Kingfishers Spring 2017
This term the Kingfishers have learnt about different types of birds & their calls, learnt about what birds eat, camouflage & have made nests; they used maps to find hidden treasure bags with interesting natural objects inside; they made a den for Oakley Bear and tested it to see if it was waterproof; they learnt how to use loppers to make 'bug villas'; and baked delicious bananas on the fire. There have been lots of opportunities for free play, especially in the mud kitchen. They have also enjoyed playing '1,2,3 Where are you?'
Thank you to all of the parents and carers who have made sure that the children have had everything they need each Tuesday (including bananas)!
Wren Class Spring 2017
This term the Wrens have enjoyed meeting Oakley Bear; finding Stick Man and his friends and helping them to build new homes, visit the Stick hospital and find their Stick sheep; they followed a trail to find some sleepy bears and learnt about which UK animals hibernate; they made bird feeders; used a tool (peeler) to groom their Stick puppies and toasted marshmallows on the fire. They have been lots of opportunities for play especially in the mud kitchen.
Thank you so much to all of the parents and carers who have made sure the children came with everything they needed each Tuesday.
The Kestrels and Falcons have been enjoying their first few weeks back at Forest School, with the Falcon class starting their journey on the John Muir Award.
So far we've...
The Wren and Kingfisher class have been making the most of the beautiful Autumn sunshine. In the last few weeks we've been busy;
and finding out what the next challenge the magical people have in store for us!
It was a wet and windy return to Forest School this Friday but the Kingfisher and Wren classes took this in their stride and had lots of fun exploring and playing in the Wild Area.
The Kingfisher class were keen to play, make dens (to shelter from the downpours) and use the newly improved ‘mud kitchen’. After singing some of our favourite songs they went in search of a special box hidden in the Wild Area by the magical people who live there. Inside the box we discovered some bulbs which the magical people wanted us to plant in order to encourage more pollinators into the grounds. At the end of our session we talked about how we are going to look after our Wild Area and the special bins that we now have for our rubbish. We sorted our rubbish into food waste, plastic and paper and rubbish that would have to go to the landfill.
The Wren class were also lucky to receive some gifts from the magical people. After working in pairs to make their wool bracelets, they then helped to plant the remaining bulbs in the Pollinator Zone. We talked about the different parts of the bulb and which way up it needed to go! To say thank you to the magical people for their gifts we then went on a natural object hunt, finding and putting five small objects that might be of use to the magical people, in a camera film case. We placed these in the special box and left them in the Wigloo for the magical people to find. After a quick marshmallow stop, we then played in the mud kitchen, built dens and hunted for minibeasts. On our return to the classroom we read a story called the Very Helpful Hedgehog and thought about the different ways people had helped us today.
Our Forest School stars this week are:
Holly and Rory for their kindness to others.
Imogen for always listening carefully, following instructions and trying her best.
June has seen our Wild Area come to life with both flora and fauna thriving in the rain and sun. Many thanks to Mr Molyneux for strimming paths into our long grass and to Mr Chaplin for putting in, what will be, a much used outdoor tap. The children have been busy investigating what now lives amongst the grasses, trees and log piles, using sweep nets and close observation to discover more. We've looked closely at beetles, talked about the definition of an insect and learnt the names of common invertebrates. We've also been enjoying the mud kitchen, den building, necklace making and toasting marshmallows over our open fire. A beautiful bug house is now installed in a corner of our Wild Area and we were very excited to discover a nest of four baby Robins in the hedge bank this week. Let's hope that they manage to fledge despite the poor odds!
The Wren Class had a creative and yummy final Forest School session this half term. We revisited the life cycle of a butterfly, this time thinking carefully about the symmetry we often find in nature. The children made symmetrical butterflies using clay and natural materials which looked amazing individually and simply stunning when placed side by side. We then all played 'Duck, Duck Goose' to remind us of our fire circle rules and toasted marshmallows over the fire.
This week saw the Kestrel, Falcon and Kingfisher classes out in our Wild Area enjoying a large range of activities, whilst dodging some very heavy downpours. The Kestrel class were challenged to work out who had laid the eggs, a trail that proved to be quite tricky and then took turns to melt marshmallows over a fire. The Falcon class continued to work towards their John Muir Award, helping to put toppers on all of the hedge plant canes and preparing the soil for our mini wild flower meadow. We were all amazed to see that our charcoal making experiment had been successful and had produced some lovely sticks of charcoal. We ended the session by cooking damper bread over the fire and smothering it in lots of honey! The Kingfisher class continued to think about the story of the Very Hungry Caterpillar and began their session with a storyboard challenge. They then made caterpillars and butterflies using clay and natural materials, enjoyed seeing the growth on their grass caterpillars, worked as a team to move things around the site, became mud monsters, built dens and made amazing culinary creations in the mud kitchen.
This week in Forest School the Wren Class became Wildlife Detectives. After reading the story of 'The mole who knew it was none of his business', we thought about other clues that animals leave behind including feathers, fur, scent, nibbled nuts, tracks and where they live. The children went on a 'where do they live trail' and matched creatures to their homes, they learnt about grass snakes and how they shed their skins, examined Roe Deer antlers and listened to the song of a Swallow, comparing it to those bird songs they already know. We were all amazed at how much everything has grown in the Wild Area, including our grass seed caterpillars and willow tunnel.
A beautiful Spring Tuesday saw the Kestrel Class out in the Wild Area bug collecting and using an FSC guide to identify a huge range of minibeasts. They then experienced what it would be like to see as a dragonfly sees, using dragonfly glasses that mimic the 30,000 lenses in a dragonfly eye. The Kestrel class also made willow dragonflies which will be hung around out Wild Area and closely examined an exuviae (empty skin) of a dragonfly.
The Falcon Class enjoyed their first session back at Forest School and were keen to help finish the living willow den, planting the last willow rods and ensuring they were tightly tied in. They also practised various outdoor skills including whittling, firelighting and charcoal making. With lots more ideas and projects for the Wild Area in their minds, the Falcon Class will have a busy Summer Term ahead.
The Wild Area would not be the exciting and everchanging space that it is without the help of many people who give their time voluntarily. Many thanks to Karen Hembroe for replanting the hedge and tidying the shed- thanks also to the lovely person who dropped off three wooden pallets (I wish I knew your name)- and to Bec Wigram and Emma for bringing in all of the mud kitchen equipment which has already been much enjoyed by the children.
Today the Kingfisher class looked for Signs of Spring in our Wild Area and focused on the life cycle of a caterpillar. We read the story of the Very Hungry Caterpillar and then went on a twisty pasta caterpillar hunt. One team managed to find over eighty! We then looked at the ways caterpillars defend themselves from predators by their use of bright warning colours, hairs or camouflage. We made caterpillars from natural materials, played with characters from the book we had read, planted grass seed caterpillars that will slowly turn hairy over the next few weeks and began digging a trench for our ‘wigloo’ den. After school, the Wild Things Club continued to build the 'wigloo' with the help of Tony...it's looking really good!
At Forest School this week the Wrens learnt all about worms! The children met Wigglebert worm, a Tiger worm who lives in a compost bin. He helped them to find out what things should go into a compost bin and what materials definitely shouldn't! We looked closely at a wormery to see if we could spot the Tiger worms, sang a song about a worm called 'Wigglywoo' and pretended we were Robins or Blackbirds in search of a lovely woolly worm for our tea, using only tweezers to pick them up. The children then went on a worm hunt, made compost and grass seed monsters and explored our new willow tunnel and 'den'. Many thanks to those who have dropped off dead material over the holidays. We now have plenty to finish off our dead hedge and more material for den building.
This week our focus has been on planting the trees kindly donated to us by the Woodland Trust. In doing so we've created a sixty metre hedge that will not only help to define our 'Wild' space but will also enable wildlife to move through the countryside, protect soils from wind erosion and provide shelter and habitats for birds, mammals and butterflies. We have a mix of Rowan, Silver Birch, Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Hazel and Oak and are hoping to complete the hedge at the start of next term. A huge thank you to Mrs Drew for coming to support us on Thursday afternoon- we coudn't have planted the hedge without you! It has been really exciting to see signs of Spring around the site and I am really looking forward to a fun packed, imagination stretching, creative and challenging summer term.
At Forest School this week the Wren Class started by looking at an interesting stick that Louis had found. It was covered in holes and we tried to work out what might have been making them. Thank you Louis for bringing in such an exciting find. The Wren's were also busy
learning about hedges. We looked at images of hedges in different seasons,talked about our exciting 'Wild Area' hedge project and learnt about how both the dead hedge and living hedge will benefit the biodiversity of our site. Outside we played hedgerow creature bingo and then continued to make our dead hedge using the material that our neighbour had kindly given us. Some of us had the chance to use the loppers and we also really enjoyed playing with our new mud kitchen. Many thanks to Willow and Karen for coming to collect it this weekend from Lyme Regis and for installing it in the Wild Area.
On Thursday the Kingfisher class took a close look at Barn Owls. We discussed the adaptations which make them amazing predators and what challenges they face, gently stroked Barney the Barn Owl and dissected an owl pellet. The bones we found in the pellet indicated that the owl had eaten a rat...urgh! Outside we made great progress with our dead hedge, learning how to use the loppers safely to cut up the dead material into smaller pieces and how to place the pieces large end first into our hedge. We enjoyed completing our hurdle making, looking at Bird Books, building and digging as well as using the binoculars to spot the increasingly large number of birds in our wild area. After the session a 'tap tap tap' alerted me to the presence of a little Nuthatch getting stuck into some grubs from a piece of rotting timber- a lovely way to end the day. Many thanks to Mrs Parris for bringing in a whole trailer load of dead material for our hedge this week. We still need lots more to complete our hedge so any would be gratefully received! Our other exciting news this week was the arrival of over one hundred trees from the Woodland Trust. These will be planted in the coming weeks to create a living hedge which will not only help to define our wild area but will also help to support birds, mammals and butterflies, protect soil from wind erosion
and provide habitats for pollinators.
On Thursday the Kingfisher class learn about the differentbeak adaptations that birds have and honed their bird song identification
skills. Outside they built a giant birds nest, working as a team and problem solving to collect the cut grass from the field. They also had the opportunity to try hurdle making with Mrs Sillatoe.
On Tuesday the Kestrel and Falcoln Class emersed themselves in Anglo Saxon times. In the morning they made mini Anglo Saxon shields, houses using traditional techniques and learnt how to light fires safely and cook a simple bread over an open fire. In the afternoon all of the children had a go at hurdle making, solved a rune puzzle and took part in Anglo Saxon games, including a butter making challenge! Many thanks to all of the staff who made this day possible.
This week in Forest School Wren class thought about why birds sing, listened to different bird songs and made pastry caterpillars to feed the birds in our Wild Area. They also enjoyed playing games, adding the finishing touches to the bird hide, making small willow fences to protect our daffodils, den building, tree climbing and getting muddy in the beautiful winter sunshine!
This week has been all about the birds! We've been busy constructing our Wild Area bird hide, making 'Bird B&Bs', having a go at nest building and making yet more rustic bird feeders. The Kestrel class learnt how to safely use a bowsaw this week, working in pairs to cut up lengths of log for the Kingfisher class to use as bird feeders later in the week. We talked about the all important 'blood bubble', the parts of the bowsaw, which hands need gloves on when using it, how to safely pass it to someone and what to do with it when you've finished the job. Meanwhile the Kingfishers practised safely using a hammer to put a hook in the top of their bird feeders so that it could be hung. We also played games to demonstrate how hard Blue Tits work to feed their young and briefly looked at some of the amazing adaptations birds have to help them eat their favourite foods.
Mrs Hawkins has inspired us all to get involved in the RSPB's Big Schools' Birdwatch this year, so this weeks session with the Wren class saw us working as a team to carry in large pieces of Hazel to make a bird hide in our wild area (many thanks to the National Trust for kindly letting us have the wood!) The children also made bird feeders and nests, learnt about the different songs birds make and even managed to identify one bird in our wild area from song alone! Many thanks Wren's for such a fun, productive and exciting Forest School session this week- you are all Forest School stars!
Many thanks also to all of the parents at Upottery Primary School for putting up with the muddy clothes, boots and children that come home at the end of each session. I can only assure you that I am also just as muddy!
This week in the Kestral and Kingfisher class we found out where our rubbish goes after we put it in the bin. We explored the 3 R's, 'reduce', 'reuse' and 'recycle' and thought about ways that we can do all three. We played 'What's it Made Of?' and found out about the ways in which people recycle things around the world and buried different types of rubbish in our wild area to see how long they will take to biodegrade. We also made recycled paper potters, used our school compost to plant raddish seeds, reused materials to make models from our imaginations and created bird feeders for our wild area to try to encourage more birds to visit.
Wren class threw themselves into the ancient tradition of Wassailing this week. We crowned our King and Queen of the wassail, drank warm apple juice and gave toast to the trees, learnt a special wassailing song and made a lot of noise to wake up the dormant trees in the orchard! We were really surprised to see our Daffodils already growing and even more surprising was the grass growing from our bird feeder pinecones. With the Big Bird Watch on its way, we will be trying to make our wild area more 'bird friendly' in the coming weeks and are also hoping to build a small bird hide.
The week started with the Kestrel Class and a session which truly captured the ethos of Forest School. As I looked around the Wild Area, I saw all of the children engaged in a huge variety of activities, chosen and led by them and their interests. Tree climbing, making willow walls and bird feeders, excavating earth in search of treasure, nest building, discovering slug eggs, daffodil planting and den and bridge building all featured in the session as the photographs below show. On Thursday the Wren class read 'Stickman' by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. After reading the story they made their own stick people and went out in the wind to play with them. The children particularly enjoyed sitting in the new willow 'den' and playing the 'migration' game- not to mention singing a 'Stickman' version of the 'Hokey Cokey'.
This week we thought about the other way creatures cope with the winter weather and learnt about migration. We also planted Daffodil bulbs, built willow walls, made wooden Robins and pine cone bird feeders.
We were busy thinking about Autumnal changes again this week- whilst battling with the very wet and windy weather! Despite the weather, both the Kestrel and Wren Class made the most of their time outdoors in the rain and seemed to thoroughly enjoy the muddy consequences. Fingers crossed for a bit of dry, cold weather next week.
Week beginning 09.11.15
This week we focused on the changes associated with Autumn. Both the Falcon and Kingfisher class completed an Autumnal creature quiz which saw them learn some interesting facts about owls, bats and spiders. The Falcons then made willow spiders and played team games. Kingfisher class learnt about hedgehogs and how they prepare for hibernation. After making a small clay hedgehog using natural materials, they searched for 'woolly worms' and made hibernacula for their creatures.
Week beginning 02.11.15
It was slightly scary down in the Wild Area this week with spiders, monsters and bears lurking in the woods! Kestrel class made salt dough monsters, wove spider webs and completed a blindfold challenge whilst the Wren class went on a bear hunt, learnt about hibernation and made a special den for a bear. The rain had turned much of the Wild Area into a muddy mire which led to yet more squelchy, messy fun!
(Fiona Danks and Jo Schofield 2010)
Originating in Denmark, Forest School seeks to encourage and inspire students through positive experiences and the participation in engaging, motivating and achievable activities in a woodland/outdoor environment. It helps to develop personal, social and emotional skills which in turn support student's academic performance within the classroom.
During the Autumn term 2015, all of the children at Upottery Primary School will have fortnightly access to the woodland/outdoor area for two hours- in all weathers (except high winds)!
Where possible, learning will be linked to the curriculum and topic areas being studied, however planning is very flexible and child led, so any plans may be changed or in some cases, not used at all.
On the days that your child has Forest School, please can you ensure that they bring the following clothing/equipment with them;
If you have any further questions regarding Forest School, please don't hesitate to ask!
This week the Wren, Kestrel and Kingfisher Class had Forest School sessions. The Wren class helped to make a new broomstick for the Witch from 'Room on a Broom'. After a broomstick flying lesson they decided where they wanted to fly on their broom and 'whoosh' they were gone! Meanwhile, Kestrel class learnt how to light a fire safely and completed a 'bridge building' challenge, both tasks requiring concentration, tenacity and teamwork. A big thank you to Mrs Smart for supporting this session. On Thursday the Kingfisher class were issued a challenge by Julius Ceasar to build Forts for their soldiers and round houses for their families. Using willow to create wattle walls, the Kingfishers made a wonderful Roman settlement in the Wild Area.
The Kingsfisher Class continued to explore their Romans Topic by making their own Roman soldiers. After colouring and cutting out their Roman soldier uniforms they lashed two sticks together to create a body for their soldier. In need of some defences, they then made 'wattle' style walls for their soldiers to hide behind.
This week the Kestral Class started learning about fire safety, made jigsaws of famous paintings of mountains and constructed towers from sticks. Meanwhile the Falcon Class were busy playing games, exploring the biodiversity of our Wild Area and working together to complete an 'eggciting' challenge! Both groups managed to dodge the rain throughout the day but it was definitely a VERY muddy couple of sessions!
The magical people in our Wild Area left a book and wand for Wren class this week. After reading an extract from Room on the Broom we made magic potions and thought about what would happen if Ollie the Owl were to drink them! After snack time we then made wands from natural materials and used them to turn our teachers into various creatures.
Many thanks to all of those who gave up their Sunday afternoon to help work on the schools Wild Area today (and to Mr Molyneaux who started it all off last weekend!) Brambles and nettles have been cleared, branches lopped, Hazel coppiced, fences put up, benches dug in and a parachute shelter suspended from the large oak. What a transformation.
We still have lots of ideas that we would love to turn into reality and would be very grateful for any of the following items,
Mud kitchen: metal plates, cups, bowls, colanders, spoons, frying pans, cooking pots,
Natural musical area: metal tubes, metal dustbin lid, colander, spoons, fork, knife, cheese grater
Natural wooden building blocks: large pieces of wood that children can build with
Natural den building materials
On Thursday, Wren Class had their first chance to explore the Wild area and were surprised to find gifts from the magical woodland people who live there. They used the ribbons that had been left for them to make special bracelets and then went on a frog hunt. Seventeen frogs were found of the twenty hiding in the wild area- we wondered if the others had hopped off to local ponds! The Wrens really enjoyed playing 'freeze' and 'foxes and hedgehogs', singing songs and having their snack outdoors. To end the session they became scientists and with a partner, their 'spondoodle' and collecting pot, went off to find out what else is living in the Wild area. They found lots of worms, slugs, beetles and spiders and after looking at them closely, carefully returned them to where they had been found.
On Tuesday, Kestral Class explored the topic of Volcanic Mountains. After playing a game involving fast moving lava (and mud) they then worked as teams to find six well known Volcanoes and ordered them based on when they had last erupted. The Kestrals were then challenged to create a 2D or 3D volcano from natural materials. The results were spectacular with magma chambers, lava flows, ash clouds and vents all being represented in their models.
On Thursday, Kingfisher class became Roman Soldiers for the afternoon. They formed eight groups and their first challenge was to create a 'standard' for their legion. We learnt about a knot called the clove hitch and square lashing...but it was a bit tricky! We then played a game called 'camp' to 'camp', found the pieces of a Roman soldier jigsaw puzzle, created amazing shelters for our 'mini' Roman soldier and sang songs. Everyone enjoyed different aspects of the afternoon and we can't wait to get back into our wild area to do it all again!
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