Warden Hill Primary School Cheltenham

Forest School

2T enjoyed 4 sessions in forest school through February and March, busily making the most of our lovely site no matter what the weather.   

Children seem to know innately where creatures hide and sure enough as logs were overturned and bark was peeled back worms, slugs, snails and woodlice were found.  Almost without need for reminders they are carried around gently, homes and hidey places are built, friends and family are found and at the end of the sessions they are carefully put back somewhere safe.    

There are so many learning opportunities in everything they do and we had wonderful conversations about why slugs leave slimy trails (combatting friction) and how long snails can disappear into their shells for (3 months).  Similarly peeling bark off dead wood led to an important conversation around leaving bark on live trees so that water and nutrients can pass up to the leaves. 

Children benefit hugely from time spent in forest school, but I hope it is also a happy opportunity for their teachers and TAs to  step back a little and just observe the children.  Group dynamics can change in different environments and children often chose to play outside immediate friendship groups.  Some find the classroom quite challenging but come into their own in forest school, whilst real team players may take themselves off quietly to work on their own. 

Tree climbing is always a joy and so good for the children as they learn how to keep themselves safe and figure out how they are going to get down once they have got up.  They are always immensely encouraging of each other, whether their partner is being a sloth on one of the lower branches, or has been really brave and pushed themselves to go higher. There is nothing better hearing them shouting proudly for friends and adults to notice what they have achieved. 

The mud kitchen is always popular.  Some children love the mud and the mess and “cook” with great vigour, whilst others are more measured and manage to remain remarkably clean as they pour wonderfully oozey mud from jug to bowl.  As long as they have wellies and an old waterproof coat, along with the waterproof dungarees that we provide, it is a joy to watch them whisking and stirring up their concoctions.  

Next as we move hopefully into the spring, it is the turn of our lovely year 1s.     

Mrs Chavasse