Over The last 2 years I have had a wonderful time joining Miss Ward's reception class for forest schools. Forest school is such a wonderful experience for children of all ages. Not only are they learning a lot about our outdoor environment but also learning to work together as a group and let their imaginations go wild.
Every week on a Wednesday, weather permitting, we all get togged up in our outdoor clothes and head up the hill towards the forest school area which is a trek on its own, not only for the children! It's a fair old climb but the children love it. On our way up we stop and have a look at how the different seasons affect the trees and our surrounding environment; taking a look at the different shapes of leaves that different trees have.
Once at the top we have a special area called the 'Fire Area' where all logs are placed 3 metres from the fire pit and where we sit and chat about all that is going on around us. This is when Miss Ward asks the children to 'team up' and gives them all a sheet of paper with different items on, for the children to find. This is great fun when its creepy crawlies, magnified lenses at the ready, logs being upturned to see who can find the largest worm, centipede or genuinely anything that moves! It's wonderful to see the children really enthusiastic and giving it a go to find all that they can.
I think my favourite part of the day is 'child-initiated time' when the children have 20 minutes to do something they want to do; the wildlife up in the forest school area has had many homes built for it and plenty of stick sculptures! Molehills get turned into 'hedgehogs' and other amazing animals.
We are so lucky to have the space and environment for forest school. It gives children who don't have an aptitude for classwork, a chance to really shine in a different space.