Warden Hill Primary School Cheltenham

Forest School: Year 1

1B and 1R have both had four lovely forest school sessions each including an afternoon of clay work when we were threatened with downpours. The children are so good at engaging despite the last minute change of plan and really enjoyed drawing a detailed picture of the creature they wanted to sculpt, and adding exciting adjectives to the drawing to help it come alive for the reader.

They then really took their time to bring it to life in clay, with some really fabulous outcomes that I was incredibly impressed with. Marcellus’ dragon was in a league of its own and showed extraordinary imagination and great skill.

Inevitably with differing dynamics, every class plays in different ways and certain resources become more or less popular. With spring on the march and everything starting to grow quickly, bright green sticky weed has been a really big feature for this year group – who knew that a weed could be so much fun? We made sticky weed crowns and a lot of sticky weed made it into the mud kitchen inspiring some fabulous dishes.

The chalk boards are new this year and proved really popular too, with children variously writing, shape making, doing maths, writing out recipes and drawing in the shade under the trees. The wooden board games were used a lot too in base camp with long running, fiercely competitive noughts and crosses competitions. Seeing that some of the children really appreciated these more quiet, thoughtful pastimes I started to take some picture books and non-fictions books out too for the first time offering some children the opportunity to just take a moment, which was lovely to see.

Den building can be a wonderful solitary activity giving a child the opportunity to take the time to bring something they have envisaged to life, but this year group made big collaborative dens which was great to see. Working in this way on a group project required lots of conversation, team work compromise and adaptability which are such important skills to learn.

For the first time there was lots of building work in this group as well, plastering mud on to the tree branches to make them smooth, painting them with water and chopping thing with the side of the trowels. It is fascinating to see where their imaginations go and always interesting to see who the children chose to play with depending on what they are doing.

As we move into the summer our reception children are having their first taste of spending time in our lovely site, and I look forward to getting to know them and support them as they continue their learning through play.

Mrs Chavasse