What is our vision for Forest School at St Mary of the Angels?
- To nurture our children’s love of, and appreciation for, God’s creation
- To develop children’s understanding of stewardship
- To provide opportunities for children to develop and have fun in a safe and stimulating environment
- To facilitate children’s understanding of risk taking, choice making and ownership of their own learning
Learning Outside the Classroom
Learning outside the classroom is an integral part of life at St Mary's. We place high value on enabling children to get outside and experience their learning in a natural environment. Last year, Forest School was very popular with the children and this year we aim to build on the children's skills and develop their confidence in recognising the abilities they have.
Forest School is an inspirational learning journey, which offers ALL learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in our woodland and natural outdoor environment. In addition, we plan to expand our Forest School provision beyond our school site to local beauty spots - such as Rivacre Valley - and places of historical importance. In doing so, we instantly add flesh to the bones of the creative curriculum which underpins everything we strive for here at St Mary's.
What to wear during winter sessions:
- Base layer – long sleeve t shirt (or old pyjama top). You may want to double up in winter months.
- Mid layer – an old, warm jumper that you don’t mind getting wet or muddy
- Outer layer – a waterproof coat with a hood.
- Legs - tights, long johns, leggings, old pyjama bottoms and tracksuit trousers over the top. Waterproof trousers if possible
- Footwear – old trainers, walking boots or wellies are perfect
- Extras - a warm, woolly hat, gloves, and scarf.
What to wear during summer sessions:
- Base layer – preferably a long-sleeved t-shirt although a short-sleeved t-shirt may suffice if the weather is hot
- Outer layer – a thin, waterproof jacket or coat
- Legs – long tracksuit bottoms are essential. These help to avoid bites and stings during the summer months.
- Footwear – old trainers, walking boots or wellies are perfect
- Extras - a freshly filled water bottle, sun cream applied before school.
Thursday 14th September 2023 - Year 5 Forest School
Year 5 had a brilliant first session this week with Jon. After working on our communication skills with a few games, we set about building our own tarpaulin dens which meant us revisiting the knot skills we learnt last year. After we had furnished our dens, we safely worked in teams to split wood splints using a knife and hammer to create kindling for our Kelly Kettles. Because Jon had been 'forgetful' this week, he tasked us with making our own hot chocolate and we all agreed that it was the best we had ever tasted!! Ending the session with a campfire and toasted marshmallows, we talked about all of the communication skills we had used in today's session.
Thursday 21st September 2023 - Year 6 Forest School
After a great Conway trip last week, we were so excited to see Jon and continue working on our teamwork skills. Working in teams, we were given two tasks to do: build a shelter to keep us dry whilst we made God's Eyes and splitting wood to create kindling for a fire. As the hot water furnance in school was sadly 'broken', Jon had tasked us with using our kindling to heat a kettle. We watched our fires safely and carefully to stop them from extinguishing. Once our teamwork skills had been put fully to the test, we enjoyed a campfire with marshmallows with a final skipping game. Thank you, Jon, for an excellent session!
Thursday 28th September 2023 - Year 4 Forest School
Year 4 had a super time with Jon this week working on a variety of team-building games. We started the day with three different activities designed to improve our ability to work together to achieve a goal. Some of these required us learning to use trial and error to work out how we could do it better. We especially enjoyed the activity where we used pipes to try and transfer a ball across the furthest distance possible. By the end of this, we had learnt the importance of communication, resilience and collaboration. We ended the session by learning how to tie some tricky knots in partners. Finally, we enjoyed some nice hot chocolate and marshmallows. Thank you Jon!
Thursday 5th October 2023 - Year 3 Forest School
Our Year 3 Forest School was off-site this week as we had an exciting workshop planned in the afternoon visiting the round house near Beeston Castle. For our Forest School session we spent the morning on the Sandstone Trail with Nicole creating different Stone Age settlements. We used pines to give a circular illusion of a round house, and discussed how this was created in the Stone Age using wattle and daub. We had a great morning creating our round houses and even managed to squeeze in a hot chocolate and biscuit before we headed off for our afternoon activities.
Thursday 12th October 2023 - Year 2 Forest School
Year 2 had a fantastic session with Jon this week. We started with some fun parachute games and then developed our map reading skills. The children worked in pairs and had to find out their location on an aerial map. They were great at this so then they were sent to different places to collect 10 different letters. They thoroughly enjoyed this activity and were ready for a biscuit and some hot chocolate. Finally they created their own maps using natural materials and they were beautiful. We had just enough time for a campfire, marshmallows and a quick team running game. Thank you, Jon.
Thursday 19th October 2023 - Year 1 Forest School
What a fabulous Forest School session for Year 1! The sun was shining and we were all toasty warm, somewhat surprising for the middle of October! Better than the weather, was all the activities Jon prepared for us! First we played listening games with the parachute followed by running under the parachute and making sure we didn't bump into each other. It is harder than it sounds when you are five or six years old. Then we worked in small groups to either make a magical autumn wand, practise fire lighting or play with the open-ended resources. Next we played more listening games as a whole class before enjoying a toasted marshmallow. All the children remembered how to toast their marshmallow safely - well done!
Thursday 2nd November 2023 - EYFS Forest School
EYFS really enjoyed their first forest school session with Jon and were very excited when they arrived at school! We loved splashing in the puddles and exploring the forest school area, we even found a worm! It was very wiggly! It was quite wet today so we spent some of the session outside where we took part in lots of fun activities such as making animal dens and investigating rain water using pipes before we went inside to warm up and enjoy a lovely drink of hot chocolate. We then played lots of listening games whilst we moved around the hall and had lots of fun playing with the parachute. The children loved forest school and are already looking forward to their next session!
Thursday 9th November 2023 - Year 6 Forest School
As part of our World War Two topic work, Year 6 took part in an amazing forest school session with Jon. Our focus was to help casualties injured either in battle or during The Blitz by placing their arm in a sling and making a makeshift stretcher out of the resources available to us. we then carefully transported our casualties to safety through an assault course, representing the tough environments people faced during WWII. Once our casualties were safe, we used our resources again to create a shelter to keep them dry whilst waiting for the emergency services to help us. Thank you, Jon, for such an engaging session to help us imagine what life during WWII might have been like.
Thursday 16th November 2023 - Year 5 Forest School
This week our Forest School session directly built on the work we have been doing in topic. As we have been studying about the invasion of the Vikings, we have learned of the Longships that they would craft and travel in. As part of our DT project, we decided to design our own Viking inspired vessels and built them during our Forest School lesson out of wood and material. In doing so, we progressed our drilling and sawing techniques and also had to work hard on our communication skills; the session was tricky and we quickly realised that the Vikings must have been skilled craftsmen.