Forest School offers children the opportunity of an educational experience in a ‘wild woodland’ setting, with safe, experiential learning about the world around them and how to care for it. The children have regular opportunities to achieve, develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a local woodland environment. It fosters self-esteem and self-confidence skills, dealing with emotions though problem solving, critical thinking and teamwork. They will develop skills for simple conservation, creating shelters, making fires and cooking. Alongside this children will learn about seasonal changes and there will be time for games and fun!
Creech Woods and 100 Acre Woods are used to help pupils to:
- Increase their confidence in outdoor settings
- Use the setting for imaginative play
- Assess and manage risks to themselves and others
- Develop their communication and language skills
- Investigate how the natural world affects them
- Push themselves outside their comfort zones
- Have a sense of achievement and success.
All pupils at Cliffdale take part in Forest School for a morning or afternoon, once a week, for a whole term at some point each year. We have our own trained, experienced and skilled Forest School teacher whom the children affectionately now call ‘Forest Fran’! Everyone has a wonderful time and each achieves so much as the term goes on.
Forest school continues into spring with Panda, Kangaroo, Elephant, Hippo and Rhino classes all going out once a week. Since the lower school topic is ‘Messy Mixtures’ we’ve been exploring mud and puddles!
Alex pulled a stick out of a frozen puddle and was very surprised to see a large piece of ice stuck to it! Brandon, Leo and Alexander made a messy mixture of their own using ice and puddle water! This was great fun as you can see in the photographs and the children could use all sorts of new vocabulary like ‘pour’, ‘stir’, ‘mix’ as well as taking turns to use things too! Freya enjoyed using leaves in her mixture with her friend Lily-Beth. Josef explored and observed how to turn a large fallen branch, watching what happened very carefully.
Olek and Adian also enjoyed their messy mixtures and Joel made one in a tin! Jack preferred one big messy mixture stirring a deep puddle with sticks.
Kangaroo class definitely enjoy the puddles the best. Harry decided the best option was to sit down and then assume a swimming position, the big smile says it all! It was deep for Macie-Lou who ventured in with him too!
Elephant class have been using a big black cauldron to make their magic potions in adding chunks of ice from the puddles and then shaking it to make a noise. Jacob particularly enjoyed that! They are also beginning to develop the skill of whittling sticks using potato peelers to make forest wands. Oscar and Jude were very proud of theirs!
Rhino class were lucky to have snow in the forest J Molly made a fabulous snow angel, Maddie threw snowballs and Rudy got a direct hit to his hat! Ceppy was a little unsure but soon got the hang of making snowballs while Ryan was an absolute natural!
All in all, the forest continues to be a wonderful place to investigate, observe, learn and explore. J
Forest school has continued up to Christmas with Koala, Giraffe, Gorilla, Lion and Rhino classes all going out once a week.
Koala class have been exploring other parts of the forest. Flyn found a huge tree stump and was determined to get to the top; asking for help really clearly and standing at the top tall and proud. Keira loved making woodland jingle bells and here she is looking closely at the colours.
Giraffe class enjoyed a sparkler celebration for bonfire night. The children role played fireworks going off by counting down together with handfuls of leaves and throwing them in the air! You can see Bailey reading his safety instructions for the real thing and him and Aarya enjoying the fireworks.
Lion class also had sparklers and you can see Tyler and Dexter in the photos with broad smiles!
Rhino class continued to show how independent they can be getting over woodland obstacles and you can see Denver has climbed up with a big grin. He was so proud it was a delight to see. They also learned how to use vegetable peelers to whittle sticks and make their very own jingle bells; Rudy loved his because they sounded like Santa’s sleigh!
Gorilla class learnt all about fire safety and back woods cooking. They cooked marshmallows over a fire to make ‘smores’; where you sandwich a cooked marshmallow between two chocolate digestive biscuits! So called because once you’ve had one, you always want some more!
All in all, the forest continues to be a wonderful place to investigate, learn and explore. J
Forest School is back this September with Koala, Giraffe, Gorilla, Lion and Rhino classes all going out once a week.
Koala class have been exploring their favourite parts of the forest. Kiera discovered banging a tree to the rhythm of ‘Bangedy, Bang, Bang’, while Luke used a branch to ‘sweep’ the leaves on the forest floor. Francesca had a lovely giggle running off the mounds of earth on a countdown!
Giraffe class made ‘survivor’ stick puppets of themselves to take around the forest. You can see Josh choosing clothes carefully deciding what would be warm in the forest. Connie took her stick puppet on a journey around the site, looking at a holly tree and then walking it along a log. Dylan was very excited to take his sliding down the ditch!
Charlie, in Lion class, decided that his puppet need a plastic hood to stay dry, while Tyler thought fur fabric would be warmer. Yameen enjoyed his first Forest school lesson by learning some serious climbing skills!
Rhino class have been showing how independent they can be getting over woodland obstacles and seeing changes in the forest. They found sweet chestnut shells; Ryan and Rudy were a bit worried about touching them as they’re so prickly. Mollie made music tapping a tree trunk with a stick and then rubbing two pine cones together.
Gorilla class took their ‘survivor’ stick puppets back to the forest and learnt about the importance of shelter. Nasir found a perfect spot for his stick puppet and built a leaf ‘house.’ Peter and Brandon used sticks to make a ‘den’ and Tommy added sticks to a den to make a ‘tent.’ Savanna and Viviana used leaves as beds and then covered their stick puppets so that they couldn’t be seen!
All in all, the forest continues to be a wonderful place to investigate, learn and explore.