Year 5 had a great run of sessions in November where so much was experienced in their Forest School sessions, with the many aspects of the curriculum being a backdrop.
The children used many different natural materials with different properties which suited different uses. Different live and dead woods were used in various crafts, games and constructions. There was lots of whittling of going on which is one of the children’s favourite and most absorbing activities. The children were able to recognise the differences in the ease of whittling freshly cut wood compared to the dead wood. We also had a handful of children wanting to progress onto using the folding knife to develop their whittling skills to make a wooden WW1 weapons and/or butter knives.
With the seasons changing, the children had to adapt their clothing from the summer sessions they’d had in Y4 to be appropriate for the colder weather by wearing plenty of insulating and waterproof clothing. We had some freezing days where there was plenty of ice on site for everyone to observed it melting as they handled it and the temperatures rose. From this the children looked for natural materials to make a warm winter home for a mouse then a shelter for themselves. The children experimented with different shapes and sizes of shelters and the best materials for this purpose.
The shelters then evolved into WW1 trench shelters which the children put a lot of teamwork, thought and effort into. Of course this brought alive opportunities for role playing and empathising the experiences of the soldiers caught up in the battles.
The children also worked together designing and creating games that may have been typical for children in the early 20th Century, using different woods and conkers. They really did get the most out of them, thriving on the competition!
With the winter coming and the ground becoming softer, the Forest paths needed protecting, and of course, the children were brilliant at transporting and spreading large amounts of chippings in a short space of time using the wheelbarrows.
In the final couple of sessions the children were thinking about Christmas so they were keen to make their own Christmas decorations using a wide range of tools and skills as independently as possible. They used bow and hack saws, palm and brace and bit drills, bradawls, hammer and nails, billhooks and mallets to make wooden reindeer and wooden Christmas trees.
To finish the run of sessions, after lots of creativity had been unleashed, we were able to celebrate Y5’s time at Forest School by everyone helping build a fire, preparing their own hot chocolate and heating up marshmallows! The best end to a great run of sessions. We look forward to seeing them all when they are Y6!!!