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Saturn Class Forest School

Saturn class are excited to share their experiences from participating in Forest School.

Friday 25th April
Today, Saturn class had their first Forest School session. It was a little wet but we had fun as we learnt the four Forest school rules and participated in activities. The children sang songs, collected 'treasure' in baskets and built the campfire.

Wednesday 30th April
During our second session of Forest School we were blessed with glorious sunshine. The children had remembered all of the rules and started the session with a safety sweep, remembering to stay within the boundary. The children were then sent off to find a stick and bring it back to base camp, where they were asked to use their imagination to suggest ideas for what their stick could be. There were brooms, aeroplanes and wands to name a few. The children were then shown a leaf from a horse chestnut tree. After looking closely at the leaf they were set a challenge to find the tree. For the final activity, the children were organised in to groups to create animal or fairy houses using any natural objects they could find. The children worked well together as they negotiated what type of house they would build and how the resources were used.

Wednesday 7th May
Our third session remained dry and the children were very engaged in all of the activities once we had revisited our rules and conducted the necessary safety sweep. For the first activity, we began by reminding ourselves about last weeks tree of the week, the horse chestnut tree and then the children were introduced to a lime tree leaf. Some children describes the leaf as soft and smooth and Nathan said it looked like a heart when turned upside down. The children were then challenged to find a lime tree. They found five lime trees around the field. Back at base camp, the children were then asked to use their sense of smell to try and work out what was in our three smelling pots. William correctly identified the first pot which contained lavender. Sam suggested that there was lemon juice in the second pot and it was in fact a lemon. Ida thought the third pot smelled like toothpaste which was a good guess as the children were smelling mint. For a final activity, we talked about minibeasts. We thought about different types, where they live and why they like to live there. The children were then asked to help build a 'bug hotel' by filling plant pots and containers with leaves and straw and placing them in between some pallets. The children also gathered bundles of sticks to be tied together.  The children were eager to find some guests to stay in the bug hotel and began turning over the logs in base camp and transported some of the insects into the hotel. They found worms, slugs, snails, beetles and centipedes. The children are looking forward to going back next week to continue improving the hotel.

Wednesday 14th May
Today we began the session by playing a listening game. One child volunteered to be blind folded whilst the rest of the children chose somewhere on the field to hide together. The blind folded child had to shout '1, 2, 3, Where are you?' and then listened carefully when the rest of the children responded. Whilst holding an adults hand, they guided the adult in the direction of the voices, whilst continually repeating '1, 2, 3, Where are you?' until they located where the children were hiding. The children enjoyed this activity. We then looked closely at a leaf from the 'Tree of the week' which is the Ash tree. The children then searched for the tree in groups. For the final activity, the children worked again in small groups to search for minibeasts. They thought about the different types they might find and the best places to look for them. The children thoroughly enjoyed this and worked well together collecting and placing their minibeasts into bug pots. The lucky minibeasts were then 'checked' into the bug hotel.

Wednesday 21st May
The children revisited the rules and conducted the necessary safety sweep to begin the session. We then recapped all of the trees we had looked at over the previous weeks and the children were challenged to find them all. They worked in groups and quickly found each of them, remembering their names and descriptions. Once we'd had our snack back at base camp, the children then had the opportunity to choose from a range of available resources and activities. The activities on offer were mud painting, treasure baskets, hunting for minibeasts and den making. The children quickly chose their activity and became engrossed in what they were doing. They talked enthusiastically about what they were doing and some tried more than one activity. The session came to an end too quickly and the children hope to revisit the activities next week.

Wednesday 4th June
Before our final session, the children were briefed about the possibility of building and lighting a campfire. We discussed how to stay safe and why our forest school rules are so important. This is what we had been working towards for the past 5 weeks. Luckily the weather was kind and the rain held off to allow us to go ahead with the camp fire. A fire basket was placed in the centre of base camp along with some small, dry sticks, newspaper and cotton wool balls. A group of children were selected to help pick out the smallest sticks, whilst the rest of the children helped by loosely scrunching up pieces of newspaper and gently stretching the cotton wool balls. Starr and Imogen T correctly identified that we needed air to help the fire burn. Mrs McAulay placed some thick sticks near the bottom of the fire cage to lift the fire up, before the children added their newspaper, cotton wool balls and the smaller sticks in stages. The children were asked to tuck their feet in next to their log and to remain seated. Mrs McAulay then lit some balls of cotton wool and gradually added them to the campfire. The children began to get excited as smoke started to appear until eventually we had a fire. Mrs McAulay then invited two children at a time to place a stick on the fire under supervision. All of the children were very sensible and showed courage whilst doing this. They then enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate with a marshmallow, whilst watching the fire. Mrs AcAulay also explained how she was going to put the fire out safely. The children were then able to revisit some of the activities from the previous week whilst the fire was safely put out. This was a fantastic way to end our Forest School experience and we thank Mrs McAulay for making it so enjoyable.