Forest school at Cheapside School
We are very much looking forward to the Summer Term of Forest School and warmer weather! We will still be having hot chocolate or squash and biscuits every session so if you have any room in your shopping basket, then our supplies of biscuits and hot chocolate are getting low and we appreciate any donations to our snack bank! I will continue to post weekly summaries of what we have been up to in Forest School. This term we will be doing lots of work planting and growing in the allotment, please let me know if you would be interested in helping us out with the allotment. We also have our allotment preparation day on Saturday 29th April, if you are able to help out. Please click on the link below for more information.
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 !
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.
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 !
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?