The fairies have returned!!!

Brrrr, Matilda class had a very chilly forest school session on Friday. We all put on our winter woollies and braved the cold for a fantastic forest school session. The last time Matilda class visited Forest School, Flora the fairy and her friends had been to visit to ask the children to build a shelter for them.

The children rushed up to the forest to see what had changed and were amazed to see a fairy door and another note.

The children knocked on the door, however Flora and her friends were not in. Some of the children decided that the fairies might need some Christmas decorations in the forest and rallied together to make the decorations out of natural resources. Amazingly, some children saw Flora fly by and had a chance to speak to her.

  • Ellen: Dear Year 1, I want to thank you for making my house. Love Flora.
  • Lily: When I knocked the door three times, a fairy came and spoke to me. Dear Matilda class, I really like the way you built the houses and protected us from the snakes. Thank you, Love Flora
  • Emily: Dear Year 1 and Robinson Class, I hope you have a lovely Christmas thank you for our gifts. Love Flora.
  • Archie: The fairy and her friends had blue and purple dresses with blonde short hair.
  • Ellen: Flora had blonde hair with pink sparkly shoes and a blue dress.
  • Oscar: The fairy had red glittery shoes and a blue dress.
  • Emily: Flora had nice long blonde hair, she had a red dress and red shoes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other children had a go at using sticks and wool to create weaving poles. The children had to make sure they found sticks that were the same length and width. They then cut the string at the length they thought they needed to weave the string between the poles.

 

 

 

 

Well done Matilda Class.

 

Miss Leatherland 🙂

 

We have had a visitor….

This week in forest school the children went into the forest as normal however….. they noticed something different in the forest.

Underneath one of the trees the children found fairy dust scattered along the ground. The children were fascinated by the fairy dust and found a letter close by from Flora the Fairy. The letter read:

Dear Year 1 and Robinson Class

Overnight I crept into the forest to build myself a shelter. However, it was so cold and windy that I could not find what I needed. Please could you build a shelter for me and my friends so we can return and sleep safely?

Thank you children.

Miss Flora the Fairy

 

 

 

The children rushed to Flora’s aid, using the forests natural resources to create homes for Flora and her friends.

“We can make a trail so the fairy houses connect for them to see in the dark.” Ellen

“We need some pencils to write the fairies names on the houses so they know where to go.” Declan

“I think the fairies will love our houses, I can’t wait to see if they return.” Niamh

All of the adults were so impressed with the children’s commitment and determination to build fairy houses. The children showed fantastic teamwork to find the resources and build very impressive and creative homes. (One home included a flag and a swimming pool)

  

Well done Matilda and Robinson class.

I can’t wait to see if our visitors return!!!!!

Miss Leatherland 🙂

Going to the forest…..

Wow what busy bees we have been in the forest the past few weeks!

In Matilda class we have been searching for bugs in various places and putting them into our bug hotel. The children used magnifying glasses, beakers and pencil brushes to carefully scoop the bugs into their beakers to take a closer look. In total Matilda class found an astonishing 35 bugs hidden in the forest!! Well done guys!!!

 

 

 

 

Paddington class have been playing 1,2,3 where are you in the forest. Half of children go and hide whilst the others have to go and find them. The children came up with some unique hiding spots and worked together as a team to find each other. Paddington class have also been on a bug hunt and were amazed at how many bugs they found hidden under the logs. The children were very careful when collecting their bugs and loved taking a closer look at the bodies of the bugs using the magnifying glasses. It was lovely to see the children growing in confidence as they climbed some of the trees in the forest. Well done everyone!

Last week Matilda class carried out lots of important tasks in the forest. Firstly, the children had to locate different objects in the forest by thinking outside of the box. The children had to find; something rough, something round, something beautiful to them and something fluffy. The children did a fantastic job with some very creative ideas.

 

 

 

 

The second task the class carried out was to become park rangers. The children rallied together to tidy up the leaves in the forest that had fallen with the seasonal change. The class worked together using the resources to create a humungous pile of leaves making the forest a lot tidier.

In between tidying the leaves and locating objects, Matilda class also made stick men using just sticks, string and leaves. It was fantastic to see the children’s creativity sparkle as they used leaves for the hair and made clothes out of the string. Fabulous job guys!!!!!

I can’t wait to see what happens in the forest this week……..

 

Miss Leatherland 🙂

Park Ranger Visit – Year 1

Over the past two weeks Matilda and Paddington class have had a visit from the Park Rangers at Forest School. They came to tell us more about what a Park Ranger does and how we can all help to look after the woods. We were given ‘junior park ranger’ stickers to help remind us of our important role.

All of the children listened very well and had some good questions to ask. We then enjoyed exploring the woods with the rangers who could give us some expert knowledge about the plants and insects. This is what we found out……….

Rules to follow when in the woods:

  • Don’t litter – this is harmful to the environment and could hurt animals.
  • Look after the trees, don’t cut them down or break them. Park rangers only cut down trees if they are a danger or ill.
  • No fires or BBQs – this could be very dangerous if out of control.
  • Be careful around water – don’t swim in rivers or lakes, you could get hurt or become ill from the water.

The Park Rangers told us there are 204 parks and open spaces in Northampton and only 3 Park Rangers, so they are very busy and need our help!

The children were very interested in the Park Rangers uniform. They wore high visabiity jackets so that they can be easily seen in the woods, and had extra thick clothes to avoid being hurt by trees and plants. Their shoes had thick soles incase they stood on anything sharp, and they all wore hats when it was sunny. They also had walkie talkies and body cameras to record any activity observed in the parks which might be bad.

We also got see the Park Rangers vehicle which was a 4×4 and had orange flashing lights!

The Park Rangers bought along a recently cut down tree branch and tree stump. Together we used magnifying glasses to take a closer look and had a go at trying to find out how old the tree was by counting the rings.

All of the children enjoyed the Park Rangers visit and learnt alot. We hope you continue to remember your junior park ranger role, and help us to look after the woods.

Mrs Read 🙂

Hot Weather

Gruffalo and Paddington class please ensure you have suncream applied in the morning before school, bring some with you to put more on, and have a hat and water bottle in school. It will be very hot tomorrow at forest school!
Mrs Read 🙂

Using tools safely.

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Paddington & Gruffalo class have been learning how to use tools safely today at Forest School.
We have been using vegetable peelers to strip the bark from sticks to investigate what is underneath.
This has lead to some great discussions in small groups, talking about the colours, textures and why the bark is there.

Last day in the forest

Today was our last day in the forest. We had a very early start and had to leave the hotel by 7am, as we had a long walk and needed to be in the woods ready to start at 8am.

Our day today involved working with the Swedish teachers with no children in the woods, just us. We were very lucky to have 7 Swedish teachers with us who all planned different outdoor learning activities to show us, and for us to try so that we could share ideas and bring home new activity plans to use with our own children in school.

We had lots of fun working in teams trying out the different activities which ranged across the whole curriculum and through all ages. Some of the activities included:
Geography – reading and making maps, creating landscapes.
Science – searching for insects, creating food webs, classifying,
Maths – measuring, counting, making patterns, shapes, learning co-ordinates, creating equations.
English – learning language, giving and following directions, grammar work.
Art – making pictures using nature.
DT – using tools and creating fire, cooking lunch.
PSHE – teamwork, discussion about needs, wants and survival.

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After a busy morning of activities we were all ready for lunch, however this also required some hard work. We had to cut up logs for the fire, make the fire, chop up the vegetables and then cook the food ready to eat. It was delicious!

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We feel very fortunate to have been part of such an amazing trip, and the staff in Sweden have been so welcoming and accommodating, sharing such excellent outdoor learning practise. We have so many new ideas to bring back to England with us and can’t wait to share them with everyone at SDS.

Mrs Read & Mrs Chamberlain. 🙂

Forest Learning Day 2

Another jam packed day at Forest School today for us. Again we had an early start a had to travel to school by bus this morning as it was a little further away. On our drive there we drove past the children walking to the woods who were all very excited to see us and waved at the bus passing.

In the woods we were split into groups to go off and explore. This morning we were with the younger children.

The first activity involved teamwork and required the children to listen to and trust each other. They had to balance on a log and switch places without touching the floor to put themselves in height order. Once in height order they made themselves into a caterpillar, holding onto each other’s shoulders. Then everyone but the leader closed their eyes and they walked round the woods.

The children then had time to practise their knife skills. They were each given a knife and a stick to practise shaving the bark off. All of them were very careful, and handled the knives confidently and safely. Myself and Mrs Chamberlain also had a go and carved a magic wand out of our stick!

It was then time for ‘Fika’ which is break time. We all walked to be forest school meeting place and had coffee, cake and fruit with the children. After Fika the children were set a challenge to look at maps and identify landmarks. They then had to represent these maps on the floor using natural objects. They looked really closely at the details and were very creative with the materials they found.

Next it was time for lunch, again we were invited back to school to enjoy lunch with the children. Once in school we removed our shoes and helped ourselves to a very healthy lunch of meatballs, pasta and salad. The children were very proud to show us round their school and share their school work with us.

This afternoon we went to the woods with the older children. Their first activity was to lay down peacefully in the woods and listen for the sounds they could hear. We lay for some time looking up into the tree tops and at the beautiful blue sky. We then sat up and the children identified which birds were in the woods by the bird songs they could hear.

The next challenge was to identify different types of moss. The children were given a chart with the names of moss which they had to find and place on the grid. They were very good and could identify and name the characteristics of each type of moss growing.

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After a busy day in the woods, we were invited to a different school to share our good practice and deliver a presentation to the other teachers both from England and Sweden. It was great to listen to others share learning from their school too. We then all sat down to eat dinner together cooked by the school chefs.

It was also really interesting to have tours of both of the schools today to have a look at what their classrooms and learning environments look like. Can you spot any big differences between Sweden and England?

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We are now very very tired, and need to get to sleep as we have a 7am meeting time in the morning!

Mrs Read & Mrs Chamberlain. 🙂

Forest Learning

Wow what a busy day we have had at Forest School today!

Our day started at 7.30am for breakfast, which was followed by a lovely walk along the river to school. When we arrived at school we were accompanied by the Swedish teachers and children who led the way to the forest on their bikes. Every child had their own bike and carried their own backpack full of their forest school supplies. They quickly left us behind so we had a map to follow the rest of the way and find their forest school site.
By the time we found forest school the children were already sat round the fire talking about the morning activities. Today the learning was focused around the Stone Age. The children were split into three groups and rotated round the activities.

Activity 1 was around the main campfire. The children were discussing and exploring Stone Age methods for lighting fires which were quite tricky. They worked in pairs with the teacher using a bow drill to start a fire using friction. This was hard work and the children quickly got tired. They then looked at other methods of making fire such as using a flint, magnifying glass and lighter or matches.

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Activity 2 involved the children working in pairs to practise lighting fires using the more modern method with steel fire lighting strikers. The children had different materials to see which was more flammable and found this method of lighting fires much easier.

Activity 3 was making a natural ‘spork’ (spoon & fork) using tools. The children were given a thick short stick and used their knives to whittle and shape the end into a spoon shape, the other end was then shaped and split to make a fork. The children then tested their sporks by eating collected nuts and berries mixed with honey.

After a very busy morning we returned to school with the children to all eat lunch together in the canteen. We had to remove our shoes at the door, like you would at home. We all served our own lunches and sat at large round tables together. At the end of lunch the children even tidied away and cleaned the tables.

This afternoon we went down to the river with the older children, age 11. We spent some time wading into the shallow banks and used nets to explore the creatures that live in the river. We found lots of exciting things and placed them carefully in buckets to examine and classify using magnifying glasses and identification charts. Mrs Chamberlain even spotted a snake!!

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We are very tired after a brilliant day of forest learning and can’t wait to see what the next school has planned for us tomorrow!

Finally take a look at these lovely gifts we have been given by the schools to help make our time in the forest more comfortable, a foldable mug and cushion to sit on! Brilliant ideas and both have come in very handy already!

Mrs Read & Mrs Chamberlain. 🙂

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Sweden Trip

Mrs Read & Mrs Chamberlain have had a very busy day today travelling to Sweden. We have come to Lidkoping to visit some schools and find out more about forest learning.

Our day started at 3.30am, and we eventually arrived at our hotel at 3.30pm, so a long day travelling!
This afternoon we have had some time to look round Lidkoping, which is a beautiful place, some photos below show you some of the buildings, statues and street art we found on our walk.
Then we had a meeting with all of the 35 other teachers and TAs on the course with us to find out more about our timetable for the week. So far we have learnt that school starts at 8am in the morning, so we have a very early start tomorrow.

We look forward to sharing more with you as we find out more about forest learning here in Sweden.

What would you like to know about forest learning in Sweden? Write your questions in the comments below and we will try to find the answer for you.

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