Term 4 saw some new and adventurous sessions in Forest School.
We introduced the new slack line, which runs between two trees and helps children with their balancing skills.
We talked about Equinox (Equi= equal, nox = night), the beginning of spring where night and day are the same length. Children found signs of spring in our area - feel free to venture out and search for bird's nests, insects, seedlings, buds and flowers etc. on walks when you go outside.
Willow stars were our next challenge. We talked about the properties of willow, that it is bendy, needs lots of water and is a natural medicine for animals (it is used to make aspirin). The stars turned out to be tricky to make but I never said that Forest School was easy. The children leaned how to persevere.
We recapped on some tree names and Year 4 were the first children to use a knife for whittling. Some chose to use a peeler and they made little people - or some just tried out whittling a stick - Forest School is not about the end result but the process.
Year 4 is all about building - there are lots of architects and builders in the making. What was nice to observe was that children were asking for tools and equipment like mallets and secateurs as well as rope, which shows growing knowledge and independence.
We saw a wood shop appear where you had to trade bricks for wood and we discussed a group member being responsible for advertising. Some children built a 'clip and go ape' activity as well as bird feeders. A tyre swing and a fabulous zip line were created with brilliant knots and many other children enjoyed using them. One group decided to make a worm area to look after the animals.
Finally we had a chat about how the outside makes them feel. The answers were very positive, the children often said' relaxed, calm, adventurous and free' as they liked the freedom of choice. I hope I am encouraging them to be more aware of their thoughts and feelings and for the children to use the outdoors as a place to calm, recharge and learn.