Forest School at Cheapside - Summer Term 2021
Now we are into the summer term, all classes have enjoyed looking for signs of spring. We have been on colour hunts to spot spring colours and then represented these spring colours on colour sticks, by wrapping wool around sticks to show the colours we had spotted. We have also been observing life in the pond and been handling the newts!
This week we have been making blobsters using clay, sticks and natural materials and creating homes for them. Robins Class have also been making nature crowns, and castles for an ant to link in with their topic 'Turrets and Tiaras'
Take a look at some of these very creative castles !
Children in Reception to Year 4 have enjoyed making Easter Gardens in Forest School this week. The children have included symbols of Easter - a cross, a tomb and flowers in their gardens and have talked about these symbols and their association with Easter and the Easter story. They have also enjoyed hot cross buns toasted on the camp fire. I am sure you will agree that the gardens the children made looked beautiful ! Well done everyone !
The children were delighted to discover that the frog-spawn had hatched this week and we now have tadpoles in the pond. We are keeping a close eye on their progress as we discovered this week that the newts like to prey on young tadpoles which led to some great discussions on food chains. We watch and wait to see how they go!
Spring Nest Competition Entries
Well done to all the children who entered the Spring Nest Competition. We were amazed by the wonderful nests that appeared in school on Monday. Well done to all children for their creative designs and for taking the time to enter the competition. It was a very difficult decision to choose the winners. We hope all the children that took part enjoyed receiving their certificate and egg, whilst our class winners enjoy their extra large egg! All money raised will be used to purchase seeds and plants for the allotment.
Well done everyone and thank you for taking part!
Forest School at Cheapside - Spring Term 2021
It has been wonderful seeing all the children back in forest school. All groups have enjoyed spotting signs that spring is finally here and have spent sessions reconnecting with friends and enjoying being outdoors. All groups are currently keeping a close eye on the frog spawn in the school pond and we are hoping to see some tadpoles hatching soon ! We will keep you updated on the changes we notice over the next few weeks.
Well done to all the children who have been out and about spotting signs of spring ! I have also been amazed with the work you produced at home this week on creating a pieces of artwork on snowdrops. Take a look below at some of the beautiful work sent in.
Spotting signs of Spring!!
When you are out for your daily exercise why not see if you can spot signs that Spring is on its way?
It’s great when the dark days of Winter start to get left behind, new growth appears and the sun might even start to appear!
You can start spotting the early signs even in January – so keep your eyes peeled!
Some things recommended to look for:
- Snowdrops – these can appear early and love to grow in woodland, usually by streams.
- Bluebells – an early Spring plant. They flower a little later, but you might start to see the shoots appear in January or February.
- Hazel Catkins – these are the long yellow ‘fluffy’ flowers on hazel trees and appear very early in the season.
- As Spring gets closer, look out for blackbirds gathering materials to make a nest. You could always help them along by leaving out straw, and even hair from your hairbrush!
- Frog spawn
Download the spotter sheet below and see what you can spot !
Big Garden Birdwatch update !
Well done to everyone who took part in the Big Garden Birdwatch. I have loved seeing all your posts sharing which birds you saw. If you have enjoyed bird watching, you might want to check out The Big Schools Winterwatch live lesson. This lesson is suitable for children in Year 2 upwards and it introduces simple classification trees to help you identify birds. Click on the link below to view the recording of this lesson.
Even though we are not all at school at the moment, we are still having virtual forest school lessons and enjoying getting out and about. This week children across the classes have been taking part in the Big Garden Birdwatch. During forest school lessons, children have been making bird feeders and then getting outside to see what birds are visiting their gardens. Take a look at what they have found by clicking on the picture document below !
Can you work out who the surprise visitor is to someone's bird box?
Forest School at Cheapside - Autumn Term 2020
Keep an eye on this Forest School page where I will be posting monthly updates and photos so you can see what we have been up to in Forest School. The children are delighted to be back to regular forest school sessions and they are all enjoying being outside and spending time with their class bubbles.
This month all the classes have been watching Autumn creep its way in and we have been enjoying lots of autumn activities. The highlights have included making fabulous conker and acorn critters using our conker drill. We have also had a go at making leaf caterpillars using the bow saw to saw a wood cookie for the caterpillar head and then threading leaves for the body. Year 3 particularly enjoyed this activity. All the classes should be able to tell you something about how and why leaves change colour. Year 1 have particularly impressed me with their ability to recall what they have learnt about chlorophyll. Please ask your child about this ! Reception have enjoyed their first experience of forest school. They have particularly enjoyed the mud kitchen and making pumpkin mud soup was very popular! They have also enjoyed hunting for hidden pumpkins in the forest. Year 2 enjoyed our sessions investigating which roles further and faster - a conker or an acorn? We had some surprising results but lots of discussion about the shape and weight of both the conkers and acorns and some interesting discussions on fair testing!
Due to some fairly wet weather we have only managed 1 campfire this half term, where we toasted crumpets with Year 2. We hope to have some more fires next month and of course as the weather turns colder, lots of hot chocolate!
This month all class bubbles have enjoyed being back in the Forest and re-engaging with the space. Key Stage 1 classes (Robins and Doves) have been working on naming trees and identifying them by their leaf. They have learnt that leaves have similarities and differences and that the differences help us to work out the name of the tree. They were also excited to discover that some 'Acornites' had moved into the forest. Acornites are tiny creatures made out of acorns! Classes have been really creative and have spent time making them houses to live in , some friends to play with and an adventure playground to keep them busy. Their imagination and creativity has been really impressive. To finish the month both classes used autumn treasures to create their own autumn mobiles.
Nightingales have enjoyed spending time in the allotment, pond and forest. They have been pond dipping, harvesting fruit and vegetables from the allotment and planting. In the forest they have had a go at some simple tracking by using natural materials to create tracks leading to some treasure. Groups created tracks for each other and it was good to see the children working together in a team. Kingfishers have enjoyed creating mountains out of natural materials and are enjoying being back in the forest.
Andrew Goldsworthy sculpture photos
Nature Projects for June
Weekly Challenge - Week beginning 18/5/20
This week we discovered lots of worms whilst weeding in the allotment and this led us to the idea of building a wormery to discover lots more about these wriggly creatures. Did you know that there are over 6,000 different types of earthworm and that the largest worm ever found was over 180ft long!! I wonder if you could measure how long the worms are that you might find in your garden? How do you measure how long a worm is when they are all curled up? - have a go and see if you can work it out. We also found out that a worm has no arms, legs or eyes.
If your child is interested in finding our more about worms than why not have a go at making a wormery and study worms up close !
Weekly Challenge - Week beginning 11/5/20
Last week was Hedgehog Awareness Week. This week is organised by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) and takes place every year. It aims to highlight the problems hedgehogs face and how you can help them. In school we have been talking about hedgehogs and how we can help them. For this week's challenge, why not click on the link below which gives you some top tips for helping hedgehogs in your garden. There is also a link to a short video all about hedgehogs. How about trying to have a go at making a house for a hedgehog? Click on the instructions below and take a look at the photo of the one we made at school !
For some extra fun, click on the link below and have a go at making a potato hedgehogs and then having hedgehog races. This is my personal favourite, I have done it at home with my family and we had great fun ! Why not give it a try?
Weekly Challenge - Week beginning 4/5/20
This week is quiz week. How much do you know about nature? Click on the link below and have a go at a nature quiz. You might choose to test your tree knowledge, or your bird, animal or wild flower knowledge. Let me know how you get on.
If you enjoy art, why not go out and about and collect some leaves and do some leaf printing? If you fancy trying something a little different why not try making leaf stamp art? All you need is some masking tape, paint (poster or acrylic) a piece of paper and a paint brush. Have a look at the video below for step by step instructions and make sure you send in a photo of your work. Have Fun !
Weekly Challenge - Week beginning 27th April 2020
Whilst out and about taking your daily exercise, take one of these spotter sheets with you.
You can look out for wildflowers or trees or do both! Can you find examples of all the trees on the list on your walk? Look carefully at the leaf shapes to make sure you are correct. I wonder what tree will be most common ? Which flower do you think will be the most common? Email your class teacher to let them know how you get on.
Weekly Challenge - Week beginning 20th April
This week we noticed that we had lots of dandelions growing on the field, you might be finding the same thing in your gardens and so we decided to investigate what you could do with dandelions. Everything from the flower all the way down to the roots is edible and dandelions happen to be delicious and so we had a go at making some dandelion bread. The recipe is really easy to follow and the result was quite delicious, especially with a bit of jam or honey. The children in school suggested it was put on the website so here it is ! Your challenge for this week is to have a go at making some dandelion bread. If you do mange to make some, please send us a photo.
Dandelion bread made by Mrs Summers
Dandelion Bread recipe
Earth Day 2020
This week will see the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Earth Day is an annual event celebrated around the world on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection. Now perhaps more than ever we are all learning to really appreciate the beauty of nature and the need to take care of our environment. We will be celebrating Earth Day in school during our Forest School session by making wildflower seed balls and having a going at making hapa zome bunting. If you wanted to try these activities out at home, below are the links to a step by step guide of how to do both. They are great fun and children really enjoy these. Also below is a link to a youtube video about Earth Day and how it is celebrated around the world and a PDF with some suggested activities around the 4R's of sustainability, you might like to take a look at these resources as well.
For an extra challenge, why not ask your child to come up with their own choices for the seven natural wonders of the world. The sights should not include any of the obvious ones!. Find a picture of each sight and include it along with a one-paragraph description of the sight. The description should include where the sight is and what makes it so spectacular. Remember that natural wonders are not man-made. It would be great if we could create a collect of our own natural wonders which we can display on the website.
Please email your class teacher with any photos of you having a go at these Earth Day activities - we would love to see them !
Happy Earth Day!
Stick and Sock Challenge !
How to make an Easter Garden
Forest School Spring Nest Challenge
Donations Wanted - Can you help?
Forest School at Cheapside - Spring Term 2020
Highlights of the first half- term
The first few months of the new year have been very wet months, but it has not deterred the fun!
Ash House Forest School Reward Day - take a look at the gallery page to see what Ash House got up to on their forest school reward day !
Wrens class have been spotting clues that an alien might have crash landed in our Forest ! They have been making their own clay aliens to launch their new topic for this term. All of Wrens enjoyed participating in the Big Schools Birdwatch 2020 where they were many eager eyes out to spot some visiting birds! We have had 2 campfires this term, and Wrens have done really well remembering all the fire rules and so have enjoyed toasted marshmallows.
Robins Class have been on a scavenger hunt for different natural materials to launch their science work on materials. They have also looked at the work of Andrew Goldsworthy and created their own pieces of nature art inspired by his work. Robins have also really enjoyed taking part in the Big Schools Birdwatch 2020.
Doves Class have been working on their rope skills and have learnt to use rope to make a friendship bracelet and how to tie an overhand knot. They have also used rope to decorate a wood cookie and have learnt how to tie a clove hitch and a reef knot. This week they put their rope knowledge to the test and made a mini rope ladder !
The KS2 forest school group have been working on whittling, using the kelly kettle safely and preparing the allotment for planting in the spring. This week they were busy planting seeds indoors so that we have plants ready to plant out later on in the year.
Take a look at the slides below to see us in action this term !
Nature Art inspired by the work of Andy Goldsworthy
Forest School at Cheapside School
Autumn Term 2019
Highlights of the term
This month we have been really busy in Forest School. It has been really wet but it hasn't stopped us having fun. At the beginning of the month we made poppies working on our weaving skills and learning how to use square lashings. We also had a go at simple weaving. We have been really noticing seasonal change and classes have had lots of fun making autumn leaf rainbows, leaf bonfire art and playing in the fallen leaves. We have learnt that leaves can look very different and each tree produces different shaped leaves. We have talked about how these leaves are similar but also how they are different and most of us can now identify the tree the leaves have fallen from. Year 1 have learnt that only deciduous trees drop their leaves and they can identify these trees on site. We have talked about animals that hibernate and migrate and classes have made pine cone hedgehogs and had fun building them a shelter to hibernate in.We finished the month and our topic on seasonal change by making bird feeders to support the birds as we move towards the winter months.
If you are in Wrens Class we have been posting some fabulous photos of your child in Forest School on Tapestry so don't forget to take a look !
October update ...
We have had a very wet first half term in forest school and it has rained for most of our sessions but this has not dampened spirits! The children have remained resilient and have loved being out in the rain, it meant we had the perfect excuse to build shelters.
Here is a summary of what we have been up to:
Wrens Class - We have only just begun our Forest School journey at Cheapside. We are getting to know the forest, how to use it and the forest school rules. We have loved having hot chocolate in base camp and a biscuit. We have been on a bear hunt around forest school, had a teddy bear's picnic and made nests for our Owl Babies! We have also had fun learning songs about Autumn and making it rain autumn leaves!
Robins Class - We have loved making shelters and keeping dry in the rain! We can now all put up a simple shelter and use it to keep dry. We have learnt to fold tarps and tidy away ropes. We discovered some acornites living in our forest and have made them shelters as well - take a look at the photo below to see what they look like! We have done some science outside as well by going on a hunt for pictures of African animals hidden in the forest and then sorting them into mammals,reptiles, amphibians and birds. We then had a go at representing these animals using natural materials. We have been very creative!
Doves Class - We have also had a go at shelters and can keep ourselves dry in the rain.
We have had lots of fun creating things for the acornites - we have built shelters and the best thing we did was help them escape the rain and floods by making them rafts and then testing them out to see if they would float! We had so much fun and discovered lots about materials that float and sink. We have also used sticks to create our own stickosaurus to link in with the class topic and we have created our own twig human skeletons as well. Great work Doves!
Forest Nurture Groups - This group have enjoyed getting to know each other this half term and making new friends from different classes. We have had a go at using the Kelly Kettle to boil water and make hot chocolate for our friends. We have also used the conker drill to make conker creatures. We had a lot of fun making face paint out of mud and designing our own tribe face paint! Again shelter building has been on the agenda. We have spent a session planting the bank outside the forest with Narcissus bulbs and we look forward to seeing the results in the spring.
Forest School September 2018 - July 2019
Well done to The Forest Friends Forest School Group from KS2 who have planted up and grown on the flowers in this wheelbarrow to enter into a competition at The Windsor Flower Show next week. I think it is fabulous and great for encouraging those pollinators! Well done to all the group for the team effort !
As we reach the final weeks of term, each class is celebrating with a big campfire cookout! All the classes have enjoyed making campfire pizzas and reflecting on the year. It has been a pleasure running Forest School this year and I look forward to what the next school year brings. Please have a read of the document below - my reflections of the year in Forest School and the plans for the academic year ahead. In the meantime I hope you all have a wonderful summer break - see you in September!
Week beginning 24/6/19
Another busy week in Forest School this week. Wrens have been reading the story 'Rainbow Fish' in class and so we made our own willow fish in forest school. The children made a fish shape using willow and then decorated their fish using coloured wool. Take a look at their tapestry page to see how they look ! Doves and Robins didn't have a session this week due to sports day and a class trip but we will be back to normal next week. Finally... if you have a child in Nightingales please ask them about their session this week on camouflage ! The children were set the challenge of camouflaging their hand and arm in the forest. We had some amazing ideas and lots of mud but a great session which really helped the children to understand the importance of camouflage in the natural environment.
Week beginning 10/6/19
Again the weather has not been very kind to us this week but we have had some great sessions. Wrens really enjoyed hunting for Superworm in the Forest and making some class wormeries! They also made food for Superworm and found him some friends for him to play with! Some of the children also had a go at using the conker drills to hollow out some Elder which we cut into small pieces, and made some of our own worm necklaces ! Nightingales had a session focused on tool work. They had a go at using the bow saw to cut wooden disks which we will be using to make kaleidoscopes in the next session. They also really enjoyed using the conker drills to hollow out pieces of Elder which they threaded to make necklaces, bracelets and head dresses. Finally, Robins followed up their visit to Marwell Zoo by going on an animal hunt and then making their favourite animal out of natural materials. Great job Robins!
Week beginning 3/6/19
I hope everyone had a good half term break and enjoyed the holidays. This week in Forest School, Wrens began their new topic on minibeasts with a minibeast hunt. Wrens spent the session looking for different minibeasts in the Forest and had a great session discovering different insects, arachnids and beetles! They enjoyed using the spotter sheet and ticking off what they had found. Doves had a great session finding different animals that were hidden around the forest and then using natural materials to represent their favourite. They had to think carefully about how to represent different patterns on the animals as well as features.
Robins and Nightingales had the wettest day of the week, but both classes managed to last the whole session despite the pouring rain. They survived by building shelters to keep themselves dry and enjoyed having fun in the rain !
Allotment Update !
Well done to all the classes this half term, the allotment has been weeded, fertilised and planted and the crops are growing well. The plot looks great and everything is growing nicely. Take a look for yourselves below ![
Week beginning 20/5/19
This week Kingfishers had their final session for the term. We began by doing some orienteering and using maps to find places on the school grounds. The children all demonstrated excellent map reading skills and earnt a well deserved treat of campfire banana boats which they all enjoyed! We finished the session by reflecting on their Forest School experience and shared memories around the campfire of their favourite sessions. Well done Kingfishers, it has been a pleasure working with you all !!
Meanwhile the younger classes have been watering the allotment, checking on the progress of the newts in the pond and get creative with natural materials!
The highlight of the week for me this week was the nature ramble with Nightingales to Silwood Park. This was part of their work on the 'Growing Together' Project but here are just a few highlights of what we saw....
Week beginning 13/5/19
This week we have had a story theme in Forest School The younger classes, Wrens, Robins and Doves were celebrating the 50th Anniversary of 'The Hungry Caterpillar' by Eric Carle by creating some wild storyboards. They used natural materials to create storyboards of their favourite parts of the story. In Robins and Doves we played 'The Blue-tit Game' where children took on the role of Blue-tits collecting food for their young. They had to work in teams to collect different coloured caterpillars off the grass. We talked about how the green caterpillars would be worth more points, as they are harder to find and related this to Blue-tits finding prey and the role of camouflage. Mrs Miles and I were Sparrow Hawks preying on the Blue-tits. The idea of the game was to teach the children about a very simple food chain and how it works. With Doves we talked about what would happen if one of these things disappeared from the food chain. In Kingfishers we read the story 'Where the Wild Things Are', again another book that is over 50 years old! This time the children worked in groups using natural resources to imagine something from the story. I was impressed with the team work and creativity and have included some highlights below.
Week beginning 6/5/19
This was possibly one of the wettest weeks we have had so far! The rain didn't stop us having fun and getting outdoors though! This week, Wrens went to the allotment and planted their beans which they had been growing in class. Kingfishers had the opportunity to plant all the plants they had been growing in class in the allotment. They have successfully planted tomatoes, french beans, chard, artichokes and beans. Finally at the end of the week Robins and Doves built shelters using tarps to keep themselves dry and the rain held off just long enough to toast some marshmallows on the camp fire! Look out for the photos of the planted allotment - coming soon !
Week beginning 29/4/19
This week all groups have been working in our allotment. They have been weeding, tidying and preparing the raised planters. The children have worked together to add 21 bags of compost to the planters and to aerate the soil. We have been very impressed with their team work, perseverance and hard work! Watch this space for some photos of the new planted planters coming soon!
In addition to all the work in the allotment, Kingfishers have been surveying the tress in the forest and studying different leaf types. They learnt this week that different trees have different leaves and that leaf shapes help us to identify the tree. They learnt the names of the common trees in the forest and can hopefully name them for you! Doves have had a go at some picture orienteering. They were given pictures of various spots in the forest taken 1 month ago, and then asked to find that spot. They quickly realised how much the space changes in just a short period of time and how quickly change happens in spring! Well done Doves.
A huge Thank You to Mr Streather and Kingfisher Class who have been holding plant sales everyday this week. Mr Streather and the children planted lots of seeds a few months ago and have been nurturing their growth every since. This week they have been selling some fine looking young plants for you to grow at home. They have managed to raised around £160 and the amount continues to rise. We are using this money to fund the new fencing around our allotment patch.
Week beginning 22/4/19
Our first sessions of the Summer Term have been lovely. All groups have enjoyed looking at how much the forest has grown and changed over the holidays. The trees are now fully in leaf and we have crops of spring flowers including daffodils, bluebells, forget-me-knots and crocus growing in the forest and along the banks. The saplings that we planted back in November are doing really well and fully in leaf. This week the younger classes Wrens, Robins and Doves have been making colour wands to represent the spring colours appearing in the Forest. They have also be visiting the pond area to check on the newts! Some of Robins did an amazing job weeding the allotment this week and helping prepare the beds for planting. I was hugely impressed with their enthusiasm and hard work!
Kingfishers had their first session of the term and we had a group carrying out a survey of the pond and trying to decide how healthy the pond was. They tested for water clarity, they measured the alkaline levels in the pond and surveyed the pond life. We will be continuing to do this each week to build up an understanding of how healthy the pond is. The rest of the class surveyed the invertebrates in 3 different micro-habitats, soft ground, plants and hard ground and we are pleased to report that we found lots of invertebrates. We will be re-visiting this as we move towards summer but focusing more on animals that pollinate.
Week beginning 1/4/19
This was the last week of Forest School for the Spring Term. All classes have been making Easter Gardens this week. Thank you to all the Parents for sending in containers and materials to decorate the gardens. They really were lovely. We also enjoyed hot cross buns toasted on the camp fire! A lovely way to end the term. Happy Easter to you all!
Thank you to all the children who entered the Spring Nest Competition. We had 66 entries and we raised £126 which we will be putting towards manure and plant for the allotment. The entries were magnificent and very impressive! Prizes were handed out by Mr John Cross in assembly on Friday. A huge thank you to John for donating herbs as runner-up prizes.
Week beginning 25/3/19
Signs of spring are everywhere and lifting the spirits ! This week has been exciting and full of new experiences. All the children have been invited to join in with a newt handling session this week, and most children have been holding newts for the first time and loving it! Owls Class have also got up close and observed frogs and locusts thanks to Royal Holloway.
A personal highlight this week was the visit we payed to Silwood Park Campus. This is an Imperial College Campus based at the back of Cheapside. On Thursday morning Year 4 Kingfishers walked to the Campus and spent the morning on site comparing two different ecosystems: grassland vs. woodland. They spent the morning being detectives and detecting signs of animals from poop to hair ! They also collected some great specimens of invertebrates. We then visited the labs to look at our samples under the microscopes. The children were buzzing with excitement and many of them talked about wanting to be a scientist in the future!! Huge thanks to Catlina from Silwood Park for hosting us this morning and to Lucy's Mum and Eva's Mum for supporting our trip. We hope to organise another visit next term.
Here are some highlights of what the children saw and did this week...
Week beginning 18/3/19
All classes have enjoyed getting into the Forest this week and noticing lots of changes. Spring is arriving with lots of new tree buds, bulbs and spring flowers. Our frog spawn is growing and changing and we now have tadpoles in the pond! A big hit has been the newts and the female frog we spotted in the pond this week and all classes have loved seeing them.
Wrens found a letter from The Giant from Jack and The Beanstalk when they arrived in Forest School. The Giant challenged them to design a new recipe for him to stop him eating Jack! and some of us built a shelter for Jack so he could hide from The Giant. Nightingales enjoyed finding out about frogs by looking for information on our frog trail. They also loved newt spotting! Doves and Robins had a creative session - Robins created their own rock bands and performed for us in the Forest. Along with the Doves, some children created works of art inspired by Andrew Goldsworthy. Finally... Owls had a brilliant session with Royal Holloway getting up close with locusts, African land snails, moths, stag beetle lava and making wormeries. What a brilliant week !
Week beginning 11/3/19
Thanks to storm Gareth and high winds, Forest Schools sessions looked a little different this week. As we were unable to go into the Forest we did our outdoor learning on the school field instead. This was for health and safety reasons and to ensure that the children were away from the trees. Despite this, we all had a great week. Wrens really enjoyed investigating our pond life and the frog spawn. Kingfishers enjoyed some outdoor team games, focusing on team work and thinking skills and Owls enjoyed setting bug traps on the school field. Take a look at the photos below!
Week beginning 4/3/19
Pancakes were the theme for this week for the younger classes. Wrens, Robins and Doves all enjoyed pancakes cooked on the campfire! Wrens enjoyed making the pancake dough and their first experience of campfire pancakes! Nightingales were continuing with their theme of recycling and they recycled plastic bottles this week, turning them into some great bird feeders which they took home to entice birds into their own gardens. Year 5 have been making bug traps during their session with Royal Holloway which they really enjoyed. We also made a great discovery on Friday - there is a plethora of frog spawn in our pond !! Robins and Doves each got to visit the pond and have a closer look at the frog spawn. Some of the children were amazed by how it felt and how it wobbled. All classes will get a chance to visit the pond area next week and we look forward to watching what happens !
Week beginning 25/2/19
I hope you all enjoyed a good half term break and enjoyed the warm weather! This week we had a mixed bag of weather in Forest School. Wrens had a very warm session on Wednesday but then Nightingales got very wet as the heavens opened and we all got very wet on Thursday! Despite the weather the children have had a great week. Wrens, Robins and Doves have enjoyed a week themed around magic. They have been making magic mud potions, magic wands and broomsticks that we were long enough to fit some friends on! Some of the wands were very creative as were the ideas for what the wands could be used for. Nightingales had their first session of this term in the forest. We spent the session talking about what had changed since they last visited and then following on from the Reduce, Reuse and Recycle session the class had with George McGavin, we looked at plastic bags and how we could reuse them by making kites. The children worked really hard making their kites, they learnt how to tie a clove hitch and a square lashing and hopefully found some time at home to have a go at flying them? Next week we will be continuing on with our theme of reusing and recycling and we will be having a go at turning plastic bottles into bird feeders. Please could all children in Nightingale Class ensure they have a plastic bottle with them in school for Thursday's session. Thank you[
Week beginning 11/2/19
It is hard to believe that just 2 weeks ago we had snow, when this week has felt like spring is on the way! Another busy week in Forest School saw Wren Class investigating melting and freezing. They spent the session observing how long ice orbs took to melt when placed in different places around the forest. Not surprising the ice orb near the camp fire melted the quickest! The children also enjoyed watching ice mobiles melt in the trees and enjoyed making their own mobiles. Kingfishers had their last session for the term with a big cook!! They very much enjoyed their chocolate-orange mini muffins cooked on the camp fire. Reflecting on the session they all felt that they had learnt some new skills, tried new things and got better at team work this term. Friday was a glorious day and perfect for exploring shadows in the spring sunshine! Robins and Doves also made flags, which they decorated using charcoal left over from the campfire and some den building. A great way to finish this half term.
Finally.... Year 5 have helped to set up a camera in the Forest for half-term so we can spot any visiting wildlife. I wonder which animals will visit ?? Enjoy your half term holiday and keep an eye out for signs of Spring!
Week beginning 4/02/19
Another busy week in Forest School began with Wrens and a 'Chinese New Year' themed session. Wren Class had a go at making mud and using mud paint to decorate the wood with Chinese symbols. We also had dragon dances and noodles on the campfire! Kingfishers loved taking part in the schools bird watch survey. They will thrilled to spot a red kite and many other common garden birds - great spotting Kingfishers! Friday was a very wet and windy day and so sadly Doves had to have an indoor session making bird feeders, clay birds and some bird ID. Robins were lucky enough to get outside where the rain certainly didn't stop play! We built shelters and kept ourselves dry, whilst others held mud tea parties in the rain. Well done Robins, I loved your resilience and the way you embraced the rain and just had fun !
Week beginning 28/01/19
As I am sure you realised most sessions were cut short this week or missed completely due to school being closed. Wrens did manage to have a session on Wednesday where they made bird feeders, had a go at making clay birds and went on a bird hunt. Many could remember the names of 2 or 3 common garden birds by the end of the session ! Kingfishers also made some bird feeders and had a go at drawing site maps ready for their brochure on our Forest School that they are currently writing in class. Will be re-visiting our work on The Big Schools Birdwatch as the weather looks warm enough for us to remain still enough to bird spot! In the meantime have a look at the picture of the forest in the snow... and can you guess the mystery visitor from the tracks??? Wrap up well this week everyone as this week we have rain !!
Week beginning 21/01/19
This was an exciting week for Forest School as we had our first snow of the year! For a brief time the forest looked beautiful covered in a white dusting of snow! However, this was short lived when Wrens Class arrived for the session - they had a great time mark making in the snow, spotting animal tracks, building snowmen as best they could and having a go at spotting other signs of winter! To keep us warm we had campfire porridge with jam or honey - yum! Kingfishers did some more work on team building and this week team leaders were in charge of small teams tasked with the challenge of building the tallest twig tower. Teams had some interesting ideas, and we saw some very unique towers! Again campfire porridge gave them the energy needed to see the task through. Robins continued exploring the dragon theme from last week by making dragons in the forest, making lairs and dens, dragon stew and lots of other dragon related things. Again, they enjoyed campfire porridge especially as we added bananas to the porridge this time. Doves had a go at identifying trees by their twigs during their session, not an easy task but they did really well. Great work Doves!
Next week we will be taking part in the Big Schools Birdwatch 2019. If you would like to find out more information about this or take part yourselves in the Big Garden Birdwatch take a look at the RSPB website for more information. www.rspb.org.uk
Week beginning 14/01/19
This week both Wrens and Robins had a dragon themed session! We begun by sharing the story 'Dragon Stew' and then went off to find any signs of dragons in our Forest. Surprise surprise we found footprints, claw marks, tail marks and baby dragons! Both Classes had a go at doing some counting and coming up with their own methods of recording how many of each baby dinosaur was found. They then made some dragon lairs for the baby dragons. Next week the plan is to dig traps to see if we catch any dragons! Kingfishers had a great session making catapults which we tested using eggs!! The focus was on team work and listening and respecting the views of the team members. Next week the tasks will see children taking on the roles of team leaders should they wish to do so. Doves have been reading the story 'The Smartest Giant in Town' and in the story he gave away his shirt for a sail for a boat for a goat. We decided to make the boat and attach a piece for shirt for the sail. The designs were very creative and next week we plan to test them out on the pond. Thank you to all those Parents who sent in warmer clothes this week, it made a real difference and it meant the children were able to engage and fully enjoy the sessions. This week looks even colder so we will be having a fire in the coldest sessions and please remember to send in those layers and warm socks !!!
Week beginning 7/01/19
This week Wrens have been making and decorating their own sticky sticks, which turned out to be magic and could grant lots of wishes. The children used natural materials found in the forest to decorate their sticks. Nightingales had a go at shelter building using tarps and the catering team got to grips with the Kelly kettle and made hot chocolate for themselves. Owls have made their own bird tables and bird kebabs as well as revising their knowledge of birds during their science based session with Royal Holloway. Robins and Doves were looking at the difference between natural and man-made materials. Robins collected lots of materials from the forest floor and sorted them into those materials we would expect to find in the forest and those we would not. Doves looked at how long it would take man-made materials to decompose and they had a go at guessing how long it would take some of the objects we found to decompose. Both groups finished their session by seeing what they could make using only natural materials. Both groups had some very creative ideas.
Thank you all for making this term such a fantastic term of Forest School! You have all learnt lots, planted trees, made some amazing crafts and above all had lots of fun! In case you still had space on your Christmas list maybe consider putting some thermal socks, gloves and a hat on your Christmas list as you will need them for when we come back in January! If you are out and about doing some Christmas shopping then we are running out of the following items in the Forest school snack bank and would be very grateful for any donations:
- hot chocolate
- biscuits (including gluten free biscuits)
- string or twine
There will be a slight change in the timetable for Forest School, and it will look like this in January:
Wednesdays: Wrens Class
Thursday am: Year 4 Kingfishers
Thursday pm: Year 5 Kestrels or Year 6 Owls (to alternate each week)
Friday am: Year 1 Robins
Friday pm: Year 2 Doves
If you have some time over the Christmas Holidays, maybe get out and about with your friends and family and have a go at spotting some Christmas sights! Let me know how you get on
Finally.. have a very Happy Christmas and a very Happy New Year and I look forward to seeing you in the Forest in January.
Welcome to the Autumn term of Forest School ! The forest is looking great and full of life ! Forest school sessions will have a different focus each week but all classes will be looking at how the forest changes as we move into the Autumn season. All classes will be focusing on tree ID this term, and we are very excited at the prospect of planting new tree saplings in November that will act as screening for the borders of the forest school site. Look out for regular updates on what we have been up to in Forest School ! For new parents or those that missed it, attached below is a review of forest school for the last academic year for your information. Each week we offer the children a hot or cold drink (weather dependent) and a snack. Toasting marshmallows to accompany the hot chocolate is also a very popular request. This year I would like to invite parents to donate any items they feel able to our forest school snack bank. Attached below is a list of some of the items we get through on a very regular basis, if you feel able to donate any item it would be greatly appreciated! Please send any donations in with your child or at the office. Thank you in advance.
Week beginning 10/12/18
This was the final week of Forest School for this term and it was cold, wet but lots of fun! Wrens manged to impress the Elf by going on a magic star hunt. At each star they found they had to impress with their best Christmas dancing ! The children also found a snowman made by the Elf and had a go at making their own snowman. They also made some fabulous Christmas trees by weaving wool and we finished the session by making our own toast on the campfire. Robins and Doves shared the morning session on Friday by making snowmen and Christmas trees in the icy temperatures. Well done everybody!
Week beginning 3/12/18
Another busy but wet week in Forest Week, but still lots of fun to be had ! Wrens Class discovered that some Elves were hiding in the Forest and went on a Elf hunt to try and find them all! They then had a go at making their own Elves using clay. Nightingales had a great morning changing the wooden discs that they had sawed last week into snowmen Christmas decorations; which looked fantastic ! We also focused on team work this week and the children worked together in teams to build a giant catapult. All their ideas were amazing and we finished the session by launching eggs from the catapults!! Owls had a great afternoon building squirrel assault courses complete with zip slides and some children chose to have a go at making Christmas wreaths out of willow which looked lovely. We also lit the campfire and made some campfire pizzas. Doves had the wettest session of the week so we moved into the hall and made Christmas decorations by making willow rings and Christmas Stars. Robins had a brilliant afternoon building shelters using tarps, singing and dancing along to some Christmas songs and digging for treasure !!
Another great week - some photo highlights below...
Week beginning 26/11/18
This week we have been joining in with the celebrations for National Tree Week by celebrating trees and taking part in tree dressing day. The children of Wrens, Robins and Doves all took part. Each class spent their forest school sessions making natural tree decorations that would also feed the birds and wildlife! They did a great job making popcorn garlands, cheerio chains and pine cone bird feeders as well decorating their tree with ribbons. I am sure you will agree that they look great. Nightingales and Kestrels were using the bow saw this week to saw wooden discs which we will be decorating this week ready to decorate trees at home for Christmas. Kestrels also had a great time making a squirrel assault course !
Week beginning 12/11/1
The Trees have arrived!!
This was a really exciting week for all of us at Cheapside School as we final took delivery of 120 tree saplings. The saplings arrived on Wednesday and we have been planting ever since! We have been planting hedge saplings to provide shelter for our site and to encourage a greater variety of wildlife. Species included hawthorn, dog rose, crab apple, hazel and elder.
As an introduction, both Key Stage 1 and 2 took part in an assembly where the children had a go at a tree identification quiz and they talked about why trees are important. They also listened to the story ‘The Man who planted trees’ by Jean Giano. In the story the children saw the impact that planting can have on landscapes and to people and communities. They also discussed all the many different reasons why people plant trees.
Once they were outside, the children got to know their sapling. They were given a sapling to explore and an ID sheet, where they had to work out what tree sapling they might have. They talked about what the sapling looked like now and then tried to find the matching adult tree from a selection of photos. Finally, the children planted their saplings with a partner.
It has been such a fantastic week for both myself and Mrs Miles. We have both loved watching the children being so excited, delighted and eager to plant their sapling. Every child has made a promise to look after their sapling and to nurture it for the next generation, which is something we are keen to nurture in the children at Cheapside. We are really proud of what the children have achieved by working together and with the attitude and desire they have shown to look after our forest space now and into the future.
Well done everybody, the saplings have been given the best possible start to life in our Forest!
Have a look below at some of our tree planting snaps!
Week beginning 5/11/18
Forest school began on a wet note this week, with pouring rain for our session on Wednesday. Wrens Class went on a rainy leaf hunt collecting colourful leaves which they threaded onto string. We also ran into some puddles on our leaf hunt and so had to stop for some well deserved splashing! We used the leaves to create some beautiful leaf lanterns which the children took home. On Thursday Nightingales were focusing on the upcoming Armistice Day and we made poppies by joining together 2 sticks using a clove hitch and square lashing. We also talked about how WW1 was fought in trenches and recreated trench scenes from the Western Front. The session ended really poignantly by planting the poppies in 'no man's land' and hearing the poem In Flanders Field. Kestrels and Owls spent the afternoon carrying out a survey of the birds in the area. Both groups were delighted to spot Red Kites in flight ! Friday was conker craft day with Doves and Robins as they used conker drills to create fantastic conker creatures and some amazing conker caterpillars. Well done everyone!
Week beginning 29/10/18
A huge thank you to all the Parents who helped out on Sunday with clearing the forest school in preparation for the tree planting, your help was invaluable - thank you!
We have had a great first week back. Year 3 (Nightingales) enjoyed their first forest school session of the term. Nightingales are having forest school sessions based around the book 'Wolf Brother' by Michelle Paver to link in with their history topic on the stone age. This week the children formed their own tree clans, created their own clan IDs and then built their own mini-camps. The weather was very testing but we survived outside all morning despite the pouring rain ! Well done Nightingales. Kestrels and Owls have been looking at the evidence collected in the animal traps and have discovered fox hair and mouse pooh in the traps ! Next week we will be using binoculars to carry out a survey of the birds in the school grounds. Robins, Doves and Wrens have had a pumpkin themed week. Wrens were busy making pumpkin soup and pumpkin monsters and aliens. All classes have tried pumpkin soup cooked on the camp fire, and Robins and Doves have made their own perfect pumpkins and terrifying twig skeletons. I have been really impressed with their creativity! Well done everybody.
Welcome back after half term, I hope you all managed to get out and about and see the fabulous changes happening as we move into Autumn. Whilst on an autumn walk over half term, I spotted this very interesting spider - are there any curious minds out there who would like to do some research to see if they can find out which type of spider this might be? Please come and find me and let me know your answers !
Year 4 (Kingfishers) have now finished their forest school sessions for this term but will be having some more sessions after Christmas. During the last session we reflected on what we had enjoyed the most about the sessions, what he had learnt and what we had got better at. I have put all the ideas together in an image which I hope summarises Kingfisher's experience of Forest School this term !Reflections on Forest School by Year 4
Wednesday 17th October 2018
Despite the wet weather, Wrens had a great day in Forest School. We arrived to find a letter from the Little Red Hen asking for our help to bake bread rolls. We had to help her make the dough, build the fire to cook the dough and of course eat the rolls. We also enjoyed singing some songs and nursery rhymes around the campfire.Yummy bread rolls Watching the bread rolls being cooked
Friday 12th October 2018
Robins and Doves have had great forest school sessions this week. Both classes have been thinking about what an animal needs to survive. They have learnt that wood mice live in burrows under trees and that they feed on berries, nuts and seeds. In Doves they needed to ensure that they included everything a wood mouse would need to survive. In Robins the children were very creative, they made traps to catch predators like foxes and made their wood mouse a slide and a playground.
Thursday 11th October 2018
Kestrels and Owls have been busy researching the trees in the forest. This week they selected a particular tree in the woodland, used identification trees to name it and then calculated its height and circumference. They also looked for lichen, fungi and moss on their tree. A group discovered that one of our poplar trees might have a squirrel drey in it!
Kingfishers have spent the morning making dream catchers, with some very impressive results and the catering team did a fantastic job making hot chocolate using the kelly kettle. Well done Kingfishers!
Dream catchers by Kingfisher Class - what ideas or dreams will fall through the catcher and which ones will you catch?
Wednesday 10th October 2018
Wrens had a great day today in the lovely weather ! We were nature detectives this week and the children were using their senses to explore the forest. They used their eyes to find different places in the woods, we listened for the different sounds and we used our noses to collect some different smells to create our own smelly potions. The children all had great ideas for names for the potions. There was also some lovely group play going on in the mud kitchen area, groups playing hide and seek and a game of stepping stones over the lava invented by the children. Great work Wrens
Thursday and Friday 4th and 5th October 2018
This week has been poetry week in school, with National Poetry day on Thursday, so our Forest school sessions have had a poetry focus. Kingfishers have had a go at using the woods to inspire their poetry writing about the changes from an acorn into an oak tree, and Doves have had a go at arranging lines to create their own autumn poem about autumn leaves. Below are a few examples of their creations.
Wednesday 3 rd October 2018
Another great day at Forest School with the Wrens. The children were invited to make some stick friends and then make them a home in the woods. I was really impressed with all the stick friends that were made ! We also had a go at using natural materials to make the different letters the children had been learning in class. Well done Wrens !Mud fun Our stick friends
Wednesday 19th September
Wrens Class had a brilliant first session in the forest today. I was really impressed with all the Wrens and how well they manged for a whole day outside!! Once we had got the boots and waterproofs on we headed into the forest only to discover that the dinosaurs had escaped from their bucket and were hiding somewhere in the forest ! We got into dinosaur detective mode and armed with binoculars and magnifying glasses went off in search of the missing dinosaurs. Many of the children also discovered different animals and insects as well and were delighted to do so. In the session after lunch we split into 2 groups where we did some simple games on the field and then used the forest to collect some special treasures to make a treasure stick to take home. All the children had a go at using a knot to attach string to a stick. Well done Wrens for your enthusiasm, engagement and perseverance !
Friday 14th September
Robins and Doves had a great forest school session this week. In Doves we went on a nature scavenger hunt. We had a leaf quiz at the start of the session where we had to identify the tree that 5 different leaves had come from. Try asking your children if they can name the 5 trees? We also had a go at finding the tree that the leaves had come from. The session ended with a class favourite - toasted marshmallows!
In Robins the children made nature sticks by collecting objects that interested them and then working on knots by attaching the objects to string and then onto their stick. Some of the children also had a go at collecting objects to match an adjective e.g. spiky, thin, fat, round, rough, smooth. We learnt the names of 3 trees, try asking your children if they can name the most popular tree in our forest? Marshmallows finished the session off nicely!
Thursday 13th September
Today was Roald Dahl day in school, so to celebrate we had a Roald Dahl themed session. Kestrels and Kingfishers read an extract of Billy and the Minpins and then got their creative juices following by creating The Gruncher from the book and some Minpins. The children had to work in groups where the focus was on listening and responding appropriately to others. They were also using spoken language to develop understanding through imagining and exploring ideas. During the session we talked about team work, negotiating and compromise. The children produced some creative pieces and of course enjoyed the campfire and marshmallows. Below is a selection of some of the Grunchers and Minpins! Some of the children got very excited by the discovery of some larva under a log. We spent ages considering what he could be, some children even took the photo home for some further research. We decided it was Stag Beetle Larva but see what you think !Grunchers
and finally any suggestions for the larva?