Hazel Class Forest School Blog session 5 July 4th 2017
YET ANOTHER wet Forest School for Hazel Class! Especially for the afternoon group. Our Forest School site was getting really muddy and slippery by the end of the day. This is partly because two groups are using it each week at the moment, so there is twice as much erosion and impact on our environment. One of our responsibilities as a Forest School is to protect, manage (and hopefully improve) our site, to promote it as a natural ecosystem. So, we will have to monitor our land-use in order to decide how to make sure that we are fulfilling this obligation.
Our warm-up games were different for the morning and afternoon groups due to the weather. The morning was drier, so we were able to play a blindfold game, requiring lots of communication and trust. The afternoon was wet and cooler, so we played a more energetic game, called “Fox and Rabbits” to keep warm. In the morning, we also had the chance to play some of the games that the children had invented a couple of weeks ago, including a version of Capture the Flag, but with buckets of water! We played a few games of this, adjusting the rules and teams each time – as it proved to be a great opportunity to learn how to be fair, improve tactics, make rules which work for everyone. When children have the chance to make up their own games and adjust their own rules, the amount of learning is palpable.
Sadly, we found a couple of dead Chaffinch fledglings, so one child spent most of the morning attending to their burial. He chose a suitable spot for the grave, worked out how big and deep to dig it, chose a gravestone to mark it and charcoal from the fire to write an inscription. He and his friends then learned how to lash sticks together to make a cross above the grave and he even conducted a short memorial service with the whole group. (And yes, they did all wash their hands thoroughly with soap before they ate their sausages!)
We also found a young toad this week – maybe a younger relation of the huge one which jumped on one child’s welly last week! When some children moved the old Christmas tree to use it for their den, there were plenty of interesting mini beasts under it – frilly, orange slugs; green and stripy snails, shiny, blue-black beetles. We had a visit from a lovely brown, mottled moth under the tarp during our snack time as well as some beautiful black and red flying beetles which we are trying to I.D.
Many children chose to continue to use knives this week – bows and arrows were very popular, as were extremely sharp sticks! During our evaluation time, many children expressed a wish to work on these further next week.
The mud kitchen is a perennial favourite. The children had a great time at their mud café, mixing concoctions for us and painting themselves.
Around the fire (we had sausages in buns this week), we discussed who had managed to step out of their comfort zones again and how it felt. Those who haven’t quite managed it yet children have set themselves a challenge for next week…