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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Rainy Day at Forest School!

The rain has not stopped today, but that hasn’t stopped our fun at Forest School!

Simba & Matilda class came to Forest School today and had so much fun in the rain.

We enjoyed trying to catch raindrops on our hands, faces and tongues, and looked around the woods to see where the rain was collecting most, thinking about why this was.

The children had different activities then to choose from. Lots enjoyed playing with the water trail, making water runs using guttering and pipes and collecting the rain using funnels and pots to fill the watering cans. The year 1 children noticed that some of the containers had measure on the side so that we could measure the rain water and compare amounts collected.

Some children enjoyed exploring the chalk in the rain, drawing patterns on the black tough spot and then using brushes to mix in the rain water to see what happened. However the most popular activity was using the powder paints, which we mixed with the rain water to make pots of paint. Some children then discovered they could mix the primary colours to make new colours and enjoyed painting the forest school fence multicoloured.

A brillaint rainy day at Forest School, and we even managed to fit in a bit of puddle jumping on the playground too! Well done Matilda and Simba class!

Mrs Read 🙂

 

Beautiful Bluebells

We had a lovely sunny afternoon at Forest School today, and Paddington class enjoyed a walk down to Grangewood park to admire the bluebells.

We spent some quiet time today sitting and observing the bluebells, looking closely at the details. Everyone then had a go at drawing what they could see and labelled the plant using the correct vocabulary.

We discussed the different parts of a plant and what they do.

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I dont think the bluebells will be there for much longer, so if you havent seen them yet make sure to go quickly!

Some of Paddington class are convinced they saw some faries. Have a look at this news article on the link below and see what you think. Do faries really live in the bluebells?

Is this really tinkerbell caught on camera?

Mrs Read 🙂