February Half Term- Chester House

🌳🌲🌳WITH gusts forecast we had a Plan B at The Chester House Estate today BUT we didn’t need to use it – we got to experience the wind in the open spaces flying our windy waving wands before exploring Badger Wood and seeing who Mr Badger had invited for tea, we read the bog Baby and had fun making mud and clay creations, we played (a LOT) of hide n seek, some Bat n Moth, built dens, climbed, met the tree, made necklaces, pea shooters and bubble pipes, had hot chocolate and made popcorn. Very lucky with the position of this lovely site, grateful for a wonderful volunteer and all the wonderful groups I met today. Happy days 😊🌳🌲🌳

Happy Place

🌳🌲🌳WOOHOO for half term! A great week of Forest School and Outdoor Learning sessions: LOTS of swing use, taking about how we FEEL when out in nature #ChildrensMentalHealthWeek, running games, group games, celebrating birthdays, making jewellery, practicing our dragons breath πŸ‚πŸ‚, gong sound games and whatever else we could come up withπŸ˜ŠπŸŒ³πŸ’šπŸŒ³πŸŒ²

Happy half term everyone! πŸ˜ŠπŸ’š

🌳photo taken out of school hours🌳

Number Fun!

🌳🌲🌳FINALLY shaken off my sinus infection so back on to FULL (well nearly πŸ˜‚) power … another great week with great groups storytelling, making up games, running, hiding, CONNECTING. Celebrating Imbolc and getting down into the earth for some grounding and creating sit spots hiding ourselves in the Spinney, marking up our faces with mud and using natural camouflage πŸƒ 🍁. Celebrating numbers on Friday with some counting and memory games .. β€˜1, 2, 3, where are you?’ and whatever else we could get up to … πŸ˜ŠπŸ’šπŸŒ²πŸŒ³πŸ’šπŸ

🌳🌲Photos taken on set up before school open 🌳🌲

Invisible Learning

🌲🌳🌲IT has been a charcoal pencil making, meeting tree playing, tool using, bow and arrow making, target practicing 🎯, popcorn popping, some hide and seeking, slack line using, hammock swinging, clay making, den building, wildlife trailing, puppet theatre using and tree climbing kind of week at school. Good for the soul 🌳🌲🌳😊

🌲🌳🌲I loved seeing THIS after school on Friday as I was taking down the ropes played with by reception and tied to trees. SO much learning going on through play 🌲🌳🌲

🌳🌲🌳photos taken out of school hours 🌳🌲🌳

Ice Baubles

🌳🌲🌳SUCH a lovely end to the week! I’m so grateful to being able to do what I do in school, it’s not perfect and sometimes I think going back to freelance would be a LOT easier – the sessions can feel too short (could they ever be long enough?? πŸ˜‰) and whole class sessions can be daunting – BUT providing these outdoor experiences to as many as possible is soooo important for so many different reasons …. physical development/ self esteem & confidence/ nature connection/ mental health to name a few πŸŒ³πŸŒ²πŸ’š

🌳🌲🌳THIS week we have explored ice, made an assault course, balanced on slack lines, had amazing scavenger hunts, swung in hammocks, made dens, clay animals, worry sticks, charcoal, used potato peelers through to knives and loppers and had lots of fun!! 🌲🌳🌲

🌳🌲🌳Watch THIS space for details of the next giving back session to be held at Top Ardle Wood, Ravensthorpe πŸ˜ŠπŸŒ²πŸŒ³πŸŒ²πŸ’š

🌳🌲Photos taken before and after school 🌳🌲

Frost & Birds

πŸŒ³πŸŒ²πŸŒ³πŸ’š A week of EXPLORING the frost (wasn’t it beautiful?) ❄️, FLYING in unison, MAKING tracks, IDENTIFYING birds, MAKING popcorn bird feeders then SOARING like Eagles πŸ¦…, finding WOOLLY worms πŸͺ±, BUILDING nests, playing, exploring and having fun. ALL the while learning OUTSIDE of the classroom – more joy = more intrinsic motivation 🌳🌲🌳. Happy days 😊

🌲🌳🌲Photos taken outside of school hours 🌲🌳🌲

New Year, New Year Group

πŸŒ³πŸŒ²β›ΊοΈπŸŒ³IT is only when taking down the dens at my school after-school Forest School Club that I can really SEE the amount of work, thought and creativity (making doors, fences, traps) that went into the building of each den.🌳🌲🌳

πŸŒ²πŸŒ³β›ΊοΈπŸŒ²EVERY piece of rope and EVERY tarp was used in what was initially an adult initiated challenge – to chose the materials and work together to make a water tight den – BUT then turned into being child/ learner led with very little input from the supporting adults.🌳🌲🌲

🌲🌳🌲LOVED it! The role of the practitioner is to observe: to be there to provide support IF needed, no matter how tempting it is to step in and input your own ideas. THIS leads to providing the group with control over what they are doing, even if there is an end goal (to make the den), the PROCESS is itself the experience. πŸŒ³πŸŒ²πŸŒ³πŸ’š ⛺️

⛺️photo taken the next day before school open⛺️

Last session of the Twilight Team

πŸŒ²πŸŒ³πŸŒ²πŸŽ„A lovely last session for the Year 5 after school club … this week we began by playing Find a Tree in partners to start us off. I wanted some direct connection/ contact with the site we use. WHAT does it feel like? ARE there branches/ moss/ roots? OUR activity possibilities included decorating a tree for a Tree Dressing activity and then den building, camp making, food preparing and coming together for our celebratory feast session of flatbread pizzas πŸ• and popcorn πŸΏπŸŒ²πŸŒ³πŸ’š

🌳🌲🌳I have LOVED this block of sessions, providing activity possibilities suitable for our light and temperature and seeing how my group has just gone with it. Torches and shadow sheets, night lines in the dark, dens and fairy lights, bats and moths, wolves and deer, giant spider webs, elder candles and some bow saw use, slack lines and hammocks not to mention star gazing, sunsets and satellite stations.🌳🌲🌳

🌲🌳🌲Coming together to reflect at the end was beautiful: what they liked and what they didn’t like (thankfully just the sessions ending πŸ˜…) and the beautiful comment about seeing the site for the first time in torchlight β€œI created a doorway to a magical land”. Job done. Can’t wait for the next block 😊🌲🌳🌲

Wolves and Deer and more β€¦

🌳🌲🌳 PLAYING Wolves 🐺and Deer 🦌 and MAKING giant webs formed part of what turned into a PREDATOR type of after school Forest School session … thinking about our DEER ears and OWL eyes … working stealthily as a pack howling for communication with the DEER feeling that excitement/ anticipation of being the hider in our game and trying to move with NO sound, coming together to talk about how we felt … and to change tactics πŸ˜ŠπŸ’š. Our giant web showed some amazing knot work and was fun in the twilight with bells to keep silent. LOVED IT. AND then we all watched the space station fly over. Best job ever πŸ˜ŠπŸŒ³πŸŒ²πŸ’šπŸŒ³πŸŒ²

Magical Twilight

βœ¨πŸŒ™βœ¨LOVING the magic of our Twilight Team after school sessions … playing on the slack line, lounging around in hammocks and up trees 🌲🌳🌲, some trying their hand with a bow saw before the light faded and the lights were switched on … it was beautiful – the amazing sun set helped 🌞: we walked through our Spinney using a guide rope in darkness walking out onto the field to an orange sky and everyone was in awe πŸ˜Šβœ¨πŸŒžπŸŒ™βœ¨πŸŒžπŸ’š