Coxhoe Primary School

Believe and Achieve

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Forest School

Lead by Mrs Topping - Forest School Leader.

What is Forest School?

 

Forest School is a child-centred inspirational learning process, that offers opportunities for holistic growth through regular sessions. It is a long-term program that supports play, exploration and supported risk taking. It develops confidence and self-esteem through learner inspired, hands-on experiences in a natural setting.

Forest School has a developmental ethos shared by thousands of trained practitioners around the world, who are constantly developing their learning styles and skills to support new and imaginative learners.

The process helps and facilitates more than knowledge-gathering, it helps learners develop socially, emotionally, spiritually, physically and intellectually. It creates a safe, non-judgemental nurturing environment for learners to try stuff out and take risks. Forest School inspires a deep and meaningful connection to the world and an understanding of how a learner fits within it. Our approach to risk means that learners constantly expand on their abilities by solving real-world issues, building self-belief and resilience. We believe that risk is more than just potential for physical harm, but a more holistic thing, there are risks in everything we do, and we grow by overcoming them. Forest School therefore, helps participants to become, healthy, resilient, creative and independent learners.

There is lots of research out there to support the outcomes of Forest School, but we know that it isn’t just the educational outcomes and research that matter, our learners and leaders love it too!

 

What have we been up to?

Walliams' Three Week Block. 

Walliams Week 3 - Campfire Cooking

This week, to end our three week block of forest school, we lit the campfire and learned all about how to stay safe around a fire. 

We also used the fire to make some delicious treats and had a feast together. 

We roasted marshmallows, kneeling by the fire in pairs in the respect position, before sandwiching them between biscuits and chocolate buttons. 

I have been extremely impressed with the whole of Walliams class’ behaviour, knowledge and dedication throughout their three weeks. Well done! 

Mrs Topping 

Walliams Week 2 - The Gruffalo

During our second session we looked at the Julia Donaldson story, The Gruffalo. 

The children acted the story out, beautifully. 

They all enjoyed our first games this week. We played The floor is Lava and Sly Fox. 

Once we had read the story, we split into groups, where children used the natural materials around them to build some of the best dens I have ever seen! 

We are very much looking forward to our final session next week and cooking on a campfire. 

Mrs Topping

Walliams - Week 1. 

Walliams class started their block of forest school this week. All the children were very excited and they all behaved really well, listening carefully to all of the safety talks and learning about the importance of preserving and looking after our local environment. 

We read the story "The Room on the Broom" which was very fitting as it was Halloween week. 

We made our own broom sticks using the natural materials outdoors and our newly learned knot skills. 

The children all enjoyed getting muddy too, making their own magic potions and explaining their "powers" to the rest of the class. We had some that would turn their friends into the animal they best resembled and another that would turn the characters from the story into humans so that they could be friends forever. 

The children are all very much looking forward to next week's session. 

Mrs Topping. 

Rowling’s 3 Week Block

Rowling’s Fire Session. Week 3. 

This week’s session was so much fun! We learned all about fire safety, took turns with the flint and steel and after lighting the fire, we roasted marshmallows and made some delicious s’mores. 

The children have all thoroughly enjoyed their 3 week block of forest school.

I have been so impressed with their attitude and behaviour. They have certainly made both myself and Miss Dent proud! 

Mrs Topping

Rowling’s Three Week Block. Week 2. The Gruffalo. 

This week we had lots of fun outdoors, looking at the story “The Gruffalo.”

We played some games and the sat around the fire pit to read the book. The children all did amazingly well acting out the story whilst Mr Longstaff read it. 

After that, we built some dens for the Gruffalo, whilst thinking about the size it would need to be and the materials that would need to be used. 

Some children chose to make some habitats for the other characters in the story. I’m sure you will agree the pictures show how much fun the children have had! 

 

Next week we are cooking on a campfire. We are all very excited! 

Mrs Topping. 

Week 1. Room on the Broom.

This week’s forest school sessions were emjoyed by Rowling class. 

The children (and adults,) were all very excited to make a start and lots of fun was had by all. 

We played some forest games, such as “Sly Fox” and “The Floor is Lava” and then gathered around the fire circle for our story. 

Following our story, we discussed the similarities between the setting in the book and our own setting at school. We thought about the parts of the story that we could reacreate in our forest area, using the natural materials available to us. 

We separated into two groups. 

Group 1 went with Mrs Topping, where they were taught some simple knot skills, before foraging for sticks, leaves and branches to make our very own broom sticks! I think you will agree they look incredible. 

Group two went with Mr Chilvers to make magic potions. They were all very keen to get their hands muddy and get stuck in. We discussed the safety surrounding berries and plants in our area that should not be picked and the children understood the reasons behind this. 

After 15minutes our groups swapped and then we came back together around the fire circle to share our creations. 

We all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and can’t wait to see what adventures we will get up to next week. 

Mrs Topping

Morpurgo’s 3 Week Block

Week 3. The Scarecrow’s Wedding. Campfire cooking.

Today was Morpurgo’s final forest school session, and what a delicious session it was! 

We learned all about how to safely cook on a campfire, remembering our rules and how important they are. We also chatted about the importance of looking after our natural environment and why fires can be so dangerous. 

Everyone got to practice with a flint and steel to see if they could produce a spark and then Mr Allen lit the fire. 

We read the story “The Scarecrow’s Wedding” and decided it would be fun to have a banquet to celebrate the wedding. We also looked at how we could use the natural materials around us to create props for a wedding ceremony. 

Then the fun really began. We made some delicious S’mores, safely roasting marshmallows on the fire, adding chocolate and sandwiching between two yummy biscuits. 

The children have all thoroughly enjoyed their sessions and loved their time exploring the outdoors. 

Next week Rowling class take their place to see what fun they can get up to! 

Mrs Topping 

 

Week 2. The Gruffalo. Den building. 

This week the children has Mr Allen taking them out for their forest school session. They read the story The Gruffalo and compared the setting with our own. 

Using their previously learned knot skills, the children worked together to put up a tarpaulin and using the natural materials available to them, worked collaboratively to build a fantastic shelter for the Gruffalo to hide from the mouse. 

They used lots of imagination, adding a kitchen and more to their shelter, meaning that the Gruffalo had a super shelter to go home to. 

Next week is the final week that Morpurgo will have forest school. 

We will be looking at The Scarecrow’s Wedding and perhaps even sampling a treat or two

Week 1. Room on the Broom. 

This year’s forest school sessions started this week and was enjoyed by Morpurgo class. 

The children (and adults,) were all very excited to make a start and lots of fun was had by all. 

We played some forest games, such as “Sly Fox” and “The Floor is Lava” and then gathered around the fire circle for our story. 

Following our story, we discussed the similarities between the setting in the book and our own setting at school. We thought about the parts of the story that we could reacreate in our forest area, using the natural materials available to us. 

We separated into two groups. 

Group 1 went with Mrs Topping, where they were taught some simple knot skills, before foraging for sticks, leaves and branches to make our very own broom sticks! I think you will agree they look incredible. 

Group two went with Miss Watkins to make magic potions. They were all very keen to get their hands muddy and get stuck in. We discussed the safety surrounding berries and plants in our area that should not be picked and the children understood the reasons behind this. 

After 15minutes our groups swapped and then we came back together around the fire circle to share our creations. 

We all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and can’t wait to see what adventures we will get up to next week. 

Mrs Topping

 

Week Three - Fire, pond dipping and natural dying of materials

This week was a little bit wet, the Great British weather decided it was not going to be on our side and we had to put a tarpaulin up for shelter. 

It didn't stop our fun though!

We were going to be using natural materials to dye some white T-Shirts. Specifically Ivy. We picked some ivy, Mrs Topping boiled it at home on her fire, (as it takes approx 3 hours to get the dye to seep out and we didn't have that long to wait!) we then used the collected dye to pour onto our T-shirts, after lighting our fire safely. 

We used elastic bands to wrap our T-shirts into specific patterns and left them on the fire to hopefully suck up some of the dye. 

In the meantime, we took some of the pond dipping equipment to the pond during a dry spell and explored the wildlife within our natural environment. We found lots of strange and wonderful things, it was all very exciting. 

Once the fire had burned out, we took our shirts from it and hung them out to dry. The children were very surprised to find that the green ivy has turned their shirts yellow instead of green! We think they look very cool. 

We only have one more session left as school gets busier towards the end of term and what a session it will be! I am very excited!

Week Two - Tools!

 

This week we revisited moon phases! 

We asked Mr Coils to chop a tree down from our forest area which had died. 

We used this wood to make some moon phases using tools. 

The children were taught how to safely use a saw and a hand drill. 

They used the saw to cut the wood into discs. They then drew their choice of moon phase before using the hand drill to make a hole in the disk ready for hanging. 

We had lots of fun. 

Mrs Topping. 

 

And so we have begun….

We kicked off our years 5 and 6 forest school sessions with some den building. Always a firm favourite.

We started the sessions by laying the ground rules and expectations and the children were all very sensible.

They learned some knots and used these skills to erect their shelter. The children worked amazingly well together and showed some fantastic teamwork skills. 

They especially enjoyed the session being child led and being able to have their own ideas and carry these through practically. Even adding a luxury Italian bed to their living quarters! 


We are all very excited to see what will happen next week. 

Mrs Topping 

 

 

Year 1 and 2 - Campfire Cooking

Always a firm favourite of all of the children, we were definitely looking forward to this week!

After a safety briefing, we lit the campfire.

It was all very exciting. 

The children all took turns roasting marshmallows to make s'mores. We then made popcorn, followed by hot chocolate!

It was delicious. 

Afterwards we had to clean our dishes and put everything away. The children all helped and took turns washing and drying the dishes. 

We finished our 6 week sessions with some campfire games before talking about all of our favourite things that we have enjoyed over the six weeks. 

I have thoroughly enjoyed spending these 6 weeks having adventures with this wonderful bunch of people. They have made me proud every week and we can't wait to experience the wonders of the forest together again sometime soon. 

Mrs Topping. 

Shelter Week - Year 1 and 2.

 

This week the children enjoyed a game of "Trolls" where they had to dress up, get muddy and defend their territory. They did very well!

We then read "A Squash and A Squeeze" and chatted about the moral from the story. 

The children were then challenged to create a shelter/den using different materials, ropes and cords. Would they be able to make one that was waterproof?

They had lots of fun working together and came up with a very good shelter. They then tested the Little Old Man's theory from the story to see if it would work in real life. It did!

Mr Allen and Miss Bell had lots of fun turning themselves into trolls too, as you can see below!

 

Mrs Topping

 

We have begun!

Some children from years 1 and 2 started their forest school journey this afternoon. 

We had a long chat about safety and how we need to stay safe outdoors, following all of our rules. 

We then read a Julia Donaldson story "Room on the Broom."

The children learned some magic words "Iggidy ziggidy zaggidy zoom," and once they'd made their very own broomsticks, using the natural materials available to them outdoors, up and off they flew, leaving chaos in their wake. 

We had a little time spare at the end of our sessions so we decided it might be fun to make a witches potion (or three.) We used lots of materials that we found in our forest area and worked very well together to create some very interesting looking potions. 

Next week we will be looking at another Julia Donaldson book "The Gruffalo" and den building. We are all very excited for Thursday to come around again. 

Week 6 - (Year 3/4) - The Scarecrow's Wedding

This week we read the story The Scarecrow's Wedding. We decided to cook a wedding banquet on the campfire to celebrate!

After a safety briefing, we lit the campfire.

It was all very exciting. 

The children all took turns roasting marshmallows to make s'mores. We then made popcorn and pancakes with honey, followed by hot chocolate!

It was delicious. 

Afterwards we had to clean our dishes and put everything away. The children all helped and took turns washing and drying the dishes. 

We finished our 6 week sessions with some campfire games before talking about all of our favourite things that we have enjoyed over the six weeks. 

I have thoroughly enjoyed spending these 6 weeks having adventures with this wonderful bunch of people. They have made me proud every week and we can't wait to experience the wonders of the forest together again sometime soon. 

Mrs Topping. 

Week 5 (Year 3/4) - Superworm. 28.03.22

 

Today during our Forest School session, we read the Julia Donaldson book, Superworm. 
The children thoroughly enjoyed the story and we had a chat about what super powers our Superworm might have. This ranged from being able to fly, having super speed to even being able to do our homework for us. 
We then decided we would like to celebrate Superworm by creating a beautiful artwork in our Forest School area, dedicated to him. 
We found lots of "Superworms" (lengths of wool)  hiding in the trees and used these to weave into a wooden frame. The children then decided it would be beautiful if we added some of our natural resources from outdoors to weave into the artwork too. 
They chose pine cones, sticks, flowers and leaves. 
I think you will agree the results are amazing! I think this is an artwork Superworm would be happy to call his own! 
The children are all VERY excited for our session next week as we are going to be working safely with fire!
Please note, this session will be on Thursday next week instead of the Monday, due to needing additional adults for safety. 

Week 4 (Year 3/4) - Stickman. 21.03.22

This week we were blessed with some beautiful weather, which really makes all the difference when we are heading outdoors. It meant that we didn't need as long to prepare to go out and we had time for some extra games. We played "Sardines", "Find Something Beginning with..." and "The Floor is Lava."

Once we were adequately warmed up, we read the story "Stickman" together. 

We talked about what we would use to make our own stickman and reeducated ourselves with some basic knot skills. 

The children were then taught how to whittle. We spoke lots about safety and how we should never point tools towards ourselves or others. I demonstrated the correct technique and the children were amazing, following instructions and keeping themselves and others safe. 

They then made their whittled stick into a stickman. They were very impressive!

Once made, we searched our area for natural resources that we could use to make Stickman a home. They were very creative!

We as always, are looking forward to next week!

Week 3 (Year 3/4)- A Squash and a Squeeze. 17.03.22

This week we read the story "A Squash and a Squeeze" and we learnt what a moral is. We discussed whether the moral in that story would work in real life. We decided to use our previously learned skills to put it to the test. 

We practiced our knot tying skills before talking about what might make a good shelter and why. Would it need to be waterproof, how would we ensure it was safe?

We made two shelters this week, one a wooden structure and the other made using tarpaulin and rope. Both worked really well. We then re-read the story whilst some of the children acted it out. We decided that, yes! the moral in the story did work in real life and we said that we thought the moral was that we should appreciate the things we have in life. 

As always, we deconstructed our dens and left the forest as we found it, without a trace of teachers or children.

We are very much looking forward to Monday or our next session. 

Week 2 (Year 3/4)- The Gruffalo 7.3.22

This week our story was The Gruffalo. As I read the book some of the children acted the story out and really brought it to life. We then talked about all of the character's habitats and where they might hide within our setting. We decided that we should make somewhere for the Gruffalo to hide from Mouse! I showed the children some pictures of a den I had built at Hamsterly Forest and they decided that they would recreate it in our outdoor area. After a chat about safety and how we should transport branches and logs bigger than us, we made a start on our den!

WOW! I was so impressed with what the children came up with! They all worked so well together as a team and communicated their ideas to each other brilliantly!

We all took turns to have a go in our den and then deconstructed it to finish. 

When asked what the children had enjoyed most from our session, most children shouted "All of it!"

We are all very much looking forward to next week.

Week 1 (Year 3/4)- Room on the Broom 28.2.22

This week we started our Forest School journey.

We talked through our special Forest School rules. What we need to remember to keep us safe and what we could expect from our sessions. 

The children were all very excited and looking forward to getting started. 

We read through the Julia Donaldson book The Room on the Broom and made some similarities between the areas in the story and our own setting.

Our skill this week was knot work. We learnt an 'Overhand' knot and because we did so well, we moved onto a more tricky 'Half Hitch' knot.  

We then moved onto our 2 tasks, in small groups. We made witches brooms, using our skills and then made a witches potion, getting extremely messy in the process. 

We all had lots of fun and the children have all expressed that they are very excited to continue next week. 

Our Forest School Area

We have created our very own Forest School display using all of the crafts we have created over the past few weeks so that everyone can see what we have been up to and how amazing we are in Forest School.

Last half term we were practicing some forest school skills by using sticks to create some very exciting crafts, such as stickmen, clay hedgehogs and some picture frames. We made animal art using leaves and natural resources and we learnt about the different types of trees we have on our school site by matching leaf pictures to leaves we collected on the school grounds. 

Forest School Calendar

Julia Donaldson 6 Week Block:

Week 1: Room on the Broom - 28.2.22

Knot skills. 

Week 2: The Gruffalo - 7..3.22

Den building

Week 3: - A Squash and a Squeeze 17..3.22

Shelter building.

Week 4: Stickman - 21.3.22

Whittling.

Week 5: Superworm - 28.3.22

Weaving

Week 6: The Scarecrow's Wedding - 4.4.22

Fire.

Useful resources:

Knots

Below you will find some instructions for simple knots that you can practice at home.