Forest School Autumn Term Website Update
Firstly, on behalf of everybody at Patcham Infant School, I’d like to say a huge thank you to all the amazing parents and carers who gave up their time on a chilly Saturday in October to repurpose the old swimming pool site into our expanded outdoor learning space. Many thanks also to the Brighton & Hove Council tree surgeons who provided a mountain of woodchip for the project. The development of the area has had a huge impact of what the school can offer and deliver to our children.
During the autumn season, we ventured into our sensory gardens, woodland and playgrounds within our school’s outdoor environment. We used our noticing skills to collect seasonal leaves and nature treasures, with the hope of creating some autumnal magic. On our return to our FS base, we made links with our learning by exploring why trees drop their leaves. We developed our perseverance skills by utilising playful games that embraced the natural environment. The children particularly enjoyed pick- up- sticks. This required the children to carefully choose a stick for their magic wand. When they held the stick, and felt the magic tingle, they knew they had found the right wand for them! By adding our nature discoveries to our magic wands and testing them out, the children were astonished and surprised that magic could occur when we all worked together.
Badger and Caterpillar class were visited by Ryan and Bruno from our friends, the Sussex Wildlife Trust (SWT). Under their expert supervision, the children planted some of the tree saplings, which had been awarded to us after a successful application with the Woodland Trust’s tree planting initiative. On this special day, we also had the opportunity to expand our tool use repertoire and teamwork skills. We also constructed bird feeders, which we hung in our little woodland, within the school grounds. We were delighted to find the feeders have been visited by the birds and look forward to keeping them well stocked with birdseed over the chilly months ahead.
We have worked collaboratively on a 3-day nature art project, inspired by the artist, Andy Goldsworthy. The week was kick-started by Yr2’s Zebra class who, after learning about the artist’s work, created spectacular nature art by collecting, ordering weaving and threading autumn leaves. The following day, Yr1’s Badger class added to the artwork. This was then completed by YrR’s Dragonfly class. The result was a beautiful outdoor collaborative art exhibition, an achievement the children were clearly proud of. The display looked particularly amazing at the times in the day where the light pierced vibrantly through the colourful autumnal leaves.
Our regular Yr 1 &2 trips to our local SWT’s Deanway Woods offered us more wonderful opportunities for child- led learning. Children put all their Building Learning Power toolkit to the test by exploring the woodland, building dens, making potions and searching for mini-beasts. They also ate around our cosy campfire, which the children had built and lit. Once the campfire was ready, we heated popping corn kernels and waited with belly rumbling anticipation for signs that they were ready eat. The children were more than keen to let me know about the glorious aroma coming for the cooking pot, when they heard the popping and felt the popcorn was ready for eating. We all agreed there is nothing quite like cooking outdoors on a chilly autumn day.
Our autumn term at Forest School has been packed with lots of fun, excitement, investigation and exploration. We look forward to seeing what the Spring Term has in store for us!
FOREST SCHOOL NEWS FLASH: Spotted at our Sussex Wildlife Trust FS site in the Deneway nature reserve woods. Take a look at the nocturnal goings on when we are away! Film recorded by a SWT camera trap in March 2017... Lots of great wildlife footage of our furry and feathered friends.