The children in Reception pulled on their wellies, overalls and reflective vests for the first time this Wednesday, when they travelled by bus to the common for their first ever Forest School session with Miss Polly. They were very excited to visit their new Forest School site and begin their Forest School learning:
When the children saw some dogs at the very beginning of their session, they were introduced to ‘the most important rule’. If you see a dog, don’t touch it and don’t look at it. Instead, the children learned that if they stood very still, with their arms by their sides and looked up and away from the dogs, the dogs would think they were trees and would not come over to them. The children became very good at practising this new skill.
The Waiting Tree
Because so much of the forest looks very similar, it could be very easy to get lost, so Miss Polly pointed out a tree, which would become Reception’s first ‘waiting tree’, where in their next session, the group leaders will wait for the rest of the class top catch up. So that they would be able to identify their waiting tree next time, the children considered how they might describe the tree:
“it has two noses and two eyes”
“there’s a spider hanging from a web”
“it has a windmill behind it”
Forest School Magical Door
Making their way into the forest, the children came across two trees which made an arch which the children could walk through. This was magical door through which they would enter into Forest School. Once they passed through this door, the children would need to keep their ears open for listening and their eyes open for seeing so that would be able to notice all of the exciting and interesting things around them.
In Forest School, it is very important to always stay within the boundaries which have been set. To demonstrate what it means to be ‘inside the boundary’ or ‘outside the boundary’ the children created joined their hands to make a circle, creating a boundary within their circle and Miss Polly moved in and out of the circle, checking with the children whether she was inside or outside the boundary each time. The Reception children learned very quickly.
Next, they used their imaginations to draw a circle around the trees which would be their Forest School boundaries. Miss Polly ran around and touched each boundary tree in their imaginary boundary circle. With a clear understanding that they would need to stay within this boundary, each child tied a pink ribbon to one of the boundary trees so that everyone could clearly see the area in which their activities could take place.
Forest School Fun
It was a very busy first session at Forest School for Reception! They learned the game ‘1,2,3… Where are you?’ where they hid behind trees and jumped out to shout “1, 2, 3… Here I am!” in response to the ‘looker’s’ call. Once they were seen by the looker, they would join them to become another pair of eyes until everyone had been found.
Next, they looked for treasures with their partners, which they stored in their treasure bags to take safely back to school. They found some wonderful treasures, from acorns, rocks and twigs to big leaves, small leaves and bright yellow leaves.
Finally, the decided to build a ‘fire’ from sticks which they collected from within the boundaries of their new site. Putting all of their sticks together in a pile, they sat around the ‘fire’ in a big circle and enjoyed the delicious hot chocolate which Mr. Abdel had made especially for them. Thank you, Mr Abdel!
After an exciting morning of forest activities, it was time to pack up and the children learned how important it is to take responsibility for leaving their site as it was when they arrived, by taking away all of the string and cups and plastic bags with them so that the animals would be safe and so that other people could enjoy visiting the site.
See photos from Reception's first day at Forest School.