Stonebroom Primary And Nursery School

Welcome to Stonebroom Primary & Nursery School. Please take some time to browse our website and find out all about us.

  1. Forest School
  2. Current Year Group sessions Year 2 - April to July 24

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

Year 2 (Meerkats)

 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!

Miss T gave a Health and Safety talk in class before our Forest School sessions started on

Tuesday 16th and Friday 19th April. 

These sessions will run weekly until we break up for Summer.

The Forest School team are really enjoying working with you Year 2. We have 13 weeks of Forest School sessions in total and we have lots of fabulous activities planned for you.  

I can't believe we are into our second half term already, but we have packed so much in so far... We have been getting to know our animals and learning what jobs we need to do each week to help keep them all safe and well; we have made some amazing Well Dressing pictures with clay and natural materials; we have planted seeds in our raised beds and are watching them grow each week; we have been pond dipping and for our last week before half term, we made wooden boats and floated them on the river! 

This term we will be learning basic orienteering skills, using more tools, making bug snugs and miniature gardens and nurturing our plants on the community garden.  We will explore more of the woodland and talk about how much it is changing as we head into the summer months!  We will also be spending more time with our wonderful animals, and checking for new arrivals each week!

The planning for our weekly sessions can be found by clicking on the "Planning and Risk Assessments" tab, where you will also find a copy of the letter that has been sent home to parents, and our Risk Assessment.  A list of the Groups can be found on Meerkats class page / News.

Please scroll down to see photos and write ups from our weekly sessions on the Animal Park and in the woodland!

 Session 12 - 9th and 10th July

Dam building at the pond.

There was lots of poo scooping, brushing, raking and water container cleaning this week on the Animal Park - both groups just went and got on with jobs with little or no intervention from Miss T and Miss F.  Shaggy was well groomed on both days and we collected a few eggs, but because the birds are all shedding their feathers and growing new ones, they are having a bit of a rest from laying, because growing new feathers takes a lot of energy.  Some of the group spent time digging out the rivers from the duck ponds, and the team work involved in filling up the food kongs was fantastic!  Lots of superb conversation, problem solving and distraction of goats meant that the job got done very efficiently!

We all went down to the ponds and looked at the dams at the end of each pond - they were letting a lot of water through, which meant that there wasn't much water left in the ponds, so we decided to rebuild the dams and raise the water levels.  This was tricky to start with, but once everyone realised that we needed clay, sticks and stones to plug the holes in the dams, and we could see the water levels rising, we really got to work and made some really impressive dams!

On Wednesday, a few children in Ladybird group asked where the water goes after it leaves the ponds, so we went down to Morton Brook and we could see the cloudy water flowing into the river, which was really fascinating! 

There is no session on Tuesday (16th) next week for Rainbow Group, because Ladybird Group are owed a session from when Year 2 went to Yorkshire Wildlife Park a few weeks ago.

 Ladybird group will have a session as normal on Wednesday 17th July

THE WHOLE CLASS WILL HAVE A FOREST SCHOOL SESSION ON MONDAY 22nd JULY, when Mr Scott will be joining us in the woodland for a campfire and lots of creative activities!

Have a look at our photos from this week below.

Session 11 - 2nd and 3rd July

The discovery of a derelict miniature village in the woodland!

We were glad we'd picked last week for our river walk, it was 10 degrees cooler this week, and nowhere near as sunny!

As usual, we spent time on our Animal Park, and Miss T, Miss F and Marg all noticed how everyone just went and got on with jobs...  sweeping, raking, poo shovelling, putting fresh water in all the water containers, feeding (making sure Olive and the drakes got a bit extra food too...), grooming, fussing and generally just making sure all the animals were ok!  Very impressive Year 2!  We could not believe how much our one remaining duckling had grown too!  He is HUGE! 

Some of us noticed that Horace's teeth were shorter too, and Miss T said that she and Sam and Paul (Miss T's sons) had cut them at the weekend.  Miss T showed us some of the teeth that had been cut and she also showed us the 'bone saw' that they had used and she demonstrated on a small tree branch how this works. It's like a wire between two handles, also known as a cheese wire, that is wrapped around the tooth and pulled back wards and forwards until it cuts through!  She reassured us that Horace and Donut were ok during this process and that it doesn't hurt at all.  She said that actually, Horace had basically just stood there and let it happen!

We went up to the Community Garden and Ladybird group had a look at the raised beds where we had planted chard, marigolds, garlic chive and beetroot way back in Week 2, and we could not believe how full our raised beds were!  We tried some of our rainbow chard (the stems are all different colours, from green through to orange, red and purple)  Some of us really liked the taste and lots of us noticed the texture of the leaves, they felt quite 'rubbery' .. the leaves tasted like spinach, very crunchy and quite sweet!  Miss Fenlon took home some perennial kale for her dinner tonight too!


Miss T then told us that she had recently discovered a derelict miniature village in the woods, with steps and the remains of little structures... we had a discussion about who might have lived there and what is needed to provide a habitat, such as safety, shelter, space, comfort, food and water and we decided we should try and rebuild the village so that whoever lived there might come back.  

Ladybird group thought that there could have been little people living there, or maybe mice, so both groups started to rebuild the village, adding steps, doorways, tables and chairs, and even little clay figures to look after the village and Rainbow Group added some "guardians" in the form of stick creatures to protect the village.

Everyone really entered into the spirit of this reconstruction and FS staff were all very impressed with the imagination, initiative and superb ideas that both groups came up with.

Ladybird group asked if we could add some more things to our village next week, so, as well as rebuilding the dam at the pond, that is what we shall do.  We are all going to have a think about what we else we could put in our village to persuade the previous inhabitants to come back!

A lovely, magical week this week, year 2, well done!

Session 10 - 25th and 26th June

River Walking!

We had two of the hottest days of the year for our Forest School sessions this week!  

The Animal Park is lovely and shady because there two really big trees, so the animals can keep cool if it's too hot for them in the sunshine.  We had a bit of sad news this week, three of our four ducklings haven't made it, one of them was very small and just didn't grow properly, and two of them went swimming on Horace's water tub and drowned.  Miss T said that ducks often aren't very good mothers, they leave their babies alone too much, and when they decided to go swimming in Horace's tub, she probably wasn't around to help them when they got stuck.  Miss T said that when ducks hatch ducklings in the wild, they often hatch about 12, because not many of them actually survive beyond a couple of weeks.  Next year, she said she'll let the mamma ducks hatch more, so hopefully more will survive.  At the moment, mamma duck has one baby left, so she should look after that one a bit better now!

We shovelled lots of Horace's poo into a big bucket, and we over filled his water tub so his wallowing pool filled up.  He wallowed for us both days and on Tuesday he wandered up to the seating circle dripping with mud and came for a cuddle! We collected some eggs and some of us were brave enough to put our hands under the hens that were busy laying.  Miss T said it was ok, because they were not incubating, but the hens make a lot of noise when we try to collect the eggs, we just needed to be calm and gentle, but it takes a bit of courage to put your hand under a loudly squawking hen!

We had a chat about the life cycle of a hen and we learned lots of interesting facts... See if you can tell your grown ups the following, year 2:

  • How many eggs does one hen lay per day?
  • What age are hens when they start laying eggs?
  • What does "incubate" mean?
  • How long does the mamma hen sit on her eggs before they hatch? 

We went down to the pond to see what creatures we could see.  Our tadpoles are still quite small and haven't got legs yet.  We think the pond perhaps doesn't get enough light, so we're going to ask Sam to trim the hedge to let a bit more light in!

We saw lots of water shrimp and loads of pond skaters and we decided we are going to repair the dams next week because too much water is escaping from the ponds.

We went down to the river and had a safety talk about river walking and how we needed to be considerate and careful, and that if anyone wasn't happy to walk down the river, it would be ok for them to walk along the bank instead.  THEN, we went into the river and walked through a really deep bit! The water went above our waists and definitely filled our wellies!  On Tuesday, one of us lost our wellies and we had to feel around in the cloudy water to find them!  We also found a scooter, so we brought that back up with us.  We squelched up to the meadow where we all had a "wellie wee" before we had a race back to the seating circle in the Forest School area of the woodland

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the river walk and because the weather was so warm, none of us got cold.

Well done, Year 2, Miss T and Miss F were really impressed with how well you looked after each other.

Have a look at our photos below, to see how much fun we had!

Session 9 - Rainbows - 18th June

Checking our raised beds and making spinners!

We had a cuddle with our ducklings, fussed and fed all the animals, changed Horace's drinking water and collected lots of eggs, before heading up to the Community Garden area in our woodland.  We said hello to Hamish, Dottie and Donut who were snoozing in their shed in the top field, near to the community bench.

We had a look at our raised beds, and couldn't believe how full of lovely lush green plants they are.  The rainbow chard has almost taken over the whole bed, but there are a few marigolds trying to push through too.  We tried eating some of the chard, which is a bit like spinach, but not many of us were very keen on it!  Miss T showed us some poppies that had grown in our raised beds, but we knew we hadn't planted poppy seeds.  One of the group said "The seeds must have already been in the soil!"  Miss T and Miss White were very impressed!  We looked at some of the flowers that are growing on our Community Garden, but a lot of us didn't know what poppies, foxgloves and roses are!  We'll be identifying plants and trees in the woodland over the next few weeks!

We went to the Community bench and Miss White showed us a basket of log slices each with a hole in the middle.  There were also some sticks of different widths and she explained that we needed to choose a log slice, find a stick which fitted snuggly through the hole in the middle and then we would have a log spinner!  We decorated our log spinners with lovely colours, then practiced spinning them on some boards on the ground.  This was quite difficult for some of us, but when we got the hang of it, our spinners made some lovely patterns while they were spinning.

We went into the woodland and played our Alliteration Name Game.  We are really good at throwing and catching and we managed to work all the way around the circle throwing our moss balls carefully to each other...

We also sang our Woodland Canopy song for Miss White and she was very impressed with how we all remembered the words.  We sing this song to recognise that a healthy woodland has four layers of plants, starting with the highest layer which is the canopy or the top of the tallest trees, the shrub layer, which is the smaller trees (or the understorey), the field layer, which includes lower growing plants like nettles and brambles and the ground layer, where the worms and lots of other insects live.  All these layers have different and varied creatures living in them, which contribute to food chains and a healthy eco system within the woodland.

Ladybirds, you will have this session in a few weeks, as Golden Day is on a Tuesday, so Rainbow Group will miss a session then.

Session 8 - 11th and 12th June

A surprise on the Animal Park and more orienteering in the woodland!

Miss T told us that we needed to be really calm and quiet on the Animal Park this week as we have some new arrivals!

We had a good look around and we found that four tiny ducklings have been hatching over the last few days, but what is really amazing, is that a hen and a duck have incubated 5 eggs together on the same nest and they have hatched one chick and four ducklings!  The hen and the duck are also sharing the care of the babies, the ducklings and chick will brood under the hen to keep warm, while the duck goes and has a well earned break, then she will come back and the hen will pop out for a wander round for a little while, while the duck looks after the babies, then they will both spend time teaching the babies how to eat, drink and avoid Horace's rather large feet!

Miss T also told us that the ducklings will grow really fast and that we'll see a big difference next time we are on the Animal Park.

We are really good at getting on with jobs now, and one of our favourite things to do is to scoop Horace's poo into a bucket and tip it onto the muck pile!  We scraped all the mud and poo off his feeding area too and changed his smelly drinking water, so he had lots of lovely fresh water to drink.  We collected eggs, brushed the goats and swept and raked so everything looked tidy.  We also made sure everyone had some treats out of the school fruit bucket. Olive made quite a lot of noise to remind us to feed her too!

We went into the woodland and did some more orienteering, using our woodland maps.  We split into groups of three and each group were given number 1,3,5,7 or 9 to locate on our maps.  When we went to our given 'odd' number, we found an instruction to go to either 2,4,6,8 or 10  to see what was there.  Some of these second locations were across the other side of the woodland and we really needed our maps to be able to find them!  We found an "Action log cookie" at the second location.  These log cookies have a picture of a woodland / Animal Park action on one side and an instruction on the other side, eg. "jump in a puddle", or "be a pig!"  We talked about miming these actions and learned that a mime is acting something out without using any sound!  We mimed our action cookies to the rest of the group so they could try and guess what we were miming.  It was a lot of fun and quite tricky at times!

Our orienteering skills were really good this week, most of us can "ground" our maps now, we can work out which paths we need to use and we found all our locations without much adult help!

We have also been learning our Woodland Layers song which we sing to the tune of "Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes".  See if you can sing it to your adults, Year 2!

We have also started to learn a team game, called the Alliteration Name Game.

Have a look at our photos below

Session 7 - 4th and 5th June

Orienteering using our woodland map

Two super orienteering sessions this week Year 2, Miss T, Miss F and Marg were all impressed with your knowledge on map reading, finding landmarks and grounding your maps.  

We spent some time, as usual, on the Animal Park and Miss T told us that she has had to separate the drakes from the ducks as the ducks were getting really stressed being chased by the males all the time.  Also we are hoping to see some ducklings hatching soon, and the drakes have a tendency to be not very nice to newly hatched ducklings.  Basil and Dukey, our drakes are quite happy and settled in their new paddock, they have a pond and a safe, large cage to sleep in at night.

We worked really hard on the Animal Park, collecting eggs, cleaning Horace's water trough, putting fresh hay in the goat shed, sweeping paths and raking the ground around the seating circle at the top of the Animal Park.  We have three more chicks that have hatched this week and we couldn't believe how tiny they were and how much the others have grown!

We went into the woodland and on Tuesday, Rainbow group tidied up the seating circle on the main Forest School site, it was a mess, there were logs and sticks everywhere,  but Rainbow group soon got it ship shape again!

We looked at our woodland maps and found several landmarks, including the pond, the meadow, the piggy area. We knew that a landmark is something that is always there, a fixture, something that can't be moved.  We 'grounded' our maps so that everything in the woodland corresponded with what was on the map and although some of us found this a little tricky, we managed to find our way around the woodland using and keeping to the paths that are marked on the maps!  We spotted 10 orange triangles on our maps and Miss T explained that these are 'markers'.  We split into groups and went to find each marker in the corresponsing location in the woodland, where we found two log cookies with letters on them.  We brought all the log cookies back and Miss T asked us to make some words with them, and she said it was fascinating to watch us work together to do this, and then work out that there were some capital letters in there.  Both groups finally worked out that the letters spelled "Stonebroom Forest School!"  Miss T, Miss F and Marg could not believe how many different words you came up with using these letters!

Fantastic team work Year 2!

We'll be doing some more orienteering next week!

Have a look at our photos below.

Ladybird Group - Session 6 - 24th May

Making boats and sailing them on the river!

We completed lots of jobs on the Animal Park, including changing Horace's drinking water, shovelling poo, grooming Shaggy and making sure everyone had some food, before heading up to our Community Garden to make some log boats.  We noticed that the woodland pigs had moved up to the top fields for the summer and Sam has been planting pumpkins and corn in the paddocks where the pigs live during the winter months. We made sure Hamish, Dottie and Donut had some food too!

We talked about the story of Grace Darling and how she rescued 9 sailors who were marooned on the rocks in a storm in her rowing boat way back in 1838.  We decided to make some boats of our own so we could sail them on the river and re-enact the story.  Miss T had made us some boat shapes out of logs and pieces of wood, different shapes and sizes and we painted them and added a mast and a sail. 

While the paint dried we went and had a look at the raised beds where we planted our seeds in week 2.  Everything is growing really well and when Mrs. Sweeney came down to join us, we could tell her everything that we'd planted!  We painted ladybirds, trees and sunshine on the sides of our raised beds and they look really bright and colourful now, and everyone that visits the woodland will know that we are gardeners and designers!

We took our boats down to the river to see if they floated and they all did, but some were better without the sail.  We needed to make sure the sail pointed either backwards or forwards, otherwise our boats tipped over!  Some of our boats wanted to disappear down the river because the water was flowing really fast, so we decided to build a dam out of rocks to stop this happening, and although our dam didn't completely stop all the water, it certainly stopped our boats from floating away!  We could also re-enact the story of the Forefarshire crashing onto the rocks and Grace Darling rowing out to rescue the stranded sailors!

We had lots of fun in the river, and some of us got really wet!  Have a look at our photos below.




Rainbow Group - Session 6 - 21st May

Making boats and sailing them on the river!

Everyone was very pleased to see us on the Animal Park today, and Miss T said she was really impressed with how confident and familiar we all are with the Animal Park now.  We remembered to feed Olive, because if we don't she makes a lot of noise from her paddock to remind us that she is hungry!

Shaggy the goat looked really smart after we had groomed him.. he just stood there for ages while we made sure we brushed his long fur right to the tips.  The goats are all losing their winter coats now, so they need to be groomed a lot to help this process.  Horace's skin gets very dry at this time of year too, so some of us put rubber gloves on and rubbed special pig oil on his back.  This special oil helps to moisturise his skin and it lifts any hard, scaly skin which is very itchy for him.  Miss T says all the pigs need oiling about once a week during the spring.  All our chicks are now out and about on the Park and we are learning that we don't always have to pick them up, it's far better to just watch them running about and to offer food if we want them to come to us, rather than chasing them around trying to catch them, which just makes them run away!

We went to the Community Garden where we talked about the story of Grace Darling that we've been learning about in class.  Miss T was very impressed with our recall on the story, we could remember lots of information!  We made some little wooden boats with a mast and a sail and we painted them in lovely bright colours.  While they were drying in the sunshine, we painted rainbows on the sides of our raised flower beds, then we took our boats down to the river to sail them.  We looked at which direction the river flowed and some of us realised that our boats would sail really fast in some parts of the river.  We tried putting stones, leaves, twigs etc on to our boats to see if they would still float and some of us re-enacted the story of Grace Darling and how she rescued 9 people from the rocks in her rowing boat in a storm and took them back to her lighthouse... it was all very dramatic!

Another super Forest School session Rainbow Group, well done!

Ladybird Group - Session 5 - 17th May

A visit to the Community Garden and some fabulous pond dipping!

The weather was absolutely beautiful again today, and we have had a lovely Forest School session.  We visited the Animal Park and Miss T explained that she has bought the goats some toys.  They are 'kongs' that some of you may have for your dogs.  We filled them with goat food and hung them from trees, so the goats have to butt them to shake the food out, but if they're not quick enough, the chickens come and get the food that falls on the floor!

We are getting really good and doing the jobs now, and we collected 33 eggs.. 20 hen eggs and 13 duck eggs.  Miss T showed us a broody hen in coop 1 who is sitting on about 8 eggs.  She said the hen has been sitting there for a few weeks now so the eggs could hatch at any time... but Miss T said that some of the eggs are duck eggs, so we might have a hen that hatches ducklings!

After we had fed everyone, we made our way up to the Community Garden at the top of the woodland so see if our seeds had germinated, and they have!  The recent rain and sunshine has really helped and we have lots of Marigolds, Chard, Beetroot  and garlic.  There are also a couple of bean plants growing in the Ladybird raised bed!  We noticed that there are quite a few poppies growing in Rainbow raised bed and Miss T said that these seeds must have already been in the soil, as Rainbow Group didn't plant any poppy seeds!  It'll be interesting to see what happens over the next few weeks.

We went down to the pond and talked about how to pond dip safely and carefully so that none of the creatures or plants in the pond are harmed.  It is really important never to use nets to pond dip because creatures can get caught in the netting and plants in the pond can get damaged.  We used plastic bottles, cups and trays and we found so many creatures!  We found tadpoles of all different sizes, lots of water shrimp, some water spiders, leeches and water beetles.  Some of us even saw some tiny froglets!

We were all really sensible and careful to make sure all the water from our containers went safely back into the pond.

A super session today Ladybird Group.  Have a look at some photos below.

 Rainbow Group - Session 5 - 14th May

Have our seeds germinated? and "Let's go pond dipping!"

We were so lucky with the weather this afternoon, we had hardly any rain, even though it had been forecast!  We got lots of jobs done on the Animal Park, including putting up some new toys for the goats to play with.  They are like dog kongs, and we put goat food in and hung them up in the trees so the goats could butt them to make the food fall out!

We fed some bananas to Hamish, Dottie and Donut, but we couldn't find Dottie at first - she was fast asleep in the shed in the top field!

We went and had a look at the raised beds where we planted our seeds a few weeks ago and we saw that nearly everything has germinated!  We planted Beans, Marigolds, Chard, Beetroot and Garlic.  We talked about how seeds are made and about how important it is that we do not pick flowers because the pollinators, such as bees and butterflies need the nectar and pollen for their food.  Also when the flower is pollinated, this enables it to turn into seeds so it can reproduce.  Without the pollinators, we would have no seeds.  We looked at some dandelion seed heads and even though they had got soaked in the rain, we could still blow the seeds so that new plants can grow.

We went down to the pond to do some pond dipping, we used bottles to scoop up the water, then we poured that into white cups so we could see the creatures in there.  We found lots of tadpoles, all different sizes, and lots of fresh water shrimp.  We were super sensible and made sure we poured all the water back into the pond.

Have a look at our photos below.

Rainbow Group - Session 4 - 7th May

Ladybird Group - Session 4 - 10th May

We are all very proud indeed of our wonderful Year 2 Forest School groups.  They have produced some incredible art work this week which is now displayed at our woodland pond area for everyone to see.  So please try and get down to the woodland this weekend and have a look at these wonderful creations!

We celebrated and gave thanks for our wonderful natural fresh water spring that flows out of the ground and through our three ponds by making our Wells Dressing frames and we even collected the clay needed for these from the river bed!  We have all learned so much about this beautiful spring-time Derbyshire tradition. Read on to learn how we made our Wells Dressings!

Miss T had pre soaked our frames in water overnight.  This helps the clay to stick better.  We all went down to the pond and half the group filled their frame with clay while the other half went to the river to collect more clay.  We found a seam of beautiful grey clay on the river bank and dug some out.  We talked about the fact that this clay could be hundreds of years old and that it is formed from slate, coal, plant and soil matter that has been compressed and saturated with the river water, until it has broken down into clay. We added a bit more water from the river and took out any big stones.  Then we returned to the pond and swopped groups, so everyone got to see where the clay came from.

We had a chat about what picture we all wanted to make and after a bit of trial and error, our pictures began to take shape.  We realised that we had to press everything quite firmly into the clay because if we didn't it would fall out when we lifted the frame up to display it!

On Tuesday, Rainbow group made rainbows, a butterfly, a blossom tree and some flowers; and on Friday, Ladybird group made a ladybird, a rainbow, some flowers and an RIP to Scooby, our brown goat who unfortunately passed away a couple of weeks ago.

We talked about where the water comes into our pond and how it flows all year round, even during the summer when there hasn't been much rain!  Some of us managed to put our hands into the "well" at the top of the pond where the water comes out of the ground.

Lots of super learning this week Year 2... Well done to each and every one of you for working so hard to produce such lovely pictures.

Have a look at the process on the photos below.

(We did spend a little bit of time on the Animal Park on both days and on Tuesday, Rainbow Group had the chance to cuddle our brand new chick that hatched just a few hours earlier!  We compared this one with the one that had hatched just a week ago - there wasn't much size difference, but the chick that was a week old already had tiny wing feathers forming!)

Ladybird Group - Session 3 - 3rd May

Learning about Wells Dressings.

Miss T said rain was forecast for this afternoon, so we all took our coats.  We also took our sun hats because there are quite a lot of midges in the woodland due to the muggy weather, and hats help to stop them bothering us too much.

We spent a bit of time on the Animal Park, we needed to find the chicks that had hatched in the Year 5 classroom 5 weeks ago, because Miss T has started letting them out of their coop now and they keep running off and getting lost in the undergrowth! We had to be really quiet to see if we could hear them cheeping!  They escape out of the Animal Park too and try to get on the playground at school!  We worked out how many chicks we have all together... there is a brood of four, a brood of two and a brood of three.... we added it up to 9!  But then Miss T asked us to sit on the seating circle and she went and fetched a chick that hatched yesterday morning!  It was SO small and very fluffy and we all had a cuddle, then we took her back to her mamma, who keeps her warm and shows her how to eat and drink.   We looked at the broody hens in Coop 2 and they made a very loud screeching noise when we went near them.  Miss T said they were talking in Mamma Hen language and they were saying "Don't take my eggs, there are chicks in there!  Get off!"  So we left them well alone!

We did some jobs on the Animal Park and we noticed that a new pond had been dug in where the stream flows, it's quite clever because the stream flows into one end of the pond and out of the other end, so the ducks have fresh water flowing in whenever the hose is running.

We went into the woodland where Miss T had put up a shelter tarp in case it started raining during our session.  We went and fetched some extra logs to sit on, and we worked really well together because the logs were too heavy for one of us to bring up, and we all snuggled in under the tarp.  Luckily it didn't rain until we got back to school!

Miss T talked to us about Wells Dressings.  This is a Derbyshire (and Staffordshire) tradition that dates back many hundreds of years.  Trays full of natural clay are decorated with natural materials to make a picture and these are displayed around wells in villages in Derbyshire.  We had a look at some pictures of Wells Dressings... some of them are REALLY clever!   We have a well that feeds our pond, which is why it has fresh water running through it all year round.  The Wells Dressings are a way of saying "Thank you" for the water supply.  It is said that the tradition started after the plague in the village of Eyam in 1665.  After the plague had ended, the people were so grateful for fresh running water, they wanted to express their gratitude.

We decided would like to say thank you for the water that runs through our pond so we are going to make some Wells Dressings over the next few weeks.  Sam has made one for us to look at, and he is going to make the wooden frames.  We will collect the clay from the Morton Brook which runs across the bottom of our woodland, and press it into our frames.  Miss T had collected some for us to see and we learned that clay comes out of the ground near a river or stream, and it is made up of minerals, plants, bugs etc, just like soil, but it has been compacted over many years underneath layers of top soil, which is why it is found on river banks.  We will collect some more clay from the river next week, so we can see how it is formed.

We talked about natural materials, and most of us knew that these consist of anything that comes from nature, like wood, leaves, flowers, stones, sticks etc.  We decided we would collect anything green, like moss and leaves, next week when we make our frames so that these items will be good and fresh.  We talked about never picking flowers in a woodland because once a flower is picked, it dies and, as one child so accurately said, "all the nutrients go out of the flower if it's picked".  We need to leave all the flowers for our pollinating insects to make sure the plants produce seeds.

Miss T taught us how to use loppers safely and we split into groups and had a go at cutting some sticks.  It was quite difficult, but we communicated really well with each other and followed the safety instructions.  We collected lots of natural materials from the woodland floor, only taking things that had fallen from trees, like small twigs, and alder cones.  We found a few little stones and some charcoal and Marg found some empty snail shells, so we can use those!

We are really looking forward to making our Wells Dressing frames next week!

Rainbow Group - Session 3 - 30th April

Learning about Wells Dressings.

We decided that today has been the warmest, sunniest day so far this year!  We all took our coats, but they were soon hanging on trees because we really didn't need them!

The Animal Park is lovely and dry now, so we went and found some mud in the stream that runs from the duck pond!  We cleared the stream again and made it flow better.  We noticed that a new pond had been installed so those lucky ducks now have three ponds to play in!  The chicks that hatched in the incubator in Year 5 classroom just before Easter are now nearly 5 weeks old and they were running around all over the Animal Park.  They are very fast!

We fed all the animals out of the school fruit waste bucket,  gave everyone a fuss, and gave Horace some fresh water in his water tub... then we headed into the woodland.  We went to the seating circle in the main Forest School site today.  We remembered going there when we had our "Combustible Materials" session with Mr Scott before Christmas.  We all remembered how to get into the seating circle - we are super sensible!

Miss T talked to us about Wells Dressings.  This is a Derbyshire (and Staffordshire) tradition that dates back many hundreds of years.  Trays full of clay are decorated with natural materials to make a picture and these are displayed around wells in villages in Derbyshire.  We had a look at some pictures of Wells Dressings... some of them are REALLY clever!   We have a well that feeds our pond, which is why it has fresh water running through it all year round.  The Wells Dressings are a way of saying "Thank you" for the water supply.  It is said that the tradition started after the plague in the village of Eyam in 1665.  After the plague the people were so grateful for fresh running water, they wanted to express their gratitude.

We decided would like to say thank you for the water that runs through our pond so we are going to make some Wells Dressings over the next few weeks.  Sam has made one for us to look at, and he is going to make the wooden frames.  We will collect the clay from the Morton Brook which runs across the bottom of our woodland, and press it into our frames.  Miss T had collected some for us to see and we learned that clay comes out of the ground near a river or stream, and it is made up of minerals, plants, bugs etc, just like soil, but it has been compacted over many years underneath layers of top soil, which is why it is found on river banks.  We will collect some more clay from the river next week, so we can see how it is formed.

We talked about natural materials, then we all went to see what we could find in the woodland.  We have collected lots of sticks, leaves, Alder cones, tree bark from the dead branches on the woodland floor, and we found some charcoal.  Some of us wrote our names with it!

We are now all ready to make our Wells Dressing pictures next week.  We just need to think of a simple picture!  Some of us suggested a rainbow, like the name of our group, some of us suggested patterns with different textures and natural materials.  Super ideas Rainbow Group!

Miss T showed us how to use loppers to cut through sticks.  We listened carefully to her instructions and then went and worked in small groups. Again we were super sensible with the tools, we know they could be dangerous if they're not used properly!

Have a look at the photos from our lovely, sunny session this week!

Friday Group (Ladybirds) - Session 2 - 26th April

More jobs on the Animal Park and planting trees in our Community Garden

We had a chat with Friday Group about finding a name and they voted for "Ladybird Group".  We will be painting our planters in a few weeks with the names of our groups.

The Animal Park is beginning to dry up really well now, at long last, and there isn't a lot of mud any more.  Some of us managed to find enough to paint our faces though, as you'll see from the photos! 

We fed everyone and some of us noticed that one of our goats, Scooby, was missing.  Unfortunately we lost Scooby to Tetanus on Tuesday.  After several visits from the vet over the weekend and lots of medication, the decision was made that he wasn't going to recover from this horrible infection and Miss T had to have him put to sleep.  Scarsdale Farm Vets in Allestree, Derby have been an amazing support, both with Horace's illness, in March, and now with Scooby and we said a very sad farewell to Scooby Goat on Tuesday evening.  The other four goats are a little bereft without their herd mate, but they are settling down into a new routine, and actually, they are being really well behaved!

Shaggy loves being brushed and stood very quiet and still while having his hair done, by three amazing hairdressers!  He looked very smart and trotted round the Animal Park showing off!

The stream that flows from the duck ponds on the main Animal Park was very clogged up with sticks and wasn't flowing properly, so some of Ladybird Group cleared it and dug it a bit deeper, they did a really good job and there was a lot of really good team work and care with the digging tools.

One group emptied Horace's drinking tub, because the ducks had been swimming in it yet again and it was really smelly!  We filled it up with lovely fresh water so Horace can have a good drink when he goes back in his paddock later.  We collected 30 duck eggs and 26 hen eggs and we talked about the different sizes of eggs.  The big brown ex-battery hens lay big brown eggs and the small fluffy hens lay smaller eggs and some of these smaller eggs are blue!  We looked at the chicks and couldn't believe how much they'd grown since last week. We could easily have spent the whole session on the Animal Park this week, we were having such a good time!

We went up to the Community Garden because there were lots of things that needed planting out.  There were some little trees and we worked out that they were Horse Chestnut seedlings that had grown from conkers two years ago.  When we separated them to plant them into pots, there were some conkers that hadn't germinated in the bottom.  We looked at the roots, the stem and the leaves and some of us knew that the stem would be called a trunk when the trees get bigger.

We also planted some seeds in the Ladybird Raised flower Bed! We planted Marigolds, Beetroot, Chard and some garlic.  The garlic smelled really strong, and Miss T told us that is was a bulb of garlic that someone had thrown into the pig field.  The pigs hadn't eaten it and it had started to grow!  We talked about germination and what seeds need to enable them to grown healthy and strong.  We will visit the Community Garden every week to see how everything is getting on. 

We could also visit with our grown ups in the evenings and at weekends and we could show them what we've been doing!

A very busy session this week Ladybird Group, well done!

Tuesday Group (Rainbows) - Session 2 - 23rd April

Jobs on the Animal Park and planting in our Community Garden

We had a chat about naming our Forest School groups, and Tuesday Group decided they would like to be called "Rainbow Group".

We spent some time on the Animal Park and collected some eggs.  There were a lot of eggs we couldn't collect this week as the Mamma Hens are incubating them.  We held the eggs that they were sitting on and they were really warm.  Some of these should hatch in about two weeks

Horace, our large pig decided to break one of our barrel chairs.  He knocked it over and rolled it down the Animal Park, then kept pushing it with his nose until it broke.  We found that a banana skin had fallen inside it and he could smell it, so he broke the chair to get to it!  We needed to move what was left of the chair as there were lots of nails sticking out of it, so we worked really well as a team and managed to move it out of the way.  Then we had to rake all the bits that were left to make sure there were no nails left on the ground.

We changed the water in Horace's water tub, because the ducks had been swimming in it again and it was really dirty and smelly.  Miss T said this has to be done every day.  Ducks are very messy!

We went into the woodland, and went up to the Community Garden, where Sam, Miss T's son, had prepared some planting activities for us.  We talked about seeds, germination, and photosynthesis and what plants need to  be healthy (soil, sunshine and water) and we also talked about the parts of a plant and what their purpose is.  We are studying this in class at the moment and quite a few of us could remember what Mr Scott is teaching us.  We planted some seeds that will grow into edible plants and we needed to prepare the soil in the planter first, by getting all the stones and sticks out of it; we also planted some bushes in fabric pots and then we looked at some mint plants, that smelt really lovely.  We planted some kale plants and some strawberries.  Hopefully in 12 weeks some of these plants will be ready to eat!  We also found lots of worms and we learnt that these are really important to break down the soil and add extra nutrients to help the plants grow.

We found some Goose Grass (or sticky bud plant) and Sam told us that we can eat this too.  Some of us tried a little bit, and we found that the texture is quite rough, but the flavour is lovely.  Miss T told us that it is really important not to eat plants in the woodland unless a responsible adult, who knows what can and can't be eaten, is with us.  If we eat the wrong plant, we could be really poorly.  It's also important to only try a little bit of an edible plant, just to make sure we like it.

Lots of lovely learning this week Rainbows!

Have a look at our photos below.

Friday Group Session 1 - 19th April

Meeting our fabulous animals and visiting the pond

Friday FS group all brought their kit this week and got changed super quickly so we could get outside and onto our Animal Park.  We had a quick chat about staying safe on the Animal Park and how we should behave around our animals.  Everyone was super sensible and we fed our goats, chickens, ducks and Horace and Olive our pigs.  There were lots of questions about why Olive doesn't come out of her paddock, (Olive comes out to play on the Animal Park in a morning, and Horace comes out with the ducks in an afternoon.  If Horace and Olive are out at the same time, they get grumpy because they both want to eat all the left over food!) Some of us asked why some of the hens were sitting on their eggs.  We had a chat about incubation and how we find out if the eggs have a chick inside or not.  We will look at this more over the coming weeks.  We collected about 25 hen and duck eggs and learned that we have to be super careful when putting the eggs in the bucket, otherwise they will break.

We cuddled the three chicks that hatched in the incubator in the Year 5 classroom just before Easter, which means they are just three weeks old.  They are very soft and are just getting their wing feathers.  One of the chicks even has feathers on his feet!  Miss T explained that they are out in the coop during the day, but that they go into a brooder (which is a special box with a heat lamp) over night to keep them warm.

We refilled Horace's water tub with fresh water because the water was very dirty after the ducks had been swimming in it!  We emptied the dirty water out and some of us dug a channel for the water to flow down, then we fetched clean water from the water tub in watering cans and filled it back up for Horace!  We explored the Animal Park and found Horace's bedroom, the goat shed, three chicken coops and the duck coop.  Some of the hens had jumped over the fence, but Miss T explained that they all come back when it's bed time.

We went down to the pond in the woodland and had a look at the tadpoles.  They are very small at the moment, but as soon as the sun shines a bit more, and the weather gets a bit warmer, they will grow fast.  We also saw some water shrimp and a few little leeches.  Miss T told us how Year 6 have dug a new pond this year so we now have three lovely watery habitats in our woodland!

We had a lovely first Forest School session and the rain stayed away for us too!

Have a look at some photos below.


Tuesday Group Session 1 - 16th April

Meeting our wonderful animals and a trip to the pond.

We had beautiful, warm sunshine for our first Tuesday Group Forest School session.  Everyone brought their kit and got changed really quickly and we went down to the Animal Park.  We sat on the seating circle and the goats came to say hi, especially when they realised that we had some food!  The chickens came over too and most of us were happy to let them peck food out of our hands.  

Miss T showed us some chicks that hatched in the incubator in the Year 5 classroom just before Easter, which means they are nearly 3 weeks old now.  We could see how their wing feathers are just starting to grow, but their heads were still covered in really soft fluff.  This helps to keep them warm. 

Miss T let Horace the pig and the ducks out of their enclosure and they all came running up to the seating circle.  Horace is very big, but again, most of us were happy to give him a fuss.  We know not to feed Horace from our hands, just in case he decides to nibble our fingers with his very large teeth!

We went and explored the Animal Park and soon found the river that flows out of the duck pond.  We made bridges for the ducks and chickens to walk across, and we dug the river deeper in places so that it flowed better.  We were super sensible with the digging tools and made sure everything was put back on the tool rack when we'd finished.  Some of us groomed Shaggy the goat and some of us collected lots of duck and hen eggs.  We collected 31 in total!

We went down to the pond in the woodland and we saw lots of tadpoles, fresh water shrimp and even a dragon fly larvae.  There is lots of watercress growing in the pond and some of us tried eating some.  It was very peppery and we needed a drink after eating it!  Some of us wrote our names on the logs by dipping a stick into the water.

A super first session Tuesday Group, well done!