This term has seen lots of excitement with Forest School and Outdoor Learning returning with even more sessions than before. The children have been enjoying their time outdoors, playing and exploring in the beautiful school grounds.
In Reception, there has been lots of tree climbing, rope swinging and crawling around through the bushes on adventures of all kinds. Role play is regularly in use to provide practice and experience of potential real life situations, allowing the children's imagination to flourish too. The children have chosen to learn about local mammals and their needs, how to use simple identification sheets, the windfall bounty that arrives in Autumn, how to make bark rubbings and wood cookie decorations, and how much fun it is to hide acorn people in odd places for others to come across! The children continue to take responsibility for their safe crossing of the drive, use of ropes and sticks safely, as well as how to support each others play positively. Of course the end of term was celebrated with a fire, toasting crumpets and popping corn with impromptu carols around the fire along with a story made up by the children. Weekly sessions will continue all year in 2018 with lots more play and learning opportunities.
Year 1 children have been continuing with some of their favourite activities at Forest School including use of the rope swing, climbing trees, den building, role play games and scavenger hunts. This year they continue to develop their skills to include knot tying for their dens. All the while the children are playing, creating and challenging themselves, they show their improvements in the five Rs (resilience, resourcefulness, responsibility, reasoning and reflection), which contributes towards the Forest School Award at the end of the academic year. With children sharing stories of their connection to nature at home, they quickly took to bringing in pictures of their wildlife and completing spot-it sheets. Knowledge of nature has grown to new depths with children delving into feeding chains and complexities of life in the natural world through observations, discussion and games. With interest in our resident birds, especially the tame robins, children have made use of binoculars, simple ID charts, and books, some even trying out their robin stalking skills. With interest moving to the use of tools, sanded and decorated wood cookies now have hand drilled holes and threaded with string. Unfortunately the weather took a turn for the worse and the end of term fire session had to be postponed, but will not be forgotten for next year. Next term will also see the children developing these skills further to support their gross and fine motor skills.
For Year 2 children, Outdoor Learning provided opportunities for two sessions this term, one looking at plants and the second at animals. Each session provided more depth of knowledge in its subject using pencil art, team games, identification skills and labelling of parts. Much enthusiasm was observed as small teams worked on Holmwood House tree identification and an old favourite, the minibeast hunt. With an extra session opportunity at the end of term, the children were treated to a fire with crumpets and popcorn as well as lots of fun playing in the Spinney, using the trees to climb, rope swing, den building and a relax in our new hammock. The children are looking forward to more sessions planned for each term next year.
For Year 3 children there was a session looking at habitats in general and around the site at Holmwood House, looking at how they meet the needs of wildlife, particularly for hedgehogs as we have them on site. The children surveyed the site, discussing the pros and cons of their findings, relating this to habitats meeting wildlife needs in modern landscapes and what we may be able to do to support them. At the end of the term the last session saw the whole year group gather for a fire, crumpets and popcorn feast as well making tree decorations for the PP playground from natural materials. This year group will also enjoy further sessions each term next year.