some of us got stuck in the mud in Horaces paddock!  It's certainly very muddy on the Animal Park after all the rain we've had recently!

We went into the woodland and Marg joined us on Tuesday.  We looked at our woodland maps because we're going to be doing some orienteering over the next few weeks while we hunt for Autumn treasures and learn how the animals and birds get ready for winter.  We remembered quite a lot about map work from Year 2, which really impressed Miss T and Laura.  We could remember how to 'ground' our maps and we could find landmarks marked on the map.  Marg showed us some old bottles that her family had dug up in the wood a long time ago, they were really interesting to look at. 

We talked about fungus and how the mycelium (root network) travels underground enabling the trees to communicate with each other and transfer nutrients.  We call this the "wood wide web".  The mushroom itself is the fruiting body of the mycelium and there are many different types in our wood, you'll see them on the photos.  On Tuesday we found puff balls, they are perfectly safe to handle and if you gently tap the top, the spores come out like puffs of smoke.  We loved watching the spores disappear into the air.  On Thursday we found some Fly Agaric mushrooms which are the classic fairy tale ones, bright red with white spots on.  We learned that these usually grow near silver birch trees.  We also learned that mushrooms are decomposers, the last link in a woodland food chain!  We are super scientists and we'll be learning lots more about woodland food chains over the next few weeks.  Have a look at our photos below.

Session 5 - 13th and 18th October

Apple Bird Feeders and Halloween Logs

We had beautiful sunshine for both our sessions this week and after efficiently doing our jobs on the Animal Park, we went to the Community Garden at the top of the woodland to make some crafts.  We made apple bird feeders (we decided to call them AppleJacks!) in the shape of characters, by pushing a tent peg (carefully) through the middle of two apples and threading string through the holes to join them together.  We needed to problem solve how to stop the string from pulling right through the apples and we worked out that if we tied a stick across the underneath of the larger apple, this would stop the string from coming right through.  We added features to our AppleJacks and they looked really effective hanging from the trees.  Most of us decided to take them home to hang in our gardens for the birds to nibble at, but there are a few still hanging in the woodland.

We then painted some logs in Halloween colours (Thursday group 2) and Tuesday Group 1 added features to the painted logs.  These will be used during the SCVG Halloween Woodland Walk next week.  They should look really spooky!

On Thursday Group 1 showed terrific team work on the woodland drum kit.. Their drum beat rhythm was fantastic and they sang an amazing rendition of the Wellerman Song.. We did video it, scroll down to the end of the photos for this session and it should be there!

On Tuesday, LM had asked if we could have a tug o' war, so we organised the group from tallest to smallest and made two equal groups of four children (two taller, two smaller) for the first round.  We worked out how to find the middle of the rope to put the marker on and then after a "Gladiator" count down, the tug o' war began.  It was all over quite quickly and the winning group pitched their skills against the next set of four, winning again quite quickly.  The last round was the winning group against Miss T and Laura and that was simply embarrasing as Miss T and Laura were out in no time at all!  You will see from the photos who was in the winning group... We may have to try this again after half term!  The team work was fantastic and it was a lot of fun.

Have a look at our photos below. 

Session 4 - 4th and 6th October

Autumn in the Woodland

We collected several buckets of dry Autumn leaves from outside the school playground and took them into the woodland once we had completed our jobs on the Animal Park.  We are getting used to all the jobs and know what to do each week to keep our animals happy and healthy.  We went into the woodland and had a look at some Autumn treasures and we learned that conkers come from Horse Chestnut trees and acorns come from Oak trees.  We looked at some branches from the Stag Horn tree which had beautiful Autumn colours on the leaves.  Some of the branches were furry, just like the antlers from a stag.  OnTuesday Marg joined our session and we threaded leaves onto a wire to make an Autumn wreath which Group 2 completed on Thursday. We hung our wreath in the woods, it looks awesome!  We had two super discussions about Autumn and Miss T and Laura were really impressed with our knowledge about fruits and seeds and about pollination.  Fabulous stuff!

We spread a tarpaulin on the woodland floor and poured our buckets of leaves onto it, then we all gathered round, held on to the tarp and threw it into the air so the leaves went really high ... have a look at the photos, we had so much fun! We did this time and time again.  Behaviour was excellent this week and we asked if we could make shelters out of tarps next week.

Have a look at our photos below..

Session 3 - 27th and 29th September

Woodland spyglasses and a new sign for our Forest School shed!

The animals were all very pleased to see us this week, and the chickens and ducks came running out of their coops when we opened the small doors to let them out.  We think the animals are all getting used to having us around now and Horace loves to sit down to be fed and even though he has really big teeth, he is really gentle and never snaps when we put the food in his mouth.  Some of us are still not sure about feeding him this way, but we are getting more confident to give it a try.  Basil the drake comes and eats out of our hands more now too... he was Miss T's house duck after he hatched in the incubator earlier this year, but when he got to about 8 weeks old, he decided he wanted to live with the other ducks on the Animal Park.  He is still very tame and sometimes comes over just to have a cuddle!

After completing our usual jobs on the Animal Park, we went to the Community Garden at the top of the woodland.  On Tuesday, Marg joined us and she had prepped some woodland spy glasses for us. We coloured them in Autumn colours and went to find something in the woodland to match.  They were really effective as you'll see on the photos.  Thank you Marg!

Tuesday's group had a tool talk for using loppers safely, and then we cut some elder twigs and hollowed them out with tent pegs.  The centre of elder wood is very soft and is quite easy to hollow out.  We made necklaces and crowns by threading the hollowed out twigs onto pipe cleaners.  Everyone was super sensible with the tools and we made some really cool jewellery to take home!

Thursday's group painted the Forest School Shed sign that we made the letters for last week.  Miss T had screwed the letters onto a board and we each painted the letter we had made.  Miss T is going to put the sign on the shed once the paint has dried.  We also finished moving the pile of chippings to the swing in the woodland and some of us dismantled the old bench that we moved last week.  There was some really super team work for both these activities and although the bench was quite tricky to take apart, some children used the screwdriver attachment on Miss T's drill and managed to remove the screws.

Two very busy and productive Forest School sessions this week - well done Year 4, it's only week 3 and we've achieved so much already!

Session 2 - 20th and 22nd September

Tidying up the woodland!

We spent a bit of time on the Animal Park because there are always jobs that need doing, like sweeping, tidying and making sure everyone has fresh water and fresh bedding.  We fed the goats a huge bag of hay and we learned that they don't like to eat it off the floor - we need to put it in the hay racks and buckets.  Horace ate quite a lot of the hay too!  We opened the small doors in the chicken and duck coops and the birds were very pleased to come out in the sunshine.  

We went into the woodland and Group 1 (Tuesday) needed to rebuild our log circle because a lot of the logs and stones had been rolled down the hill!  We showed brilliant team work and we soon had a lovely log circle again.  There was a broken bench in the woodland - some teenagers had been using it to stand on to get on the swing and this had broken it.  Miss T said that this is the fourth bench that this has happened to and now there are no more picnic benches at the top of the woodland any more.  Group 2 (Thursday) moved the broken bench and carried it all the way up to the gate at the entrance to the wood.  Miss T said she would dismantle what is left of the bench and use the wood to mend the chicken and duck coops.  Group 1 moved a large pile of wood chippings down to the woodland to cover up the exposed tree roots underneath the swing.

Group 2 had asked if they could make a new sign for our Forest School Shed on the playground, so we had a tool safety talk to show us how to use the loppers properly and then we cut some sticks to make the letters for the sign.  Each member of the group made one letter and then we put them all together to make the words.  Miss T is going to attach the letters to a board for us and then we will paint them next week.

We had two super Forest School sessions again this week with lots of practical problem solving and good team work and communication.  Well done Year 4!

Have a look at some photos below.

Session 1 - 13th and 15th September

Getting to know our Animals

Miss T and Laura were really impressed with the whole Year 4 class this week in Forest School!  Everyone was so enthusiastic and the amount of retained knowledge regarding our animals truly amazed us both!

We talked about health and safety on the Animal Park, how to keep safe and how we need to look after our animals to make sure they stay healthy and well.  We discussed the 5 S's: Safety, Shelter, Space, Sustenance (food and water) and Sentiment (love) that all our animals need and we also learned that we don't always have to pick them up to cuddle them (especially Horace!)  If we offer them food they will come over and will often stay for a fuss.  We remembered that we should be calm around them and we should never chase them or scare them.

We found the small doors in the chicken and duck coops that can be opened so the the chickens and ducks can come out to play on the Animal Park.  The small doors are there to stop Horace and the goats getting into the coops because they would mess up the chicken's beds and could also break the eggs.

We talked about the tools on the tool rack and worked out what we could use each tool for and then we did some jobs like sweeping the paths and boards and the roof of the goat shed; we collected hen and duck eggs; we made sure the goats had plenty of fresh hay to eat and we cleaned out Horace's water tub.  We also made a small channel so that the water that overflows from the pond in the duck coop could flow freely through the fence at the back of the animal park.  This makes sure the water in the duck pond stays fresh.  We had lots of fun making this river and some of us got really muddy! We also looked at the different hosepipes that take water to various water tubs.. there's one to the duck pond in the duck coop, one to an old paddling pool for the ducks to play in and one that leads to Olive the pig's water tub.  Miss T showed us how to change the hosepipes so the water flows to different tubs.  We also learned that the main hosepipe comes all the way from Miss T's house!

We really enjoyed our first Forest School session and are looking forward to next week when we will go into the woodland to explore!  Have a look at some photos below ...