The idea of Forest Schools came from Scandinavia, where outdoor living is part of everyday life (open-air culture, friluftsliv, or free air life). The Scandinavian people believe that nature and movement are key factors in development, and the children there spend at least one day a week outside, in all weathers. They are engaged in learning activities, harnessing the skills that involve respecting the environment whilst looking after themselves and others around them.
It is this belief that underpins the Forest School ethos and curriculum.
At Broomhaugh CofE First School, we are very fortunate to have large, safe grounds with beautiful trees and this will be used as our base for learning. An important part of Forest School is that children experience the outdoor environment in all weathers – with the exception of very high winds or thunder storms. Activities are very much child initiated & led and, using the main curriculum, activities will be tailored to the age and ability of each group. With traditional boundaries removed, the children are encouraged to set their own boundaries and be responsible for each other and their surroundings. The process helps learners to develop socially, emotionally, spiritually, physically and intellectually. They are encouraged to take risks and try things for themselves, developing resilience as they go.
Aims of Forest School at Broomhaugh CofE First School:
1. To provide experiences that encourage an appreciation, awareness and knowledge of the natural world and to develop a sense of awe and wonder.
2. To develop resilience and the ability to assess risk.
3. To increase self-esteem and self-confidence.
4. To learn how to solve problems and take on challenges.
5. To be able to work with and help others, as well as working independently.
6. To develop practical skills.
7. To be able to light and use fire meaningfully and safely.
8. To be able to use a variety of tools meaningfully and safely.
This week in Forest School, Reception Class started off with a game of Creeping Coyote.
We had to creep ever so quietly to take the stick without the person on the log hearing us!
We learned how to safely use a saw to cut wood cookies from a fallen branch.
We had a go with the bow saw...
We all found using the bow saw easier. We enjoyed the teamwork too!
We drew lovely pictures on our wood cookies.
We found a teeny tiny caterpillar.
This week we read the story of Hairy Maclary and then made our own log dogs. We used a lark's head knot to attach string to a log or stick.
Some of us had a very big dog...
...and some of us had a tiny dog!
We gave our dogs names and took them for a walk around the school field.
After that we tied our dogs up at the fence and played Foxy, Foxy Can We Cross Your Field.
We enjoyed playing in the woods, and some of us even tried to chop a tree down!
Reception Class learned how to create Hapa Zome art this week.
Hapa Zome is a Japanese technique meaning 'leaf dye'.
We put flowers and leaves between two layers of fabric, then hit them with a hammer to release the natural dyes in them.
We made some beautiful pieces!
We also went hunting for interesting things to look at with our magnifying glasses.
Another super fun Forest School session!
We enjoyed lighting the fire in Forest School this week.
We used the cooking sticks that we made last week to cook toffee apple slices.
We played a game called Hungry Birds. We had to hunt for different coloured 'worms' (bits of yarn).
Then we had to tie the 'worms' onto the stick.
We found the brightest coloured 'worms' easiest to find. Darker coloured bits of yarn (or worms) were better camouflaged and harder to find.
We pass the Talking Tree around the circle at the end of our session to share what we have enjoyed most.
This week in Forest School we had fun making Jubilee crowns.
We set out freshly cut willow, and red, white and blue fabric and yarn.
As you can see, Reception made the most amazing crowns.
We also peeled and sharpened a length of willow to make a cooking stick ready for next week's activity.
As always, we also had super fun climbing trees!
Class 1 were very pleased to sneak in an extra Forest School session this week!
We had a super time making woodland jewellery out of beads made from elder sticks.
We hollowed out sections of elder sticks and threaded string through the beads.
Another lovely afternoon in the woods!
This week in Forest School, Reception Class enjoyed learning how to light a fire.
We collected lots of different sized sticks to help start the fire off.
We toasted marshmallows over the fire and enjoyed eating s'mores.
We were very excited to find bits of a bird's egg on the forest floor and observed how fragile it was.
This week was the wettest Forest School session ever! Reception class had their waterproofs on though, so we still had lots of fun.
We started off playing a wildlife matching game. We had to hunt for the picture that matched one we had been given.
We huddled under the tarpaulin to share the story of Meg and Mog.
Then we had great fun making our own potions.
We put in lots of ingredients and enjoyed mixing it all up.
We loved splashing in the muddy puddles!
A few of us had excellent fun hiding under the tarpaulin and leaping out on others!
Hammocks are still fun in the rain!
We had a hedgehog theme in Forest School this week to celebrate Hedgehog Week. We learned lots of interesting facts about hedgehogs.
Did you know hedgehogs have between 5000 and 7000 spines?
Some of us made hedgehogs out of clay and sticks.
We also had some pine cone and clay hedgehogs.
We also had fun with the clay making some tree spirits.
This term it is Reception Class's turn for weekly Forest School sessions.
We enjoyed exploring in the woods.
Some of us used a bucket to collect interesting things that we found in the woods.
We made bird feeders by threading hooped cereal onto pipe cleaners.
We hung the bird feeders in different places around the woods.
We found part of a dead bird and put it in a bug viewer so we could look closer.
We discovered that it was a beak and skull and we were very interested in looking at it through the magnifying glass.
It's good to relax in nature too!
This week was the final Forest School session for Class 2.
The woodland xylophone got lots of use today.
Some of us chose to make some more elder beads.
We cooked a campfire version of apple crumble in our dutch oven.
We cooked apples, butter, sugar, cornflour and cinnamon, and served it on digestive biscuits to provide the 'crumble'.
Most of us loved it so much we had seconds!
Counting to 20 for our game of Spot.
We enjoyed another game of Foxy, Foxy, Can We Cross Your Field.
Class 2 have thoroughly enjoyed their term of weekly Forest School sessions.
Class 2 started their Forest School session with a game of Foxy, Foxy, Can We Cross Your Field.
Then we headed into the woods to chat about what we were going to do this afternoon.
We had some sticks of elder wood that we could make beads with.
First we used secateurs to cut small pieces of elder stick.
Then we used palm drills and crochet hooks to push out the soft inside of the elder, to create hollow beads.
Then we threaded string through the beads.
We created some fantastic woodland jewellery with our elder beads!
We also got the hammers, nails and wood out and experimented with them.
Some of us had fun crawling under the ghillie net!
Whilst others enjoyed relaxing in the hammock.
Some of us made Harry Potter inspired wands and broomsticks.
We had a fantastic fun-filled, productive afternoon in the woods!
Class 2 enjoyed a game of Photographic Memory.
They only had 30 seconds to study the natural objects before they were covered up.
Then they had to see if they could remember all the objects and find and collect them in their buckets.
Most people remembered and found at least 8 of the objects.
Later on we were all given a piece of paracord...
...and learned how to tie a reef knot.
Class 2 learned how to safely use a saw this week.
We cut a slice of wood off a fallen branch, creating a 'wood cookie'.
Next we used a palm drill to make a hole in the wood cookie.
Then we decorated our wood cookies using pens.
We threaded string through the hole to make a necklace or door hanging.
We were so pleased with our creations!
We also enjoyed a game of Magic Stick - we needed to work well as a team.
Some of us made a Forest Friend too.
As always, we loved climbing and playing in our woods.
Some of us decided to wrap up the items we had made to give as gifts on Mother's Day.
Making a chocolate chip wood cookie!
Class 2 began their Forest School session this week with a great game of Creeping Coyote.
Then we lit the campfire.
Thursday 10th March is Popcorn Day so of course we had to celebrate by cooking popcorn over the fire.
It was tremendous fun watching the popcorn POPPING. Lots of us had never seen it happen before and it caused much excitement!
We made some sweet popcorn and some salted popcorn. They were both delicious!
Some of us found some interesting pieces of ice from rainwater that had frozen in the tyres.
We thought this one looked like a dragon's tooth.
Ice horns and an ice smile!
We enjoyed playing with the new woodland xylophone.
Another fantastic afternoon of Forest School with our friends!
Class 2 enjoyed cooking pancakes over the campfire as it is Shrove Tuesday this week.
Getting creative with sticks and yarn.
Class 2 love building and playing with the tyres so we arranged to have some more brought in to enable the group to expand on their play.
This week Class 2 enjoyed being creative with clay.
We made some clay hearts for Valentine's Day and some clay animals.
We even had some clay tree spirits!
Love is...being in the woods!
Class 1 enjoyed a session thinking about hedgehogs to celebrate the recent Hedgehog Day.
We started our session with a story about a Hedgehog's Winter Worries.
We used clay to make hedgehogs and other woodland creatures.
One group of friends made a beautiful home for hedgehogs...
...a close up of Hedgehog Palace, complete with clay hedgehogs in situ!
Some of us made some more string art with wood, hammer and nails.
We love making things in Forest School!
We also love getting muddy!
Class 2 learned how to use a fire steel to light a fire.
We had to create a spark to light a cotton wool ball in a clam shell.
It was quite tricky, but very satisfying and exciting when we succeeded!
We also had enormous fun playing Funky Monkey!
Funky Monkey gets our brains working and makes us laugh a lot!
What a fantastic bow and arrow!
The strong winds meant Class 1 couldn't go in the woods today for their session. After some games on the field, we went into the Secret Garden.
Our mission today was to make cheerio and apple bird feeders for the birds as it is the RSPB Big Bird Watch week.
We threaded cheerios onto pipe cleaners.
Some of us joined our cheerio hoops to make a long bird feeder chain.
We enjoyed exploring the Secret Garden.
We also made some apple bird feeders. We made a hole through the apple and threaded string through.
Then we pushed a stick through to make a built-in perch for the birds.
We had a great Forest School session in the Secret Garden!
Class 2 started their session this week with a wildlife matching game.
Hunting for their matching pair.
As it is the RSPB Big Bird Watch this week, we made pine cone bird feeders.
Bird feeders hanging ready for the birds!
A robin was feeding here at the end of our session.
The challenge: can you learn one bird fact today?
Some of the girls kindly made a nest for the birds - it was full of leaves and twigs and even had some bird seed inside!
We love being creative in Forest School.
Class 1 enjoyed learning to use the hammers and nails safely this week.
We use a wooden peg to hold the nail in place when we start hammering it into the wood.
Some of us chose to draw pictures on pieces of wood.
Others chose to wind yarn around the nails to create their own piece of string art.
We love playing and exploring in the woods.
Class 2 cooked toffee apple slices this week.
Everyone tried them and loved them!
We enjoyed climbing trees...
...playing in the tyres...
...and making beautiful things.
Class 2 enjoyed building and lighting the fire and cooking s'mores this week.
The only thing better than cooking s'mores is eating them!
In honour of Winnie the Pooh Day we built a house for Eeyore.
Forest School makes us super strong!
January 18th is Winnie the Pooh Day to celebrate author A.A. Milne's birthday. Pooh himself joined us for a morning in the woods.
We went hunting for acorns.
Acorns (or 'haycorns' as he calls them) are Piglet's favourite food!
We played a game of walking Pooh Sticks.
We cooked pancakes over the campfire.
Then we warmed up with hot chocolate and pancakes with honey.
Winnie the Pooh is well known for his love of honey and we rather like it too!
Later on we had a go at building a house for Eeyore.
We love Winnie the Pooh Day!
This term Class 2 are enjoying Forest School sessions. We started off with the challenge of a human knot!
We each whittled a cooking stick in preparation for next week.
We enjoyed climbing trees...
...relaxing in the hammock...
...and playing in the tyres.
A lovely example of weaving with willow.
We had a great session in the woods.
This week we gave the birds a Christmas treat and left bird seed all around the forest area.
We enjoyed the hammock again.
This week in Forest School we were very excited to use our Dutch Oven for the first time!
We cooked apples in butter, sugar, cornflour and cinnamon.
Then we spooned some apple mixture onto digestive biscuits and we had Woodland Apple Pies!
We also made Christmas decorations out of log discs.
It was hard work using our palm drills to make a hole in the wood. We had to use our muscles!
It was a cold day in the woods but we still had a fantastic afternoon.
This week we discovered that Storm Arwen had blown down some trees and branches in the wood over the fence.
Luckily our Forest School area didn't suffer too much damage.
We had a go at making simple wreaths out of willow.
Some of us made some homes for wildlife...
...and some of us made pictures on wood.
We had another great afternoon in the woods!
This week we listened to the story Cave Baby.
We looked at the charcoal we made on the fire last week.
Then we got creative just like Cave Baby.
We drew charcoal pictures...
...and made leaf rubbings...
We turned the woods into an Art Gallery with our beautiful creations!
We love looking for exciting things in Forest School!
We've had another fantastic Forest School session.
We took our peeled willow sticks from last week and put them in a tin on the campfire.
We were making charcoal to draw with next week.
...and had to untangle ourselves. It was very funny!
We cooked popcorn over the fire and loved watching the corn kernels popping.
Some of us discovered that if we coloured the cream yarn with felt pens we could make 'rainbow string'!
We took the charcoal tin out of the fire and covered the lid holes with clay while it cooled down. We can't wait to look in the tin next week!
In Forest School this week we read the story Where The Poppies Now Grow.
Then we had a go at making a giant poppy out of red leaves and other natural materials.
Then we had a moment of silence and remembrance.
We enjoyed a game of Foxy, Foxy Can We Cross Your Field.
Some of us made willow bracelets.
Doesn't this Forest Friend look cosy in her leaf nest?!
This week in Forest School we read the Leaf Man story book.
The children were challenged with making a nest that their year group could all sit in.
Well done Year 2, challenge completed!
Well done Year 1, you did it too!
We had great fun playing Foxy, Foxy, Can I Cross Your Field.
Continuing our leaf theme, we made some leaf creations. Some of us sharpened some sticks and threaded leaves on.
Some of us made leaf necklaces with string.
We always love climbing trees in Forest School.
Hammocks can be a tricky business!
We identified some leaves that we found.
Some of us were inspired to make more leaf nests.
Forest School makes us so happy!
In Forest School this week we cooked 'toffee apples' over the fire.
A basket of conkers proved very appealing!
We had a super messy time making potions this week!
Tyre jumping is great fun!
We love climbing the trees...
It's always good to have 5 minutes peace in the hammock.
At the end of the afternoon we played a plant matching game, and learned the names of lots of plants.
Class 1 were very excited to be having a fire in our second session!
We learned how to collect the right sized sticks to build the fire.
We practised the correct kneeling position for when we are cooking over the fire.
We crossed our fingers and hoped the fire would light!
We used long toasting sticks to cook marshmallows over the fire.
Then we enjoyed eating s'mores!
We learned how to safely use potato peelers to whittle sticks.
Then we used our sticks to make Forest Friends.
We drew on faces and added fabric clothes and leaf hair to our sticks.
We love our Forest Friends!
In Forest School sometimes we just like to relax and enjoy being in nature.
We must always put out the fire thoroughly at the end of our sessions.
We loved our Forest School session!
In the Autumn term, Class 1 are enjoying Forest School sessions one afternoon a week.
We enjoyed playing a wildlife matching game to start with.
Then we could make bird feeders if we chose to.
It was quite a challenge to tie the string around the pine cone.
We loved getting messy with lard and bird seed!
We hung the feeders in the trees.
We enjoyed resting in the hammock.
We love exploring in the woods and seeing what we can find.
We had a great game of Scatter.
At the end of the session we passed the Talking Tree round and shared what we had enjoyed most that afternoon.
Recent feedback about our Forest School provision:
"It was a total delight to see how confident both Helen and Sarah have become in their delivery of Forest School. The children were a credit to you, polite and so very knowledgeable on a wide range of topics.
With the very happiest of wishes and once again thank you for allowing to have a glimpse of your wonderful school."