Forest School

Summer 2018

Forest school is back this Summer with Koala, Hippo, Panda, Monkey and Elephant classes all going out once a week.

Elephant class have been using lots of different stories to explore the forest. One of their favourites was ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ by Maurice Sendak. The children role played being the ‘wild things’ by showing their claws, gnashing their teeth and swinging in the trees!  Finley showed his friends how it was done and Viviana and Caleb tried it out.  The children also made crowns to be ‘Max, King of the wild things.’ They chose leaves and twigs to stick on; Jack said ‘Be Still’, just like Max did in the story. Levai and Viviana were very proud of their crowns.

Hippo class used the story, ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ to explore the forest. The children enjoyed dressing up as the bear; you can see Oscar trying to frighten Harry! The class went over, under and through obstacles and Dexter was thrilled to find a bear! Harry took his bear off for a play in the undergrowth all on his own.

Koala, Monkey and Panda classes have been exploring the forest to see what they can do there. George used a magnifying glass to look at things closely, while Flyn worked out how to cross a ditch on not one, but two fallen tree trunks. Nathan and Sam climbed through large tree trunks and Josef investigated the fern leaves. Brandon, in Koala class used a pine needle as a forest paintbrush and the rest of the class discovered banging a log like a drum, singing ‘Bangedy, Bang, Bang.’ Ronnie gave a tree a big hug, trying to get his arms all the way round!

All in all, the forest continues to be a wonderful place to investigate and explore.

Spring 2018 Continued

Forest school has continued in Spring with Lion, Panda, Kangaroo and Giraffe classes still going out once a week.

Spring 2018

This spring, Forest school has seen Lion, Panda, Kangaroo and Giraffe classes all going out once a week.
Lion class have had a great time building dens. First they had to decide where the best place was and whether the tree they found would support a den. Issy, Daan-Nai and Charlie went looking to see what they could find. The challenge was to work as a team, helping each other find suitable branches and logs and then working together to move them. The children demonstrated great teamwork and communication skills and there were a couple of emerging leaders too!

Panda class have been getting used to the new environment, finding different ways to explore and learning to touch woodland objects. Luke and Ismah had a go at adding sticks to a den. Ronnie wanted to try and swing like a monkey from a tree! Flyn likes to take his time in the forest, getting down low and observing things closely.

Kangaroo class have been exploring too; trying their hand at crossing tricky obstacles like a big log bridge! Alex and Macie decided that sitting on it and pulling themselves along was the best way to tackle it. Amjet and Keira demonstrated fantastic balancing skills and managed to walk across it! It was great to see such wonderful problem solving.

In Giraffe class the children have seen great changes in the weather, with heavy frosts and rain too. The frost gave them the opportunity to do some stick writing with Kruz copying a pattern in the frost. Bailey and Ryan were fascinated by the ice and even held it briefly, both of them said ‘Cold’ and ‘Winter.’ Connie found a frosty leaf and later on used a twig to make marks on that too.

All in all, the forest school is taking the children on a wonderful learning journey, through changing seasons, with plenty of challenges and opportunities to explore.

Autumn 2017

Forest school is back this Autumn with Crocodile, Tiger, Gorilla, Zebra and Rhino classes all going out once a week.

Crocodile class have already seen exciting things happening in the woods, with signs of a ‘Fire-Dragon’ in the forest. Possible footprints and charred materials have been spotted by the children and last week they found a nest with frozen dragons’ eggs! Lennon was very proud of his find and the children had a lengthy discussion about what should happen to the eggs. In the end they decided to cover them with leaves to protect them, rather than move them. Elle made sure they were safe and sound before they left.

Tiger and Gorilla class have been building dens as a team and have worked really well together. Tiger class built one from large logs and Gorilla class had a set of equipment to solve the problem of designing one! Zac and Areen decided that they needed a big ‘fire’ too and were trying to rub sticks together to set it alight! Shannon used a small Lancashire peeler to whittle a stick and create her own stickman, Mason decided his stickman was going to climb a tree with him and Billy held on to his tightly!

Zebra and Rhino classes have been using mud as a sensory experience and painting with it too! Tao Tao created a mud masterpiece and Mollie painted her name. Rhino class wanted to explore the forest and found very interesting things to investigate. Alfie found a sweet chestnut shell and we wondered why it was spiky on the outside but very soft inside. Jake enjoyed watching a wood louse and we talked about how many legs he had and observed how he walked. Preston found a large tree stump he had sat on last year! He also had a go at straddling logs to get across a ditch!

All in all, the forest continues to be a wonderful place to learn and achieve

Summer 2017

Summer has truly begun and the woods have proved wonderful for learning, exploring and investigating, especially for lower school; who love the sense of freedom they get being outside.

Kangaroo class, especially Ben, enjoyed investigating puddles by splashing in them to see how deep they were and dropping pine cones and small stones in the water to watch the ripples like Leah and Freddie! They have been learning how to get around different obstacles by going over or under, Connie just about squeezed through but she was very determined!

Panda class enjoyed investigating puddles too! Macie-Lou and Sam had an entirely different approach, deciding that sitting in one would be best!  Ismah took great delight in throwing dry leaves up in the air and watching them move. Francesca liked looking up at the trees swaying.

Monkey class have exploring too, learning what can be found in the forest to play with! Jacob loves to collect pine cones to take them home and Alex likes to use a tree stump with a drumstick! Just running through the leaves with your friends is great too; listening to the sounds you make! Dexter found a little home for a bear hidden in a tree and had great fun with a game of ‚peek a boo’.

Koala class have really settled in well to the forest environment too, finding games to play. Harry loves the dry leaves, while Nathan and George mastered the big log bridge.  Flyn decided to try going under the bridge instead!  Danny investigated a circle of leaves and smiled beautifully for his photo! J


What a fabulous term in the forest!

Spring 2017

Spring has continued to be very exciting in the forest, especially with the changes in the weather! From rain and hail to sunshine and showers the woods have proved wonderful for learning and adventure.!

Rhino and Gorilla thought about explorers and hunting. They learnt about catapults and the items they would need to make one. Learning how to use simple tools to make notches in a Y-shaped stick they had to find was part of this but the greatest fun was, of course, testing them out! Jay was very pleased with his find as he wanted to make a big one, Maggie and Mazin enjoyed using the tools and Joe and Kimmie can be seen testing theirs out.

Tiger class continued with forest school this term and also used simple tools to create a bow and arrow! They focused on explorers and hunting and had to find suitable materials to create their bow and arrows. Bailey enjoyed creating his using the tools and Ediz loved testing his out too. They also carried on with their den building skills working together to lift heavier logs; this one was clearly a four man job! They were very happy with their finished den.

Lion class learnt lots about the changes in the forest environment and Marisa was fascinated by the ice and Denver had to go through the mud when the whole class went on a bear hunt! Tilly was very happy to find a bear after a long walk under and over obstacles!

Zebra class went on a bear hunt too which involved going through lots of puddles. Bailey and Harry definitely enjoyed that while others weren’t quite so sure J Jacob found a great stick to use as a staff walking through the woods to find the bears. They loved the story, exploring the forest and learning about nature.

 Let’s see what Summer brings for our forest school classes!

Forest School 

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.