Owls Summer term-Forest School Fun begins...
During the first week of Forest School, we enjoyed getting to know the site as well as the rules we have to follow to keep us safe in the area. We had plenty of time to explore and initiate our own games and activities; from bug hunting and using binoculars to looking into the field, digging in the mud pit to cooking a full menu in the mud kitchen, watching tadpoles to building bridges and even walking the plank like real pirates! It was a busy session.
During the subsequent sessions, rain or shine in our unpredictable "summer" the fun and learning didn't stop. Confidence grew in the Wild Garden as some children spent the sessions focusing on bug hunting, others engaged with a variety of activities using the environment to create own games or enhance hair and coat zips with flowers. We began to try things outside their natural comfort zone including learning to cope with the inevitable unexpected mini-bug encounter or sting - a nettle sting really is soothed with a dock leaf bandage!
In one session, the focus was on bugs. We started by talking about insects including naming the three parts of their bodies, counting legs and thinking about those that fly. Mrs Greggs challenged us to make our own 'bug' using natural resources - the results were fascinating and wonderfully unique.
It was noticeable how confident and comfortable all the children were in the site and creativity in full flow - building companies were set up with construction companies working with a supply chain of "concrete" (mud) suppliers, archaeologists excavated for treasure, a full buffet was made in the mud kitchen with "wild guacamole" (how Surrey!), and a fairy house built in a quiet corner.
At our penultimate session, the outdoor learning drew our attention to our local community. The children fascinated by the wall mural map of Elstead and surrounding areas outside Mrs Elliot's office where we found our School, St James' Church, the Pavillion and the "green" by the Spar. We observed that blue denoted water such as the Elstead Moat and green woodland areas. Our task then was to make our own maps with natural resources and, as usual a huge variety of maps were complete. They included Minecraft maps, maps inspired by our African learning, maps of large scale, including UK, Northern Ireland, the continents of the world and Africa itself. There was still time in the session to watch damsel flies and dig to Australia...a busy morning!
As our time at forest school drew to a close this term, there really was no better way to finish than by sitting around an open fire, toasting marshmallows, reflecting and marvelling at the nature around us and all that we had enjoyed, learnt and experienced.
A very special 'thank you' to Mrs Greggs for all that she inspires.