Cherry Class Forest School

Cherry Class Forest School

A cold fog had arrived by the time we were wrapped up warm and prepared for the woods, the children showed how they had gained the skills to be increasingly independent with their self care and organisation of their belongings.

This week we spent along time engaging in activities with all of the fallen leaves. We talked about adjectives as they chatted and how they can be used to described the experience of their environment.

“ Kicking through piles of leaves is really satisfying”…….”the grass is really squidgy because of all the water…I think it is because it has rained so much”

Along the way the children demonstrated their child led imagination and creative skills as they all created something with piles of leaves. Some made nests, and some groups of children worked together to make a soft pile to jump in, or as a bed. “It isn’t really very comfy!”

The class topic is ‘Heads, shoulders, knees and toes’ this term. The children remembered the song they had all learned last session when we got to the bridge and joined in with the action song ‘Tony Chestnut’. They showed their skill at playing creatively with music as they sped the song up whist singing!

They then used their imagination to create rain, snow and leaf fall, throwing handfuls of leaves off the bridge and describing what they observed as the leaves fell down to the track below.

The children had a go at using string and tarps independently to create shelters and used their  skills at using equipment as they tied and pegged out the shelters and  came up with ideas such as selecting the right sized sticks to sweep  the leaves out of the floor of their dens and collecting moss….” To make it all nice and soft and cosy.”

The collaborative skills the children developed this week were team work in creating dens.

They demonstrated their knowledge of estimation with measurements as they selected sticks to be poles to prop up the roof of one of their dens.

We explored a fallen tree and the children were really engaged in looking at how many growth rings of the Oak tree they could count….they got to 79 and then estimated that it was over 200 years old!

Their imaginative skills came into play soon after, as they used the timber which had been chain sawed to create their own tools…saws, axes

The impact of Forest School can be seen through the skills, art and craft activities, observations and knowledge of the fruit, plants trees in relation to the seasons and the skills involved in learning how to play Forest School games.

After School Club Forest School

After School Club Forest School

With a couple of brilliant small people, we set off after a busy day at school to tackle the muddy path to the woods. We muddied our boots along the way and had great fun wading in puddles to clean them. The rain came and went again as our hoods went up and down.

The willow was everywhere and we chatted about cats fur trees, catty willow, catty puss tails and calling the trees Ruby and Brian... because they might have other names and if they didn’t, then we should help them choose them!

I finally found the elusive hazel flower. A tiny delight, which is tricky to spot, but I felt like a winner when I found a glimpse of ruby red on the tips of the buds.

Having arrived in the woods and demolishing a packet of biscuits, the children set about drilling homes in name disks with brilliant independence. They then created whatever they wanted and threaded them into necklaces. (We've hidden them in a sneaky place for when we return next week.)

Then it was all about the stream...crossing it, testing it's depth, squelching sticks, and generally having a jolly good poke around in the mud.

Thanks for a lovely time. I can’t wait until next week!

check out what the children have been up to on the blog on the website:

Cherry Class Forest School

Cherry Class Forest School

The rain fell harder than it has all winter. We decided that we needed to brave it and go and have a look at the effects of the flooding.

The rain had made huge puddles under the railway bridge. The children had a great time splashing in them and discussing their depth.

We took a look at the river Medway. The river had swollen so much that it was only a couple of centimetres under the bridge. Some water had flooded onto the field. The children talked about how the river may rise overnight as it flow down off the fields.

By the time we had returned to the bridge 20 minutes later the water had risen loads!

The children showed the IMPACT of Forest School on their scientific questioning and use of maths language to describe the depth of the water and the length of the puddles.

They also showed the impact of the Art curriculum lessons, by noticing the amazing patterns the flowing water and raindrops made as they fell in puddles.

We returned to school and talked about what we had noticed this week. Then everyone had a go at writing

At Forest School I…..

What an amazing afternoon! Well done Cherry class for a wet weather adventure.

Maple Class Forest School

Maple Class Forest School

This term our topic is ‘Turrets and Tiaras’. We learned about castles in the morning and played with knights and horses. So with handmade willow horses, we mounted our steeds and set off for a gallop to the woods.

This week we learned that all the storms that have been recently made lots of mud and puddles, so we had to choose a different route to the woods (and passed Benny the school dog returning from his lunchtime walk).

The Impact of Forest School for the children is the knowledge the children have gained from the Forest School experience.

The impact of the children’s learning about safety was great to see as they walked carefully and sensibly along the pavement down to the access to the old railway line.

Lots of the children spoke about how they used to go to the playschool there before coming to school and explained to others that the Playschool building is in the old Hartfield station. They demonstrated the impact of how much they had developed their understanding of changes over time and their personal connections to the village.

The impact of Forest School can be seen through the skills, tools used, art and craft activities, observations and knowledge of the fruit, plants trees in relation to the seasons and the skills involved in learning how to play Forest School games.

The children showed the impact of learning about how to stay healthy by stopping at nearly every puddle, so their horses could have a drink.

In one of the ditches along the track we spotted some frogs spawn and talked about how it will develop. The children also noticed catkins on the hazel trees and showed the development of their plant recognition skills by pointing more of them out and gleefully collecting fallen catkins, which they thought looked like caterpillars. We looked out for other signs of spring and spotted some primroses and daffodils.

The children learned a song and actions about spring.

”Spring is here”, said the bumblebee,

“How do you know?” said the old oak tree,

“Because I saw a daffodil,

Dancing with the fairies on the windy hill”.

At the railway bridge we sat down to have a drink ourselves and we listened to a story. Logan had written a story of ‘The three Billy Goat’s Gruff’ in Cherry class and he narrated the story whilst others acted it out for the class. The bridge was great for the ‘trip-trap’ sounds in the story.

The children found a new bench along the route and talked about who had put it there. They used their reading skills to sound out and blend the letters which were written on the bench. They all agreed that it is really important to take their rubbish home with them.

Once in the woods the children had time for a snack and some more exploring. The impact of the children’s progress in physical challenge. Being independent on the slack line, by just using the rope and ladder to climb. They also explored the fallen oak tree and made up imaginary castle stories about being ‘…the King of the castle…’

The children talked about what they had noticed, learned and enjoyed this week before finding a less muddy route out of the woods and the hill! Thanks to our volunteers for supporting the children and allowing them to directly show the impact of their learning and connection to their local environment at Forest School.

Lilac Class Forest School

Lilac Class Forest School

After the wet and cold weather we have been so used to, it was gorgeous in the sunshine today.

Miss Banks brought her dog Poppy this week and she enjoyed playing with sticks as much as the children. Many of the class added to their 10 minute school running challenge by running stretches of the railway line on the way to the woods.

The impact of Forest School can be seen through their observations of their environment. This week we walked along a badger path and looked at evidence of them looking for food and at the entrance holes of their sets.

In preparation for their topic next term ‘survival’, the whole class learned some knots. They will hopefully use these skills to make shelters with next term.

The Impact of Forest School for the children is the knowledge the children have gained from the Forest School experience. Today they learned how to tie a ‘clove hitch’. They had a go at teaching and supporting each other with the steps involved.

They started with making a joined up ‘ee’ digraph out of string. They then put the right loop behind the left loop and put it around the stick they had collected.

The children then learned how to square lash their stick to another one and how to tie it off at the end.

Some children carried on exploring knot tying and practised and developed their new skills.

Some went and explored the fallen tree and decided it would make a great adventure playground, with a trampoline, balance beam and slide. A group of children fetched digging tools and explored what animals they could find below the surface of the woodland floor.

The children played some stealth games which they had learned previously and made up imaginative role play stories. There was time for some more physical challenge with the slack line.

Willow Class Forest School

Willow Class Forest School

The children are learning about Maps as part of their Geography curriculum this term. They all had a look at maps of the village before we left. We looked at features of a map, the key, roads, a church, bridges, footpaths, bridleways, rivers and woodlands. The Impact of the knowledge of maps they had was evident on our walk to the woods.

Using a compass and the map, the class worked out our first direction to take was West, under 2 bridges.

We looked at badgers sets along the way and learned how to identify signs that badgers were living in sets below the track we took.

“Where we walked was like walking on the roof of a whole badger city!”

We talked about how to use a compass and magnetism in the centre of the earth. They used their scientific enquiry skills by looking at the ditches and puddles along the old railway line and learned that iron in the soil, colours the water orange.

Once in the woods the children all created their own compass bearing maps out of sticks and other found resources. They worked in pairs or small groups, making their own creative decisions about how to note North, East, South, West and shared their  mnemonics on how to remember it.

Some groups went on to add features to their maps, like trees and the fire circle in the woods.

Willow Class call the bridge we cross “The noisy bridge”, as they can tap and stamp on it to make rhythms. They had a go at learning the song “Three little birds” and tapping sticks along to the rhythm of the song.

After making their own maps, Willow class had all showed the impact of the skills of working with natural resources to create with. They set off into different spaces in the woods. Climbing the fallen tree, the slack line and playing in the dens they have made and making up their own imaginary play stories in groups.

The impact of Forest School can be seen through the skills, tools used, art and craft activities, observations and knowledge of the fruit, plants trees in relation to the seasons and the skills involved in learning how to play Forest School games. This week they played 1,2,3,change tree and had great fun in the process!

We ended the session, by being so quiet we could hear a great tit call and have a go at repeating it’s sound. The children successfully passed a woodland whisper along the whole class line and were great at sharing what they had enjoyed during the session.

“ I loved the game 1,2,3,change tree”.

“I loved playing with my friends in the dens”.

“ I liked the walk and talking to people along the way”.

“ I liked climbing on the fallen Oak tree…it was like my castle!”

“ I loved the slack line, it was more of a challenge to go around and in the trees”.

“ I saw a badgers set, the hole”.

Cherry Class Forest School

Cherry Class Forest School

The day was warmer than we expected, but we set off another way to the woods, because last week it was incredibly muddy.

We looked at a map which showed us what wild animals we might see and at some of the other features of the map.

We talked about animal tracks and the children all had a sheet to help them identify and spot different wild animals’ tracks along our route.

The children used stencils to create the tracks of badgers, deer and foxes.

We took a different route along the ‘badger track’ and found lots of evidence of them digging in the earth for food such as worms and saw lots of holes which were the entrances to the badger sets in the side of the bank.

The children showed the IMPACT of Forest School on their scientific questioning. They learned that iron in the soil and rock turns the water orange. They then asked why some water was orange and some was clear? They then used their knowledge to answer their own questions.

Once in the woods, the children showed the IMPACT of Forest School by exploring the fallen oak tree.

They used their increased confidence in climbing to explore the tree from all sides and enjoyed the view of the woods from a higher viewpoint.

It was brilliant to see just how much learning can come out of a fallen tree and the children’s questions, ideas and imagination.

We played woodland whispers at the end of the session and managed to be silent enough when passing on our whisper to hear the birds singing whilst we listened.

The children shared what they had enjoyed and showed the IMPACT of Forest School in today’s session.

“I liked climbing on the ropes”

“I liked playing shops in the woods”

“I loved exploring the fallen tree”

“I liked talking about iron and elements”

“I liked using the flour to make animal prints”


Thanks again for our brilliant volunteers who support, listen, question, engage and encourage the children with all of their Forest School experience.