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Hedgehogs' Autumn learning in the woods

posted 4 Dec 2018, 04:07 by Francesca McLoughlin   [ updated 4 Dec 2018, 04:08 ]
This was a great first term with Hedgehogs in the forest. As this was their first term of forest school, we started off with some short welly walks to build their stamina for walking on uneven ground. Autumn is a great time of year and we made full use of the wonders that we saw in the forest. 

Our sessions over this term have included mushroom spotting, slack-lining, collecting leaves, threading leaves, leaf crowns, tree identification, making a fire safely, cooking in the Dutch oven over the fire, making damper bread over the fire, chopping vegetables to make a soup, toasting marshmallows, lighting the Kelly kettle, using a dragon sneeze, sorting twigs for the fire, drilling wooden cookies, swinging on the swing  tree climbing, splashing in puddles and sliding down the muddy bank. 

The children also have an opportunity to document their learning in wide range of mediums. After their forest sessions we return to school so that the children can eat their lunch. After lunch I’ve been given the opportunity to embed the children’s thinking and learning through a ‘shared’ piece of learning in a floor book. This is a great way to explore the children’s ideas and thinking actively in a social context from the session. The children record their thinking through graphics and annotations. We print images of the children from their morning in the woods to support their recall. Every child is given an opportunity to then explore their idea in a more individual context. Each child has their very own ‘forest school journal’, this enables the child to explore their own ideas and conceptualize their thoughts. We facilitate their use of language and support scribing and marks to support their meaning. The children have taken great pride in showing their journals to significant others. I’m proud of their documentation and hope they become a keepsake for them to reflect on in the future as they develop their skills and knowledge in all things forest school.  

The weather has been unpredictable at times and the children have seen four seasons in one day at times. But they have been incredibly resilient and displayed great perseverance when things don’t go to plan. Next term we will looking at building dens, making food for the birds to help them through winter, using a range of tools and cooking lot of different treats on the fire! Thank you, Hedgehogs, for an amazing first term in the woods.