Christmas or Advent wreaths, Staying Safe and Having Fun.
Look at our photographs. We had fun playing "123, Where Are you?". Then we had a little discussion about evergreen trees, and their opposites-deciduous trees. We had some wildlife magazines which gave interesting information on pine trees, holly and ivy (which is not a tree). We used willow sticks to make the bones of the wreath, and then decorated them with winter greenery.
One group left our site with Miss Codd, and went on an evergreen hunt. On the hunt we did get distracted from our main goal. However we became experts in spotting birch trees (deciduous) and we enjoyed peeling little curls of bark from them, remembering that birch bark makes good kindling for fire lighting.
We were interested to find rhododendron bushes (evergreen), the leaves of which are very similar to laurel but they grow in circles around the twig, while laurel grow in lines along the twig.
There was very little greenery in the woods today. Blackberry bushes, ground level plants, ferns and mosses were most prevalent. We did find three holly bushes, and a tree covered in ivy. There was also a green leafed tree with nasty looking spikes along its branches. Miss Codd could not identify it, but is on a mission to discover what it is. Watch this space.
We discussed the symbolism of the Advent Wreath from a Christian perspective. The wreath circle has no beginning and no end, like God and his love for us. Green plants stand for everlasting life like Jesus at his resurrection, which is a sign to us that there is life after death. The spikes, thorns and prickles remind us that Jesus suffered before his bodily death, when his tormentors placed a crown of thorns on his head.
There was time to play too. Sam made a little sculpture for imaginary mini people. He was inspired by a tiny "chair" he found on the evergreen hunt. Daniel made a dam which dried up the stream for a short while, then he and Reece broke up the dam before they left.
Lots of us enjoyed printing leaves by hammering them on white material. We boiled some extra water for hot chocolate, in the Kelly Kettle and the rain cleared for the duration of our time at Forest School.
Week 4 Marshmallow sandwiches again.
This week a different set of children had their turn to toast marshmallows before squashing them between two digestive biscuits. Yum! They were all very safe, sensible and patient around the fire today. The children needed a bit of patience because the green (that means newly taken from the tree) ivy we tried to burn was very smoky. So the flames disappeared for a while. We discussed how to prepare a fire. Mrs. McGuinnes is very good at this. We used cotton wool and fibres from the tumble drier, at the bottom of the cone shape, with smaller dry twigs or kindling which has been shaved into smaller pieces on top of this, and larger pieces of dry wood around that.
Marcus asked which found materials we could use instead of cotton wool and tumble drier fluff. We talked about seed heads, dried plant stalks and birch bark. The children now know birch bark is usually white, and can be flaky. When it's flaky it can be peeled. There is a photo below, showing a flaky birch bark at Birkacre (which literally translates as an acre of birch woodland). Lucy thought birch bark was orange, and the photo proves that she was right-sometimes it is orange in parts.
The children are seen to be very creative in the photographs-making prints from green ferns and leaves, painting with mud and making flags and banners. At one stage the children were role playing "I'm A Celebrity-Get Me Out of Here".
Last week forY6 next week.
Week 4- Toasted marsh mallow sandwich.....mmmm.
This week, teams St. David and St. Patrick had their turn at toasting marshmallows. The children were safe and sensible when whittling their toasting spears. We were so engrossed we forgot to take photos. We squashed the melted marshmallows between two chocolate digestive biscuits. The taste sensation was beyond sweet.
Meanwhile the other teams improved and decorated their dens. Some children made mobiles, floor coverings, leaf prints or Christmas decorations.
Have a look at the photos we remembered to take.
At Forest School today we spent a lot of time around the fire. The fire was started before the children arrived, because we wanted to make a small amount of charcoal with which to drawing. We were thinking about charcoal, how it is made, why it is made and when it was made. Charcoal has been made in British woods for many hundreds of years. It was usually made in large chunks on massive fires, for iron works and blacksmiths to use, as it burns hotter and at a more constant heat than wood.
As you can see from the pictures, we have had success!
We also had a go at making sparks with the flint and steel.
We thought about how people in times gone by would have entertained themselves by singing around the fire, to lift their spirits. We sang a song about a tree in a bog, in a valley, which was appropriate because there are some boggy patches in our Forest School site and of course it's in Yarrow Valley.
We also sang two songs which were popular during World War 2. thinking about soldiers singing the songs to lift their spirits when they were far from home, or sitting around a campfire.
These two songs can be sung simultaneously, the tunes are similar and work together in harmony: namely "Pack Up Your Troubles" and "It's a Long, Long Way to Tiperary".
We also considered how the Kelly Kettle works so efficiently and used it to boil water for our hot chocolate.
Our second visit.
We began the session considering how to play safely in a woodland setting.
Our first big game was a jigsaw hunt. The completed jigsaws made some relevant words which were linked to the spirit and activities of Forest School:- Safety, Fire, Team Work, Adventure, Respect and Trust. Y6 reflected sensibly on how these words relate to Forest School.
Next we thought about the fire area, and how to keep safe if we were cooking, or enjoying a campfire singsong. Year 6 were very good at the fire circle game which reminds us not to enter the fire circle without permission and the importance of careful behaviour.
We thought about how fences and shelters can be made from twigs and branches, and how wattle fences and walls have been made for thousands of years in Britain. This inspired some children to make a fence. Others built or improved shelters started last week.
Mrs McGuinness and Miss Codd had made transient maps of the Forest School area-look at the photos. Did any of the children create transient art, or did they challenge themselves in other ways? Take a look.
Y6 first Forest School visit to Yarrow Valley Park this school year.
We had lots of fun.
After recapping on 3 forest school rules, and considering safe play, we had fun playing "123, where are you?" , proving that you can find hidden people just by listening and /or shouting. We thought about how woodlands have been used since Anglo Saxon times, through world War Two up to the present day. We considered how people may have needed to hide or survive in the forest especially in war times. With that in mind some children began making dens. Some made spears and weapons.
Mostly however, the children just wanted to explore as can be seen from the photos.