We are incredibly lucky to have Caroline Sawyer, a qualified Forest Schools practitioner, working with us on a voluntary basis. This has enabled us to offer specific children the opportunity to take part in outdoor learning sessions on a regular basis.
Caroline has worked really hard to develop our Forest Schools camp on the field behind the school and we now have a den, camp fire and seating. Caroline is working with children from Nursery right through to Year 6 and is offering them amazing learning opportunities.
Not all children learn in the same way and Forest Schools gives some children the chance to flourish in a different learning environment.
We are very grateful to Caroline and we will keep you posted on how the groups progress.
Here is what we have been up to:
Planning for a more diverse environment
Last week our Forest Schools participants completed Stage One of the RSPB Schools Challenge. They were awarded their certificates in our celebration assembly on Friday, 6th March 2020.
This week the team have begun work on the next stage which involves planning to create a more diverse environment in the school grounds to encourage a wider range of different bird species.
Feeding Birds in the Snow
As the snow hit Stanhope last week, our intrepid Forest Schools groups ventured out to make sure our birds were well-fed and looked after.
They wrapped up warm and braved the elements to make skewers of fruit for the birds and wildlife who live in our orchard.
RSPB ‘Wild Challenge’
Since the start of the Spring term we have been looking at the RSPB ‘Wild Challenge’. The Wild Challenge encourages the children to connect with the natural world and to earn awards from the RSPB as they do. There are three awards: Bronze, Silver and Gold, and to earn them there are a wide variety of activities that we can complete. These activities are divided into two sections: Helping Nature and Experiencing Nature. To gain the Bronze award we will need to complete three activities from each section. So far, we have enjoyed making fat balls to feed the birds, bird watching, and clearing the raised beds ready for planting wild flowers.
Raised Bed Wildflowers
Our Forest Schools Groups have been preparing the overgrown raised beds in the school orchard ready for planting. The plan is to create some wildflower meadows which will also provide seeds for our garden birds.
The groups also made sure that the birds had enough food during our first snow of the winter.
Feeding the Birds
In Forest Schools, the children learnt how to make feeders, bird food using suet balls and how to look after the birds during the winter time.
On Wednesday 27th November 2019 our Forest Schools groups had great fun creating different woodland creatures. Using air-drying clay and whatever materials they could find in the wood, the children were challenged to sculpt their own forest creature. Some children were incredibly creative and created some amazing pieces of work.
Den Building and Fire Lighting
Our children continue to love learning outdoors with our Forest Schools Programme. Last week they learnt fire lighting skills and had to work as a team to design and construct a shelter.
The staff who are working with this group of children have been amazed at the progress they have made so far and one teacher has commented that the children are much calmer when they return to the classroom for afternoon lessons.
“It’s awesome!” said Brandon.
EYFS and Forest Schools
The pupils in EYFS have been enjoying their Forest Schools experience, too. Please visit the EYFS – Understanding the World page to find out more…