On this page you can read our Forest School updates in blog format.
Forest School Update 13th March
This week in Forest School, the woodland was very wet and windy so unfortunately Sycamore Class could not venture over there. Instead, Miss Waterman planned lots of brilliant craft activities and they also had an opportunity to take part in team building games! The team building game they played meant they had to be blindfolded and were only able to get instructions from the person who wasn’t blindfolded through hand signals! It meant that they had to trust each other and work as a team to move around!
Forest School Update 6th March
This term, Sycamore Class will be doing Forest School and it was their first session on Wednesday. They have been learning about survival all week and so their Forest School session tied in with this.
The children took part in lots of fun activities, including an assault course where they got extremely wet and muddy, building dens and making smores on the fire.
Forest School Update 14th February
Beech Class painted their clay dinosaurs this week, before going out to the fire to toast marshmallows and drink tea and hot chocolate with cream!
The class have previously been doing experiments with growing seeds in the classroom, so in Forest School they planted their seeds into pots to take home.
Later, they had free exploration, built dens, made some bark rubbings and did free drawings of trees.
What Beech Class Thought of Forest School
“Forest School was fun, exciting and amazing. It made Wednesdays way better.” Luna
“I liked that we got to choose different activities and ones that we’ve never done before!” Amelie
“I liked making the dens, making the sticks for marshmallows and cooking them on the fire!” Ethan
“I enjoyed everything but I didn’t like when my camp came down!” Poppy
“The whittling the sticks and roasting marshmallows was good.” Lucas
“Painting the dinosaurs was cool!” Rebecca
“I liked playing in the fort.” Elijah T
Forest School Update 7th February
This week in Forest School, Beech Class made pancakes on the fire! They also made dinosaurs out of clay, did some free play and den building, made swamp lands for the dinosaurs and did a bit of investigating amongst the fallen leaves and twigs (they tried to figure out what trees we have near our field). A big thank you to Miss Waterman for providing such lovely activities again!
Forest School Update 31st January
Beech Class were extremely busy in Forest School this week! They made ‘dinosaur lands’ with mud for the swamps, twigs as the trees, conkers for the pathways, streams using foil and bark as the caves. They also did some whittling with sticks (in order to toast marshmallows), built dens, had free exploration, went minibeast hunting (they found some newts) AND made fat balls for the birds! Such a busy but fun session!
Also, thank you to Emily and Ed Gingell for donating the logs for seats!
Forest School Update 24th January
This Wednesday, Beech Class had a lovely wet and muddy trip down to the woods for Forest School. They pretended to be dinosaurs, stomping through the swamps! It was great fun! They then had time to have free exploration play.
A little bit later, they played a game where the carnivorous dinosaurs ‘hunted’ the herbivores, in other words they played ‘hide and seek’. They then made the skeletons of a T-rex and a brontosaurus using sticks.
A big thank you to Miss Waterman, Katie, Marion and Louise.
Forest School Update 11th October
This week, Willow Class made their very own bows and arrows, like they might have done in the Tudor times! They also made a bug house with sticks, cones, straws, leaves, etc. before tidying up the little pond area in the garden. They then made mud faces and had free exploration time.
Willow Class ended the session with some smores and hot chocolate by the fire. It was a lovely but windy day, so Miss Waterman had a bit of trouble lighting the fire initially!
A big thank you to Miss Waterman for all her planning and all the volunteers again for their help and support.
Forest School Update 4th October
This week, Willow Class used their cooking skills in Forest School. They made bread from scratch and cooked it on the fire. They even made the skewers that they used for this! They also picked some apples, peeled and chopped them, then added sugar to make toffee apples!
After this, they did some free exploration, made paint brushes, printed leaves, built dens, walked on the slack line and did some whittling (using various tools to do so).
A big thank you to Sienna’s mum, Callum’s dad, Mrs Champion and Mrs Thompson for help this week!
Forest School Update 18th October
This week, Willow Class did various team building games and exercises in the woodland. The first game they played, they had to balance bamboo sticks on their fingers in groups and gradually lower it down to the floor. It was quite tricky but they managed to do it!
The next game they played, they worked in pairs. One child was blindfolded and the other was their ‘protector’. Mrs Champion made a noise and the blindfolded child had to move towards the sound. The ‘protector’ had to make sure their partner was safe from tripping or bumping into anything!
The children then had free exploration. Some children did role playing, some built dens and others went bug hunting and made bug ‘hotels’.
The last activity of the day was a group team building task again. In groups, children had to work together to build secure and safe nests. Miss Waterman tested the nests by dropping an egg into it. All the nest were brilliantly made as none of eggs broke!
The whole class worked so well together!
Forest School Update 27th September
Willow Class braved the wet weather this week and took a trip to the woods for Forest School. They played conkers, made patterns with various materials that they could find in the woods, built dens and made some crowns using twigs, bracken and leaves. They were making themselves into Tudor queens and kings!
A thank you to Becca, Marion, Katie, Louise and Mrs Thompson for helping out!
Forest School Update 20th September
This week, Willow Class had their first Forest School session of the term. They spent the first part of it foraging in the woods trying to see what they can find at this time of the year. They found: hazelnuts, sweet chestnuts, blackberries, mushrooms and acorns. They could not find any conkers so decided it must be too early in the year! This linked with their learning about the Tudors, as they discussed what the Tudors would have found and what they would have used all these things for e.g. to dye their clothes perhaps! They will be using some of these items to make art next week. They then spent the rest of the time free to explore the woods and play!
Thank you to Miss Waterman and all the volunteers for a brilliant start to Forest School this year!
Forest School Update 21st June
It was the last session of Forest School this week and Year R and 1 had a brilliant time! They were painting using nature, drawing pictures, creating grass/leaf patterns, playing with slime/sand, making artwork on the trees using mud as glue, playing in the puddles, climbing trees and having a water relay race! A big thank you to Miss Waterman for her fantastic Forest School lessons this academic year. The children have learnt so much and we look forward to what she has planned next year!
Forest School Update 14th June
This week in Forest School, Reception and Year 1 had a ‘messy’ session outside! They took part in different sensory play activities and games, including playing with slime, muddy puddles and wet sand! They used the wet sand to build some very creative things.
Miss Waterman also set them up with a task of getting water balloons from one end to another by throwing and catching them! Fun was had by all and a big thank you to the volunteers Katie, Sam and Louise, as they didn’t mind getting wet and muddy!
Forest School Update 7th June
On Wednesday, Reception and Year 1 had a Forest School session together to get to know each other better and to help Reception Class with their transition into Beech Class next year. They started off in a circle and played ‘get to know each other’ games. Reception then paired up with a Year 1 buddy and went exploring in the woods.
They also built a bridge, built dens and played hide and seek! Lots of fun was had by all. They are now looking forward to 3 more sessions of Forest School together this term.
A big thank you to all the helpers and Miss Waterman for planning another great session!
Forest School Update 22nd May
Oak Class went on a scavenger hunt, finding lots of different things in the woods from their list e.g. pine cones, flowers, etc. They were told to think about what they could hear, see and feel and got to explore different things in the woodland e.g. the moss and bark. They were then able to explore the woods how they wanted to and decided to build dens and do some explorative digging! Skooter said, ‘My favourite bit was the see-saw and taking it in turns!’ Jesse said, ‘I enjoyed make a big den!’
Forest School Update 17th May
This Wednesday, Oak Class did so many different activities! They were shown how to light the fire using flints and how to put it out again with water. Before they put the fire out though, they got to have a tasty treat and toasted some marshmallows!
After this, they did some mud painting, tree bark rubbing, pond dipping (they found all kinds of bugs!), tree climbing AND they played sleeping lions and tried to listen to what sounds were in the forest. What a brilliant fun-filled session!
A massive thank you to Miss Waterman, Sam Hinder, Katie Samson, Louise Champion and Jesse’s gran.
Forest School Update 8th May
On Wednesday 8th May, Oak Class had Forest School inside, to start with, because the weather was very wet! They made stick crowns, painted pebbles and made jewellery by using the hand drill! They then went outside to play some games, once the weather had brightened up. They played the ‘Bat and Moth’ game again, as it is a favourite!
A big thank you to Mrs Robins, Mrs Champion and Mrs Hinder for helping out!
Forest School Update 3rd May
On Wednesday 1st May, Oak Class had their first Forest School session! They had such a brilliant time exploring and playing in the woods. They spent the afternoon hunting for different kinds of bugs and mini-beasts!
Whilst in the woods, they played ‘Bat and Moth’. One person was blindfolded and acted as the bat. Whilst being surrounded by the ‘trees’ they had to use their hearing to listen out really carefully and ‘catch’ the moth!
The children also made bug artwork out of different woodland materials e.g. leaves and sticks.
Thank you Miss Waterman for a lovely afternoon!
Forest School Update 5th April
In Forest School this week, Willow Class made sculptures, using materials in the woodland.
Verity made a 3D picture of a bird’s nest. Some other children made a sculpture of the den, whilst Jack, Neo, Sebastian and William made a fantastic structure which can be seen below.
Willow Class have had a brilliant term of Forest School sessions. A big thank you to Miss Waterman and all the volunteers.
Forest School Update 29th March
This week, Willow Class were using their Detective Find-It learning powers effectively in Forest School. They started the session off by pond dipping and found great crested newts, snails, other newts and even dragon fly larvae! They then went onto measure the heights of trees using various different methods. They also tried to work out how old the trees were by counting how many hands they could get around the tree (using the same hand each time!) and then measuring their hands and calculating the circumference from this.
Later on, they were allowed ‘free play’ and took part in various activities, including den building and mud painting.
Yet again, thank you to Miss Waterman for leading an excellent session!
Forest School Update 22nd March
Willow Class took part in another fantastic Forest School session this week. They learnt how to build and light a fire, built camps with tarpaulin, made muddy faces on the trees, did whittling with knives, cooked marshmallows and ate smores, walked across the slack line and made nesting stations for the birds by using hazel to make frames, then weaving different materials into them.
Willow Class Forest School
Willow Class had their second Forest School session of the term this week. Unfortunately, the strong wind outside meant they could not go to the woodland, but they had lots of fun taking part in different activities at school instead.
Whilst outside, the children played ‘Bat and Moth’. One person was blindfolded and acted as the bat. Whilst being surrounded by the ‘trees’ they had to use their hearing to listen out really carefully and ‘catch’ the moth!
Willow Class also played other teambuilding games in the hall: working together to balance balls between two sticks, using the parachute to work together and taking part in an assault course.
Willow Class Forest School
Willow Class had their first Forest School session of the term. They went to the woodland and discussed comparisons between a woodland and a rain forest. They also built dens with all kinds of natural materials, whilst discussing what the woodland can provide, e.g. shelter, water, etc.
Owl Visits Sycamore
On Wednesday, Sycamore class had their last Forest School session of the term. They had some exciting visitors in this week. Graeme Ward very kindly arranged for Owen from Knockhatch to visit them with an owl. The children got to hold the owl and also have a go at dissecting owl pellets!
George S said, “It was fun yesterday. We were finding parts of bones in the owl pellets and finding out what the owls eat. We then all gathered around the hall and a staff member from Knockhatch came in with a white owl named Gandalf and we all got to hold him.”
Oli said, “It was lots of fun and it wasn’t as heavy as I thought it would be.”
A big thank you to Stanley and Skooter’s dad and also Owen from Knockhatch for bringing the owl and pellets in!
Structure in the Forest
On Wednesday 30th January, Sycamore Class had the challenge to make a structure in the forest: a den, bed, chair, bridge or table.
They used natural resources and used rope to the tie knots to keep the structures together.
They used excellent team work skills and their growth mindset by not giving up.
Sycamore Forest School
On Wednesday 23rd January, Sycamore Class had another excellent Forest School afternoon. They did a wide variety of activities of their choice: making dens, throwing spears, making chocolate cake in oranges, building a fire and toasting bread and marshmallows, charcoal drawings on trees, making bow and arrows and much more! They worked so hard as a team to do these things and used their Inspector Ingenious skills to make some really creative things!
Sycamore Forest School
On Wednesday 16th January, Sycamore class had their first Forest School session of the term. They spent the afternoon exploring the forest, taking lots of photos from different perspectives, playing hide and seek and making different structures e.g. dens, bridges, etc.
Building a Fire
On Wednesday 5th December, Beech class had Forest School outside as the rain managed to hold off. They worked really hard to build a fire together and also had the opportunity to use the saws with Miss Waterman.
Forest School Indoors!
On Wednesday 28th November, Beech Class had Forest School indoors due to the weather conditions. They had a great time playing lots of team building games. In one game they worked in pairs to balance balls between two sticks. They had to work hard together to ensure they did it quickly but not too quickly that they dropped the ball. They also played a game where they linked hands in a line and had to get the hoop from one end of the line to the other, without breaking hold. Everyone worked really hard and worked well together. Excellent team work!
Dens, Bug Hunting & Twig Art
This week, Beech class made dens for animals and walked ‘pet logs’ to make trails in the leaves. Some children also went bug hunting with their magnifying pots. The class had great fun making some art with twigs and weaving natural materials between string. Last of all, the children made a big den and the aim was to fit everyone in, which they managed to achieve!
Mud Pie Faces
In Forest School this week, Beech class were making mud pie faces on the trees. They played various games and explored the forest, including bark rubbing and using string to climb in and out of a ‘spider’s web’. Archie S also decided to build his own WW1 shelter with the help from Dylan, Owen and Vinnie.
In the Orchard and Around the Pond
Beech class were lucky enough to spend a beautiful sunny day up in the orchard and around the pond on Wednesday. The children who didn’t go pond dipping last time had the opportunity to do this with Mrs Filkin and Miss Pitt.
Freya, Archie S and Molly helped Miss Hare get the fire going and then all the children roasted marshmallows. While they were doing this, the children also filled up the kettle so they could make some hot chocolate! All the children were very excited to do this and enjoyed sitting round the fire circle, drinking hot chocolate and eating marshmallows! Michael suggested we all tell each other stories and entertained us with some jokes! Some of the children chose to make dens again and had a lovely afternoon playing in the sunshine. Well done, Beech class, your behaviour was excellent and lots of you showed some real growth mindset when trying to light the fire!
Pond Dipping & Making Dens
On Wednesday, Beech class had their second Forest School session of the year. It was beautifully sunny but there was a chilly wind. The children were lucky enough to have enough adults to go pond dipping for the first time and were very successful! They caught loads of newts – some of them quite huge – and lots of dragon-fly larvae which the children were not so sure on! While they weren’t pond dipping, the children made some amazing dens using the tarpaulin. A new favourite game was tug-of-war on the field which they got very competitive over.
Well done, Beech Class, your behaviour was amazing and it was a really fun afternoon. Next week, we are hoping to have a fire so any extra pairs of hands would be lovely.
Create Something & Guess
Beech Class had a fantastic time in their first Forest School session this week! We began by playing some games, and then the children were given a secret challenge: they had to create something and the rest of the class would try to guess what it was!
We had a fantastic range of houses for animals, bug hotels, and even a throne for a fairy king!
After that, the children broke into different groups and explored the orchard and field. They could find bugs, or just let their creativity take over and build anything they wanted. Some children made ponds for frogs, others found string and designed their own bows and arrows!
All in all, a fantastic start to our adventures outdoors!
Bows & Arrows Update
Sycamore had their final Forest School session on Wednesday 28th March and, although the weather was not its best, had a brilliant afternoon in the school grounds.
Using their bows and arrows that they’d cleverly made in the previous weeks, they were given the challenge of ‘catching their food’ – an easter egg balanced on a table!
The children had some target practice to start with and perfected their techniques with their bows and arrows and then lined up to take a shot! Amy Farrell and Ashten were very quick to win their eggs and Mr Procter managed to win one too – using Kai’s bow! The children were so resilient in their efforts to hit their eggs and didn’t give up easily!
While they weren’t using their bows and arrows, they played on the trim trail, made dens or finished off their arrows in the hall with Mrs Filkin and Mr Ottaway.
At the end, the children discovered the Easter Bunny had visited the trim trail and had to hunt down the Haribo he had dropped…
It’s been such a great term of Forest school and Sycamore have behaved brilliantly meaning we were able to get a lot done!
Thank you so much to Mr Ottaway, Mr Groves and Ms James for coming to help us this week – and all the other parents who have helped out so much this term. You’ve made it possible to get so much out of each session for the children.
Bows & Arrows
This week, Sycamore went into the forest to continue their project of making bows and arrows. We discussed that, if we were trying to survive the forest, we would need a way of catching some food!
Thanks to Mr Greenwood, Mr Ottaway, Mrs Barnett and Mrs Filkin, all the children managed to make their bow this week, ready for some target practice next week!
While they weren’t busy making bows, with the help of Mrs Taylor, we made some arrows. We cut down some think hazel trees and then used knives to clear all the bark off them. The children then really enjoyed sharpening one end to make it as sharp as possible!
We set up a target on a tree and the children who had finished their bows and arrows had great fun trying to hit the target! This required some real resilience as it was tricky to get the arrows straight! Ria and Helbert spent a long time practising!
Ms James also came along and helped the children take on the slackline across the river! Thanks to some great team work, the children made it along the line and kept (mostly..!) dry!
Next week is Sycamore’s final forest school session of the year – and last one at Chiddingly for the Year 6s!
We will be pulling lots of our new survival skills together in different challenges so any parents who would like to join us would be very welcome!
Thanks again to the parents who came – we are so grateful for your help!
Water & Food at Forest School
On Wednesday afternoon, Sycamore went out for Forest School and this week their focus was a mix between water and food!
Thanks to the survival skills of Ashten, Megan, Amie and Kai (and their very sturdy rain-trap that they built last week!) there was plenty of water ready to be purified and boiled ready for hot chocolate. The children used fabric to filter away all the bits of dirt and then put in water purifying tablets to kill off any germs. Then we boiled the water on the fire (expertly built and lit by Amy F and Chanelle) ready for hot chocolate to warm us up! Even through the sun was shining, it was still quite chilly. Marshmallows were also needed to give us a sugar boost!
While the children weren’t enjoying cooking around the fire, they got busy with Mrs Filkin and Mrs Barnett making bows and arrows! Thanks to Mr Barnett for providing some sticks of hazel, we were able to use knives to whittle a groove into the bow and wrap string around them, ready for some target practice next week! We are hoping to go into the forest next week to finish off the bows and arrows and set up some targets, so if any extra parents are around to come and support us, it would be very much appreciated!
Thank you for a fab afternoon, Sycamore!
Sycamore had their second Forest School session of the term this week and their focus was fire! This is linked in with their topic of Survival.
The children were in groups of 8 and, in pairs, were provided with an aluminium tin, some char-cloth, a fire steel and some wood. Mr Groves kindly brought the char-cloth and a huge selection of wood shavings which acted as great kindling. The children’s challenge was to light a fire and keep it going for as long as possible. Simon and Fin were very quick to keep it going and did well at saving some of their resources so the fire lasted a long time. Seth and Ella spent a long time trying to get their fire lit (not sure I’ve ever seen more determination!) and were very proud when they managed it!
The children soon learnt that if they blew gently and steadily on embers, it wasn’t long before they got a flame again. The children were rewarded for their hard work with a hot chocolate around the big fire, made in our brand new kettle!
While they were waiting to have a go with fire, the children either pond dipped or created rain water traps in preparation for next week’s session: water.
Thank you, as always, to our fantastic parent helpers – it is so great to have your involvement in our sessions!
Survival in the Forest
On Wednesday, Sycamore kick-started their topic on ‘Survival!’ (and a term of Forest School) with a trip to the forest. Each week we are going to be focusing on a different area of survival and this week it was Shelter! We went even deeper into the forest for this and found our new boundaries with a few rounds of hide-and-seek.
The children were then tasked with working in small groups, with only one tarpaulin behind them and very limited rope, to create a shelter that they could all fit in. They were pre-warned that at the end of the session, their shelters would be put to the test to see if they were water and wind proof.
Simon decided to go it alone and ended up very well camouflaged! Megan, Amie, Grace and Violet all made an amazing den, including a window! Kai, Ashten and Helbert worked on a natural shelter and were very creative with some bark to help the ‘rain’ drain off the sides rather than come through the cracks.
At the end of the session, Mr Ottaway came along with ‘rain’ and, once the children were inside their dens, checked to see whether their dens stood up to the weather! Well done, Sycamore, for showing real resilience and team work during this session. Thank you so much to Mr Ottaway, Mr Groves, Mrs Taylor and Mrs Barnett for coming in and helping out!
Next week, we are going to focus on fire and have Forest School in the morning so if there are any parent helpers who would like to come in, any extra pairs of hands are always appreciated! It will run from 9:30 – 12:00.
Promise of Snow
Willow Class had a very chilly, final Forest School session this week. Despite the promise of snow in the morning, by the time we got to the afternoon, it had all disappeared!
It was still very cold so the children wrapped up warm and we got a big fire going to keep us warm!
While Chloe, Jasmine, George and Isobel helped Miss Hare and Mrs Taylor light the fire, Mrs Filkin took the parachute onto the field and played games with the rest of the class.
Chloe was an expert fire lighter and George, Isobel and Jasmine all managed to light a piece of cotton wool, too!
When Harrison came over the fire, he was so determined to get a spark and light the fire using fire steels! He worked hard for over 10 minutes and finally had success! The promise of a marshmallow as a reward for his efforts seemed to help!
Then Miss Pitt, Mrs Filkin and Mrs Taylor took some of the children pond dipping. They caught newts and other interesting creatures and we very careful with them as we had discussed how they like the cold and to touch them would hurt them even if we didn’t mean to.
The highlight of the session was that all the children toasted a marshmallow on the fire and many of them showed real resilience when having a go with the fire steels.
George S had a great technique and was really helpful to others when they were finding it tricky. Henry was also a real star at this. The fire was definitely needed by all the children at some point so they could warm up a bit!
Well done, Willow Class! It has been great fun having Forest School with you this term!
Willow Forest School Update
On Wednesday, Willow class were lucky enough to spend a beautiful afternoon in the forest! Thanks to Miss Pitt and Mrs Taylor, we were able to go into the forest and the children thoroughly enjoyed their afternoon!
It seemed a highlight was the very gooey, muddy walk into the forest and going through the stream!
After a few rounds of hide and seek, the children got busy with lots of different activities.
Mr Skinner helped the children set up the slack line over the river and set the challenge of crossing it without falling in! Ryan needed up getting pretty soggy!
The children also made some amazing natural shelters or got busy with palm drills making some beautiful jewellery out of acorns which they are going to carry on with next week, trying to find other items to thread!
George D and Floyd made an amazing bridge over a small stream and George S made an amazing shelter all by himself, using techniques he’d seen on a survival programme on TV!
Well done, Willow class! It was a really fantastic afternoon.
Next week we are hoping to cook over the fire, so any extra helpers would be hugely appreciated!
Thanks again to our wonderful parent helpers today!
Willow Forest School
On Wednesday afternoon, Willow Class had their first Forest School session of the term. It was a beautiful afternoon and, although a bit chilly, all the children quickly got involved in an activity. Some of the children chose to go pond dipping with Mrs Barnett, Mr Skinner and Mrs Filkin. They were very successful at catching newts, water boatmen and searching for the frog!
Other groups of children worked as teams to build their own dens with some of the girls even building a ‘zip-wire’ which led to lots of inventive games and a lot of giggling! When Floyd and Austin were searching for smaller sticks to use as stakes for their den, Floyd found some amazing fungus which he though looked like a piece of orange!
A few of the other girls spent time creating a birds nest by tying twigs together and decorating it with conkers and grass. They are looking forward to carrying on with this next week! The final activity enjoyed by some of the children was the slackline. William tried it out first and then some of the girls were great helpers to each other and offered shoulders to lean on as they tried to get across! Thank you very much to Mrs Barnett for coming to help! Well done to Willow Class for really excellent and kind behaviour during Forest School – keep it up!
Willow class made rangoli patterns, inspired by their topic of ‘Festivals of Light’. They also took inspiration from Andy Goldsworthy’s use of natural materials to create art.
Chocolate Orange Cakes on the Fire
This week, Sycamore had their final Forest School session for the term. We have been learning about rationing and found out that chocolate and oranges were both rationed and very rare during WW2 so, as a treat, we used both of these to cook chocolate orange cakes on the fire! In the morning, the children scooped out the flesh from half an orange, filled it with chocolate sponge mixture and wrapped it in foil. When we had got the fire going, we placed the oranges in the embers and waited for them to cook! While we were waiting, we pond dipped, played games or explored our orchard. In the pond, we found so many newts, dragon fly larvae and even toads!
Some of us enjoyed our cakes more than others – Chanelle and Simon gave them a 10/10, whereas Mason and Ria gave them a 2! Amy Farrell enjoyed her cake even though she doesn’t like chocolate orange so it was a definite success!
Thank you so so much to the parent helpers who have been in throughout the term – we really couldn’t do any of these amazing things without you!
Well done, Sycamore! You have been fantastic to work with in Forest School this term – see you later in the year!
Next term, it is Willow Class’ turn for Forest School and we will start the second week back so please ensure they all have a change of clothes and wellies. If anyone is available to help, we need at least another 4 adults to be able to go into the forest, please see Miss Chewter for the relevant forms.
Capture the Flag
This week, Sycamore took their learning from their trip to Newhaven Fort into the Forest! They split into groups of 6 or 7 and became their own army troop, with the children taking it in turns to be the commander! They played a version of ‘capture the flag’ and had to use tactics and strategies to ensure their team was the winning one!
Mr Hinder and Mr Ottaway were fantastic helpers to the children when they created bases and encouraged them to think carefully about who was doing what during each round of the game! The children worked brilliantly in their teams and when discussing the rules behind the game, were very grown up in their approach to following the rules.
Next week, instead of Forest School, the children will be completing an art project in their classroom which will be on display outside the classroom. Well done, Sycamore, you are clearly really loving studying WW2!
Slacklining & Conker Fights
For Forest School this week, Sycamore had a fantastic time in the woods. They were keen to have another go at slacklining and, thanks to Mr Hinder’s and Mr Ottoway’s supervision and encouragement, the children became even more confident on it – some of them trying it without holding onto any shoulders or hands! After seeing their amazing shelters they created using tarpaulins the other week, I set the children a challenge of creating dens using only natural materials! They rose to this challenge and created really beautiful and imaginative shelters. Their creativity in what they could use instead of rope and sheets was very impressive and the children were very proud of them.
Of course, it wouldn’t be Autumn without some conker fights! The children used palm drills to make holes through the conkers and tied them onto string. As competitive as Sycamore children can be, their games were very sensible and careful with some clever tactics coming into play from Rhys, Jack, Helbert and Thomas! Well done again, Sycamore, for fantastic behaviour! So many of you made a real effort to ensure everyone had something to do and felt included.
Sycamore’s First Session
This week, Sycamore went for their first Forest School session of the year. They came really well prepared for the showers we had but rain doesn’t stop Forest School! We went into the woods and chose different activities, depending on whether it was raining or not as all tool work stops in the rain.
After a few rounds of very competitive Hide-and-Seek, the children got busy! Ruby, Chanelle, Kayley and Amy Farrell made an incredible den, complete with rope swing, washing line, cooker and windows! This inspired other groups to have a go at den building and they too were very successful!
Some of the others set to work on using palm drills to make an assortment of different crafts. Rhys and Orla made holes in acorns and threaded them onto string to create jewellery and Helbert begun to make a mobile with different natural items for decoration. Orla and Grace joined Forest School for the first time and were really resilient to any challenges and got into the spirit of braving the weather – well done, girls!
Sycamore, you were brilliantly behaved and listened really carefully to instructions. Keep it up!
Children Living in the Stone Age
Beech Class begun their sessions of Forest School this week and it was the perfect afternoon to be outside! The children split in half and had a turn doing two different activities.
During their time with Mrs Filkin, the children got into role as children living in the Stone Age and were
hunter gatherers. They went around the school grounds, gathering different objects they found to make themselves a delicious dinner! Then they had a go at being hunters and created some wonderful
firepits and dens to make into their homes. The children used their fantastic imaginations to really
get into role during this session and proudly showed off what they already knew about this time period.
Miss Hare and Mr Ottoway set up the slackline which the children were very excited to have a go at!
Although some of the children were nervous as they watched their classmates wobble around, they all
were brave enough to try it and all got to the end – with a little help from their friends or adults! Then
the children were set the challenge of trying to get a cup full of water from one end to the other! This
meant some of them got a bit soggy but all the children still had water in their cup by the end! Well done, Beech Class! You showed great growth mindset by achieving the challenges you were set through your determination!
Please could we remind you that all Beech class children need their forest school kit in on a Wednesday so they can take part in all the activities. This doesn’t need to be their waterproofs in the warm weather, but a change of clothing and different shoes are needed to protect their uniform.
Also, if any parents can spare the afternoon, we need at least 6 adults to be able to go to the forest and
would really appreciate the help!
Wonderfully Warm Wednesday
Oak Class had a wonderfully warm Forest School session on Wednesday! Miss Hare had bought some new plants for the Trim Trail Garden and we enjoyed planting these with Mrs Filkin. Also, we took the ‘bug pots’ up to the fire circle and had fun collecting and trying to identify the different bugs that we found. There was also a tiny toad that we found that kept trying to hop away from us! Our final activity was to choose a soft woodland creature toy and build an outdoor habitat for it. Bonham made a very clever set of steps and a walkway up to his tree hideout for his animal using sticks, as did lots of others. Many thanks to Mr Hinder, Mrs Barnett and Miss Pitt for helping us to enjoy our learning.
In the Orchard & Around the Fire Circle
This week, Oak class spent a beautiful, sunny afternoon up in our orchard and around the fire circle. The children were very excited to hear that we were going to light the fire and cook some marshmallows on it! The first job was to collect firewood for the fire. Miss Hare showed the children the different thicknesses of wood they needed and all the children were fantastic at collecting and organising it – using their finger thickness to decide which pile to put it in.
While they weren’t working with Miss Hare and Mr Hinder, the children got creative with some daisies, investigated the wildlife that lives in our school field and played games to build up their confidence and trust in each other. It’s lovely to see how involved all the children get in the games and how much more confident they are this term, than their first few Forest School sessions back in Term 2.
The children came and had a go at fire-lighting in groups of 4. Mr Hinder demonstrated how to use the fire steels to get the fire going using cotton wool with vaseline on it.
Freya knew exactly how to use the steels and Mya was particularly determined when her cotton wool was being stubborn! Even though he was a bit nervous to start with, Stanley’s cotton wool got going really quickly and all the children enjoyed seeing how quickly the fire started and caught onto the sticks which they collected. Then they roasted marshmallows and enjoyed making them go gooey inside – or as Molly described it, ‘like yoghurt!’
Well done, Oak Class! You were so sensible around the fire and were really encouraging of your friends when they found it a little bit tricky!
Improvements Around the Pond
Oak Class had Forest School this week and enjoyed being the first class to test out the improvements around the pond! The decking area has been lowered so that the children can easily reach the pond using their nets, without having to lean quite as far over. Dylan found a tiny newt and Freya, Kalian and Jacinda found dragon-fly larvae at different stages of growth! The children also caught a lot of water boatmen, eggs and duck weed! They were so sensible around the pond and also enjoyed going to say hello to the chickens!
While the children weren’t pond dipping, they made beautifully creative clay faces on the trees with Mrs Filkin. They used items from around the forest to create a variety of faces, creatures and animals!
We finished the session by playing some great team and trust building games using a blindfold which the children were really brave at trying!
Well done, Oak Class – see you next week!
Oak Class & Year 5
Oak Class were joined by their special friends and the Year 5s this week for their Forest School session! They did a great job of weeding the flower beds up by the trim trail and giving it a general make-over so they can plant some of their own plants as part of their topic work. Oak Class were showing off their knowledge about how a plant grows and even discovered some potatoes that were buried! They were so helpful and careful with the tools they were using – helped by their special friends. We look forward to beginning Oak’s Forest School sessions properly next Wednesday, so if there are any parents who would like to come and help, we would love to have you!
Slacklining Over the River
This week, Sycamore spent a sunny afternoon in the Forest choosing their favourite activities. Mr Hinder and Mr Barnett kindly supervised the slacklining over the river, which was requested by some of the children the last time we used it. The children had great fun trying to run along the rope to get across the river – although most of them ended up getting soaked through failed attempts! Lil seemed to bring most of the river back to school in her wellies! Tommy managed it first time by running at quite some
speed along it!
Some of the children made amazing dens and have potential as interior designers, with some of their homes having kitchens, beds and toilets!
Mrs Filkin worked on some crafts with some children and they made some incredible woodland creatures and used knives to shape the wood to give the animals the features they needed. The children were so determined in this activity as it required a lot of concentration and patience to get the wood exactly how they wanted them. Kerry chose to decorate her crocodile with sharpies and drew some lovely detail to create scales. Well done Sycamore, really fantastic team-work and growth mindset attitude shown during this session! Keep it up!
Dream Catchers & Boomsticks
This week, Sycamore were able to spend the whole afternoon in the Forest as the weather was much better! The children were keen to finish their wands which they begun last week and so we took the clay and tools to the forest and the children spent a long time creating and improving their original designs.
Some children then made dream catchers and some others were keen to carry on the Harry Potter theme and made broomsticks! Apologies to any parents who now have these broomsticks at home..! Jorin, Kye, Simon, Lil and Georg decided they wanted to build a dam for the stream so spent a long time piling up sticks and leaves to see whether they could change the water levels either side. Sycamore’s favourite game to play in the forest is hide and seek, so, to finish the afternoon, they played a few rounds of it and found genius places to hide, making Miss Hare and Mrs Filkin jump when they sprung up out of nowhere! Thank you to Mrs Barnett and Mr Hinder who kindly gave up their afternoon to come and help! It is so appreciated.
Well done for really excellent behaviour, Sycamore!
Rain and Gloomy Weather
Sycamore went out for Forest School this week, despite the rain and gloomy weather! We went into the forest to play a few rounds of hide and seek to get to know our boundaries a bit better. The children found excellent hiding places, and Jorin was wearing a camouflaged coat which made it difficult to spot him from a distance! It didn’t stop him getting a bit stuck in the ditch though!
Then we searched for the perfect stick to create a wand out of – linking with our Book Week topic of Harry Potter. We had to make sure the wood wasn’t dead so it was strong enough to be used as a wand and wasn’t going to snap with the first spell!
We had to come back inside then as the rain begun, and we used vegetable peelers to shave the bark off them, to give them a nice smooth finish.
We got creative with some plasticine to make fancy handles and will use these designs to make final copies in clay, next week.
Thank you for all the offers of help this week – hopefully the weather will be kinder next week and we can go out all afternoon!
Cross the River
Willow Class had their final session of Forest School for this term on Wednesday. As a warm up game, they were challenged with a game called ‘Cross the River’, where they had to work as team to walk across ‘stepping stones’ and swap ends with another team. To start with, they found this really tricky and just wanted to race, but as they kept going, they found the only way to succeed was to help each other out! Edward and Finley came up with a great system of moving the logs, and Violet and Austin were great teammates!
After they had finished, they each had a turn walking across the slackline using their friends to help them! Kai was very nervous to start with and then almost ran along it!
Well done, Willow, your Forest School sessions have been a pleasure this term because you’ve all worked really hard and been very considerate of each other! Keep it up!
Woodland Craft for Christmas decorations
In Forest School, all year groups have explored the different parts of our woodland and how they have changed through autumn into winter. They have also got creative making woodland craft for Christmas decorations. Children have made medallions, Christmas trees, bells and stars. Some classes have used their Forest School sessions to inspire creative writing.
On behalf of all the children and staff we would like to thank all of our Forest School volunteers who give up their time to support at Forest School – Miss Denney
This week, Willow Class made fire! Mr Ottaway kindly brought in some big shells and the children took it in turns to use the steels to light some cotton wool to start the fire. Finley was an expert helper and was determined to help the others achieve their goal. Then the children had great fun roasting marshmallows and making ‘sandwiches’ using chocolate biscuits! There were lots of messy hands and faces by the end! The children were so careful around the fire and showed just how responsible they can be – well done!
While the children were waiting to roast marshmallows, they explored the woods to find leaves and other items to create some art work. They used googly eyes to bring their characters to life and were very creative! Then, to help the children warm up, Mrs Filkin and Mrs Ursell created a great game where they had to work together as a team to guide a blindfolded person!
Well done, Willow Class – you were fantastic!
Vertebrates and Invertebrates
This week, Willow Class had a science-based Forest School session and they learnt more about vertebrates and invertebrates! Before going to the forest, the children classified some animals and began to quickly identify whether an animal was an invertebrate or vertebrate. Then, we focused on the kinds of animals we would find in our woodland. The children then went on a bug hunt all over the forest to see which types of invertebrates they could find and used a classification key to find more features of their animals. They worked really well as small groups and were really considerate to their environment.
After they had finished, they had a great time creating skeletons of vertebrates with sticks and anything else they could find in the forest! Edward, Chloe and Jesse made an amazing crocodile one that stood up by itself! Finley, Helbert, Tommy and George made a fantastic eagle one – complete with a beak and tail! Next week, we are hoping to light a fire and cook some marshmallows so, if any other adults are free to come and help us, we would really appreciate it!
Willow class came back to forest school this week and had a great afternoon in some sunshine!
Mr Ottoway kindly organised some trees to be given to the school through the Woodland Trust and the children began to plant them around the pond. Nicole especially enjoyed jumping on the spade to dig a deep enough hole! They worked hard to plant quite a few trees and the other classes will be helping out over the next week to get lots planted!
While the children weren’t planting, they got very busy and made fantastic dens. Some of the dens even had kitchens where the children sat and roasted pretend marshmallows!
Thomas and Kai were also really creative and made their own diablo sets out of bamboo sticks!
Well done, Willow Class, for lovely imagination and team work!
Thank you very much to Mr Ottoway and Mr Greenwood who came in to support. If any parents are free on Wednesdays from 1pm – 3pm, we are always grateful for an extra pair of hands!
Beech Class had their final forest school session this week. They chose to recreate some of the amazing homes for stick men they made last week – with some children choosing to create a ‘Leaf Factory’! All the children worked really hard as a team and showed what excellent friends they are to each other by helping each other out. They also worked in pairs to guide each other around a rope course. One child had to close their eyes and their partner had to be a great communicator and guide them round the course. They quickly realised their instructions had to be very clear otherwise the person with their eyes closed, went the wrong way!
Thank you so much to all the parents who have helped out this term – Beech class are so lucky to have so many willing parents to come and help!
Beech Class had a fantastic time at Forest School session this week. We went into the forest and were all amazed at how light it was in the forest now all the leaves have come off the trees.
The children had great fun creating huge leaf piles and then made these into little dens for the stick men they created. They had to show resilience and perseverance making their stick men as they had to search for the right sticks and then create their arms, legs and some children even gave them funky hair-dos! When they had finished their stick men or women, some of the children made pets for their stick men – we had dogs, swans and even a pet dinosaur! Jack, Callum, Violet, Neo and Lacey made ‘The Family Tree’ den with their stick men – very imaginative! The children then decided they wanted all their dens to be a part of a ‘Stick Village’ and made paths from their dens to everybody else’s! William and Ryan even put in a roundabout!
Well done, Beech Class – you showed how creative and enthusiastic you are!
Thank you so much to the parents who came in – we couldn’t have done it without you.
Beech Class had their first Forest School session for the year on Thursday and it was a cold one! The temperature was -4 degrees (!) when they first went out but they had wrapped up warm and got running around to warm them up!
In groups, the children went pond dipping. Mr Hinder and Mr Ottoway had to smash the ice covering the pond before we could do anything! The children had a great time fishing under the ice and managed to catch two frogs – one of which was pregnant! They really enjoyed making ice sculptures out of the ice they had ‘caught’ but it meant they had very cold hands!
While they weren’t pond dipping, the children created their own Stick Men and used leaves and raffia to decorate them.
Next week, we hope to be able to go to the forest so if any parents are free to come and help, we would love to have you! Well done Beech Class – you were fantastically behaved!
Oak class had their final Forest School session this week and they had great fun choosing their learning in the outdoors! Some children chose to paint and created amazing autumnal art work which ended with the children painting one of the logs around the fire pit to give it some colour! Other children chose to make an amazing den with the help of the wonderful mums who come in to give them a hand. They made a little fire pit and had great fun pretending to toast marshmallows and sausages over the fire! They made one ‘room’ into a bedroom and tucked themselves into a pretend bed! Bonham and Archie Plummer then made themselves a little seesaw by placing a log between two tree trunks which all the children loved!
Well done Oak Class for wonderful behaviour during your forest school sessions, see you in Term 6!