Warden Hill Primary School Cheltenham

Forest School

The last few sessions of forest school this academic year have been with our Reception children who have been making the most of our wonderfully jungly site.

Children are naturally inquisitive and forest school affords them such a wonderful opportunity to explore and be part of the natural world on a really close up basis, to touch it, smell it and listen to it. It also affords them a wonderful chance to slow down a little and just “be” for a while (this usually seems to happen up trees) and you can almost feel it doing them good.

Mud and water have inevitably been a big feature whilst it has been so warm, and as a year group they have specialised in squishy squashy mud balls. Watching them create mud baths for the unsuspecting dinosaurs is a delight, and in the children’s imaginations at least, they are clearly all around us and roaring as loud as ever. As adults forest school is a great opportunity to stand back and watch the children learning as they play, such as when they oh-so-carefully pour water from one container to another so as not to waste a drop.

Whilst the snails keep a low profile when it’s hot there are plenty of other insects about and shield bugs, woodlice and hoverflies in particular are everywhere. Stepping back and listening to the children’s interactions with them and about them is fascinating, and watching them pass a ladybird between them shows just how gentle they can be.

Have wonderful summer and if you can make time for your children to just to be outside without laid on activities or adult input. Feeling at home in nature gives children the opportunity to really relax and be themselves. Give them a bucket full of water and a trowel and time to play and they will be much the happier.

We didn’t realise we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun.

Forest School

It has been lovely being up in Forest School with 2T and 1B over recent weeks. It is always such a privilege to observe the different ways in which they learn and play. Some children naturally work together as teams to build camps or make wonderful creations in the mud kitchen, whilst others chose to work by themselves to achieve their own goals. I have been so impressed by their engagement with the idea of land art producing wonderfully creative outcomes, and whilst some children continue to work on their art all afternoon, others are straight up the nearest tree or digging for treasure or worms in the free play part of the session. So often more is less in Forest School and it is fascinating watching them learn so much playing with a few pegs, a trowel, a litter picker or one of our soft toys or dinosaurs.

On that note, if anyone has any dinosaurs their children no longer play with, or soft toys animals (only those specifically found in forest school i.e. deer, fox, rabbit, mouse, rat, badger, owl, robin, mole), I would always be happy to give them a home.

Mrs Chavasse