December 12, 2020
Forest Experience so far…
AUTUMN TERM 2020
We have had a fantastic start to our forest sessions across Year 3 this term!
It has been a pleasure to see each and every pupil immersing themselves in our outdoor area, exploring and getting to know the areas, as well as their own strengths!
The focus for this half term has been den building and to introduce our Forest Experience to our pupils. Each week I have seen individuals and groups develop in their den building skills. This has included a lot of child-led work with a bit of help from myself if they wanted to secure their dens with string or rope. Some pupils have chosen to build dens individually, and others have teamed up showing how well they can work together.
I have had the pleasure of seeing new friendships being formed throughout the sessions which has been lovely to see.
Below are details of the outcomes that we are aiming for through the Forest Experience at St Thomas’s which I have included as you may find it of interest how we incorporate our school values into sessions:
- Improved confidence and self-esteem.
- Positively channelling play through environmental education and reconnection to the natural environment.
- We will learn about each season we are experiencing and grow seasonal food or plants when able to.
- Reflection – thinking about what went well
Our sessions fit into the collective, school vision statement set out below:
“I come that they might have life and life in all its fullness.” The Gospel of John 10 v 10
At St Thomas’s we are committed to providing a safe and nurturing environment that equips and empowers the children to flourish. We learn and grow in a culture of challenge and opportunity, promoting independence, collaboration and respect for all.
We aim for our children to succeed in body, mind, heart and spirit.
Above all we want to foster a sense of resilience, achievement and independence through our ongoing FS sessions.
Each session we start with a well-being check-in which gives each child the opportunity to be speak and be listened to. In doing so, we foster respect between each other, and promote turn taking. We also use this time around the log circle to talk about the session plan/options and to chat through any issues that they might be having. The children are able to give their own input and suggestions. This gives us a great opportunity to recap any reminders and also to deal with any issues that are troubling our children. For example, when we check in, if a pupil feels sad, we can discuss how we can best support that member of the class together.
Your children have had some lovely ideas on how to be inclusive and take care of each other, they have shown lots of empathy, which I’m sure will make you very proud to hear.
I always provide a hammock area for reflection, and most sessions we make a rope swing, with the children deciding which tree we will attach it to.
As well as the structured element to the session there has also been lots of child-led learning and free play. I have seen the children re-enacting historical events, jumping in muddy puddles and, of course, digging holes! Potions have been created and mud pies ‘baked’ in our mud kitchen area. I have also had lots of help to clear our raised beds and tidy and clear our greenhouse of weeds which had sprouted in abundance during the summer holidays. This will provide a foundation for lots of planting in the spring term when the weather warms up. The children have been a great help and have made this a much quicker and easier job for me. We worked as a team, so thank you very much to everyone who helped me.
We aim to grow our own tomatoes, onions, cabbages and potatoes as well as tending to our strawberry patch that has gone to sleep until the spring.
It has been wonderful to chat to your children about what they would like to grow, and also to find out how much knowledge they already have! I’ve been amazed by their plant knowledge!
The general sense is that they all absolutely love being outside! As always, please ensure that the children have warm, waterproof protective clothing. This enables them to play more freely and comfortably. Wellies are recommended, with a change of shoes for indoor use.
Well done everyone!
Miss Meakin x