Enabling Environments: Forest school diary - puddles and snails


On this week's visit to the woodland, nettles and orchids, a snail shell and a puddle all caught the children's attention, says Caroline Watts, forest school leader, Reflections Nursery & Forest School, Worthing, West Sussex

Kate: 'Look, look, the stinging nettles have grown again!'

Keira: 'They have got up to bar five now.' (We have been measuring them since they reached the second bar of the gate.)

Evie R: 'It's because of the rain and sun.'

Harry: 'Look I've found a shell, it's broken.'

Kate: 'Maybe a bird took it and broke it with its claws.'

Harry: 'Maybe the snail has gone out of its shell and is being like a slug.' We then talked about the difference between snails and slugs.

Once in the forest, Kate noticed the orchids had wilted.

Evie R: 'Oh, the orchids have dead.'

Kate: 'Oh sorry, orchards, for letting you dead.'

On seeing a puddle, Seb and Harry dropped various objects into it.

Harry: 'We are seeing if it floats or sinks.'

The boys found that sticks sink, but leaves and grass float.

Harry started adding more things to the puddle. 'We are making compost!' he said.

When I asked what should go in compost, Evie R said, 'We need straw.' And everybody joined in mixing the compost.

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS

When we arrived in the forest, Evie suggested we should have a party, so everybody started dancing. Harry and Seb weren't convinced, however, and tried to make everybody run away by shouting, 'Monsters!'

But we carried on towards our camp, doing a dance on the way.

At camp, I cut down some green hazel wood so everybody could try making a badge using the saw. Seb tried sawing first, and everybody helped by sitting on the other end of the wood to hold it down.

Seb, as we put on gloves, said, 'We need gloves to keep your fingers safe.'

Keira sniffed her piece of wood and said:'It smells like watermelon.'

Evie R: 'Or cucumber.'

We looked at the sawdust coming off the wood. I reminded everybody that the saw was sharp and shouldn't be used without the help of an adult. After lunch we drew pictures and names on our badges.

Harry was particularly pleased with his!

Seb: 'I drew kisses on mine!'

Keira: 'There wasn't room so I just did a K.'

Reflections has operated a Forest School programme for children over three years old since summer 2009. Three groups of up to 12 children go to the woodland by minibus every week (in all weathers) for at least 30 weeks a year. Families are sent a four-page diary of each visit. www.reflectionsnurseries.co.uk

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