Warden Hill Primary School Cheltenham

Reception Forest School

Our youngest children, RW and RA, have been up to Forest School over the last few weeks for the first of many sessions over their years at Warden Hill I hope. We have had dry days and wet days, but nothing deterred them and they took to forest school like little ducks to water.

Tree climbing is always terribly exciting for the reception children, particularly those who have not climbed trees before. There were some proper monkeys amongst them who shimmied up from branch to branch at great speed, and there were sloths too, who were happy just hanging around at lower levels. Managing risk is all part of the children’s journey at forest school and as with adults, some children are a little more risk averse and some just need to get higher quicker than anyone else. It is really wonderful though to hear them shouting “look at me, look at me” from whatever branch they have decided is high enough for them, and wonderful again half an hour later when they are calling from higher up again.

The mud kitchen is always a winner and certain children gravitate towards it week after week. Whilst some children like to work together gathering soil and pouring in the water to make mud, I am always happy to see the children who are just enjoying a bit of muddy time on their own, figuring out why the funnel isn’t working or watching the water splashing about as they whisk it. I am a very firm believer that there is no right or wrong way to play as long as you are being kind and enjoying yourself.

The brightly coloured pegs have been used for building fabulous dens that I would be pretty happy spending the night in, but also for creating art and even decorating people, as Jack, who was helping out from Bournside discovered when he became the Peg Monster for the afternoon.

There are always snails and woodlice and worms to be played with, as well as the litter pickers which the children soon discovered could be used for picking up lots of different things. This is one of the many ways in which the children learn as they play in forest school, and the determination that some of them show when trying to pick up something tricky is really admirable.

It was great getting to know all the reception children, they were all absolutely delightful and surprisingly good tidier uppers as well!

Have a wonderful summer.
Belinda Chavasse