10 children from P5 at Woodpark Primary School attended 6 weeks of forest school in their local woodland.
The site chosen was in an area that most of the children were unaware of as the path to it was destroyed approx. 10 years ago. This made for a magical site – practically untouched.
Each week the sessions were tailored to suit the learning and development needs of the individual children – we climbed trees, built dens and followed the interests of each child.
1 child had an innate love for wildlife so we brought in binoculars and a bird book, bug viewers and spent a lot of time talking about and exploring animal habitats…
Another child started the 6 sessions with ‘his own area’ though as the weeks progressed, he required this less and less, until he eventually stopped needing it at all and realised that he was a valued member of our Forest School Community.
As a group, we build trust. This enabled us to use tools to sharpen and clean our marshmallow sticks and to chop fire wood – this also allowed for ALL of the children to light fire using flint and steel!
Our ‘Lightning’ moment came on our final week, when the children invited along family members to celebrate all of the achievements while at Forest School
To the children’s horror – someone else had been to their site and lit fires, damaging a large area of the woodland.
This was upsetting, we discussed it and they knew what had gone wrong.
The children told me that the people who lit it hadn’t thought of consequence to the animals, woodland or dangers to themselves. They decided that who ever lit the fire probably didn’t even have water.
They told me that animals lost their homes and most importantly…..they told me that they wanted to fix it.
And without prompt or encouragement – they did.
Their families looked on in amazement and with pride before helping restore their treasured woodland.
Since this 6 week programme, children from the school have made posters to let others know that their forest school area is used for play by local children, in hope that this discourages any further anti-social behaviour.
So far – it seems to be working and children now play in this area reguarly.