Forest School Leaders: Mrs Mitchelmore and Miss Needham, assisted by Mrs Colomb and Miss Smith
Weekly Forest School sessions will last approx. 1- 1 1/2 hours, depending on the group. We aim to give children as much time as possible in each session. During these times there will be time to play some games, use tools, make dens, leave trails, go on scavenger hunts, make environmental art, cook on fires, develop existing skills and learn new ones…
The guiding principles of Forest School have been developed over time, based on a foundation of outdoor learning going back to the 19th century. Philosophers, naturalists and educators from Europe and the UK, from this period onwards, contributed to what is today recognised as Forest School.
The Forest School Association website provides detailed information about the history of Forest School see: http://www.forestschoolassociation.org/what-is-forest-school/
It defines Forest School as: ‘an inspirational process, that offers ALL learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees.’
Forest School sessions form an integral part of the broad, balanced curriculum we offer here at Totternhoe CE Academy, and take place as part of our timetabled learning, outdoors.
Forest School offers opportunities to experience the natural environment, in nearly all weathers, and all year round, where children learn through practical activities in the outdoor environment.
In Forest School, children will develop skills of independence , perseverance and resilience. They will develop social and communication skills in teamwork and cooperative tasks, have freedom to explore, make choices, take calculated risks, develop skills in using tools and explore being creative in our Wonderwood area.
Forest School activities will enable the children to enhance and deepen their understanding across the curriculum, particularly in science, art, DT, maths, geography and literacy.
Mental well-being has been found to improve when more time is spent in the freedom and space of the outdoors.
Our Forest School timetable has been planned to accommodate timetabling of other curriculum areas through the year, and to give groups opportunities to experience the outdoors and the Wonderwood environment in different seasons.
All year groups will have some sessions throughout the year.
Proposed timetable: (subject to change)
EYFS & Key Stage 1 Timetable: COMING SOON
Key Stage 2 Timetable:
Autumn 1: Year 5
Autumn 2: Year 6
Spring 1: Year 4
Spring 2: Year 3 Group A
Summer 1: Year 3 Group B
Summer 2: Catch up sessions/ additional sessions
Miss Needham leads sessions for EYFS & KS1 and Mrs Mitchelmore leads sessions for KS2.
Year 6 braved the elements today! We managed to erect the gazebo in the den area, hoping to provide a bit of shelter for ourselves, from the wind and rain. We still got pretty soggy! Our intrepid team harvested a good crop of apples and some damsons, and enjoyed our hot chocolate (very chocolatey this week!!) in the pavilion.
Our eagle-eyed Leah spotted a common newt amongst the grass on our wandering to the damson tree. Great observational skills!! Mrs C picked it up and we could see all the markings and colourings at close quarters- spotted and with a yellow/orange underbelly. It felt a bit tickly, apparently!
Newts are amphibians, and can live on land and in water, and are cold-blooded, which means that their body temperature is determined by their environment, and not regulated internally. We thought about their diet, and decided they were probably carnivores. We were right!
Newts are carnivores. They eat slugs, worms, small invertebrates, amphibian eggs and insects on land. Tadpoles, shrimp, aquatic insects, insect larvae and molluscs are on the menu in the water.
We have been playing games to explore the Wonderwood and learn where the boundaries are and how we can keep safe . The children have found and investigated lots of natural materials.