Forest school at Cheapside School

Happy Christmas!

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

christmas-hunt christmas-scavenger-hunt


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.

Ltr – re Forest School celebrations – 23 November 2018

Charter for Trees, Woods and People – Child Friendly Principles

Forest school clearance day

Forest School Snack Bank

Forest School Reflection and Review

Year 5 and 6 biodiversity project letter

Year 5 and 6 Parental Consent forms for biodiversity project


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!

















World War 1 Trenches



























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.

Poetry Writing in Forest school.






















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 !

Making letter shapes

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 !


and finally any suggestions for the larva?