Saturday, 13 October 2018

Autumn 1st half term

Autumn. My favourite season.  Full of natural treasures and the most beautiful array of colours!

Mrs Bowen and I went camping for the weekend at the National Forest School Conference earlier this month to continue our learning and development in Forest Schools.  It was a brilliant weekend and we came back feeling inspired with lots of new ideas.   

This half term, some of the children have been working on their leaf ID skills to see if we can learn more of the names of the trees around us.  We have been using resources from the fabulous 'Nature Detectives' website to help us:

With the unseasonably warm weather in recent weeks, some of the children have also been experimenting with their very own mud spa treatments too!  




Sunday, 13 May 2018

Visiting Canada

This week I have spent time with some fabulous children in Toronto, Canada, as part of the P.I.N.E Project, whose mantra is ‘be more, need less.’ I had two great days in glorious sunshine with their ‘Coyote Pups’ groups - children aged 4-6 - learning more about plant ID, including wild edible species. We also played lots of games, which I’ll be teaching you on my return and perhaps my favourite moment with one group was taking ten minutes during one of our afternoon sessions for a ‘sit spot.’ Children went off into their own spot, a place that they knew and where they could observe nature in some form, whether it was the river, plants, trees, or just sun, wind, and clouds. The children were encouraged to use their animal senses and let go of thinking, almost like a form of meditation. 

During the afternoon I spent with the older children, the ‘Fiery Foxes’ group, we used Dogbane to make cordage (natural string.) Circle games were also played at the beginning and end of the session, involving the whole group and often involving lots of reflective thinking - just like Wise Owl!

The highlight of the week was spending a day with the ‘Adventure Out’ program, which I shall write a separate blog post about soon... However, for now, I will end by saying that P.I.N.E sets out to promote resilience, independence and a respect for our natural world, values which are shared by our forest school approach.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Spring 2

Did someone say Spring?  Some sessions have definitely been very wintry with cold temperatures and snow to explore!  Children at Sutton tried to melt the snow, make 'snow soup' and mould snowballs.  We decided the best thing to do after playing in the snow was to warm up by the fire and toast a marshmallow.  


Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Spring 1

We have had all sorts of weather for our sessions over the past few weeks - snow, hail, rain, wind and a drop of sunshine!  To keep warm we have been learning to play different games - the pre-school children are getting very good at '1, 2, 3, where are you?' Year 2 at Sutton love to play 'Giants, Wizards and Pixies.'  At Hickling, a very wet afternoon session meant lots of mud play and sculpture. 

Some groups have been practicing knots and we have built swings and bridges, not forgetting  of course we are continuing to perfect our shelters.  

For the last couple of weeks we were treated to our first signs of Spring - catkins, sunshine and snowdrops! Long may it continue!








Monday, 18 December 2017

Autumn 2

It has been a busy half term at Forest School...
  • Hickling pre-school children have joined in the fun on Wednesday afternoons, proving that they are very careful bug hunters - especially finding spiders!  They have also enjoyed making stick streamers on windy days and building dens with the older children when it has been wet.  We were delighted to welcome Sonya from the EDP to take photos of us enjoying our Forest School sessions.
  • Cheetahs Class at Catfield have been mastering their knots, which have been useful for our shelters and our constructions with sticks.

  • Finally, the Year 1's at Sutton have loved having the swing up and have continued to invent wonderful games for which they created castles, camp fires and woodland cafes!


Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Autumnal Treasure

Forest School sessions have re-started across the federation and we have been treated to some lovely, autumnal weather.  Lots of our activities have been around collecting the treasures that the season brings - different coloured leaves, conkers, acorns, fruits from our fruit trees and blackberries from the hedgerows.  We have used some of our harvest to make pictures, sculptures and jewelry.  Some of us have explored using a palm drill to make holes in sticks and conkers to help us in our making and creating!

Of course, some of us continue to enjoy making our dens and camps as well as getting muddy!

As the weather turns cooler, we are looking forward to having camp fires and hot chocolate...