Autumn Term 2019

Forest Based Learning Awards
This year, we are introducing our Forest Based Learning Awards.  We have 7 overarching areas for developing personal qualities and life skills that all of our children will work towards.  These are:
  • Love, Learn, Live
  • Keeping Safe
  • Communicate, Present & Record
  • Achieve
  • Create & Innovate
  • Reflect & Evaluate
  • Collaborate, Inspire & Lead
In each of these areas, the children will work towards their Pebble, Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards.
  • Explorers are working towards their Pebble Award.
  • Adventurers are working towards their Bronze Award.
  • Voyagers are working towards their Silver Award.
  • Pioneers are working towards their Gold Award.
At the start of each half term, our FBL pages will show which areas we are focusing on and show how we are working towards them.


Pebble Award

The start of our forest based learning journey begins with our young Explorers, their natural curiosity and ability to learn and discover through play, leads naturally into our Forest School ethos and school ethos, Love, Learn, Live

We offer regular opportunities for the children to enjoy being outside in different weathers, where they begin to understand the basic needs of survival. We provide waterproofs and encourage independent dressing and thinking about how to keep warm and dry.

We demonstrate safe practices as we learn, whilst giving the children the skills to recognise natural dangers and understand and overcome their fears.

Outdoor Play supports social, physical and mental development as well as the ability to identify, name and categorise flora and fauna. 
Experiential learning through adult led challenges and free exploration develops creativity and scientific discovery, whilst building up a bank of skills that will support the children through primary and secondary education and develop life skills.

Since September Our Explorers have formed friendships, engaged in purposeful play and shown great enjoyment in our outdoor play area and our wild woodland.

We are very lucky to have such a variety of natural zones in our school grounds that offer a wealth of learning opportunities.

Keep checking in to our Forest School page to see the fun we are having.

Gathering resources and caring for wildlife.

Since half term our Reception children have had a dedicated session on a Thursday afternoon. We have used this time to explore the resources nature offers us by carefully selecting natural resources and using them to support our topic stories such as Room on the broom. We gathered fallen leaves and used attaching skills to tape them to sticks making ride-able brooms.
The children practiced transferring skills using bottles, jugs, funnels and pipettes to create bubble spell potions, using natural resources for ingredients, which they recalled in their write ups in the classroom.

We looked at our garden birds that need food and energy in Winter and used collage to make blue tits and robins to take home and fat balls to hang in our apple and cherry trees in school. All the fat balls have vanished so it looks like our feathered friends enjoyed their tasty treats and will be ready for our cold weather.

We began to explore using dogwood whips, which we use as the base for willow weaving later in school. The children warmed and bent the whips in their hands, making them into wreath shapes and over a couple of sessions have shown a keenness to master this technique. We used this skill to create Christmas decorations. The children are growing in confidence and will continue to Achieve as we develop these skills and new opportunities in the new year.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Bronze Award
This half term, we have been working on Keep Safe.  By making maps of the school grounds, we got used to our surroundings and spotted any dangers that had arisen over summer holiday.  Knowing where our boundaries were and remembering our safety procedures, we were able to explore the grounds playing lots of fun games including Sardines and the Paint Run. 
We have also been building fires.  Using our knowledge of the fire triangle, we prepared our work stations and used flint and steel to start fires safely.
To help us Achieve so well, we ensured that we were prepared for each session by planning for the equipment we would need.  We also had to listen to and follow safety instructions and, as a result, we have lit fires and explored freely without disaster!
As a little treat for their amazing work in Keeping Safe, the children put their fire safety skills into action as we toasted marshmallows on the fire.  Delicious!

Silver Award 

This term, our Voyagers have begun their journey towards their Silver Award. Our focus has been Keep Safe.

We began our year looking at how to keep ourselves and our friends safe. We have looked for real or potential dangers present in our wild woodland, whilst developing ways to record and share data. Working in small teams we have considered how to work safely when designing bridges and erecting tarpaulin shelters. We have modelled agreed safe practices such as manual handling using our two-man lift when equipment is taller or wider than you and our respect position when needing to keep balanced in the pond area and around the fire pit.

Gold Award

This term, our Pioneers have begun their journey towards their Gold Award. Their focus has also been Keep Safe.

Our Pioneers have been working closely with our Voyagers, sharing their knowledge and supporting each other when recording information and demonstrating early leadership skills when bringing teams together and looking out for our year 3’s who joined us in September.

Using our knowledge:

We have been using our specialist vocabulary ‘all about health and safety’.

We ended our first half term, by creating “how to keep safe” posters using our knowledge and design ideas to inform others.

We then held a community experience around the fire pit, sharing hot chocolate, marshmallows and a good old-fashioned sing-a-long.


Looking forward:

After the half term holidays, our Pioneers and Voyagers will continue to use their knowledge and specialist vocabulary to inform their planning and how they will work safely.

They shall be learning how to site and prepare an open fire as well as knot tying skills to use in team challenges.

Have a fabulous, safe and adventurous time on your holidays.

The FBL team.

Practice makes perfect
Throughout this term, our Pioneers and Voyagers have developed their knot tying skills, by tying dogwood whips together and threading wood cookies which they drilled using a hand drill. The children then decorated them to take home.
The children were guided in how to use the correct tools in a safe and sensible manner.
Whilst making fat balls for the Winter birds, we again focused on the skills of creating reef knots to hang the food in the trees.
Keeping safe, as we introduce new activities, we encourage the children to consider how they approach each task, are they being safe?, Is there a practice we use? such as the respect position, we use this to keep ourselves safe around the fire and now use it to keep safe when using tools. 
Gold Award
Our Pioneers showed care and consideration by risk assessing the areas they built their tarpaulin structures in, as well as working safely to prevent injury to themselves and others in their team. The focus of this activity was to develop how to use a reef knot to secure an overhead shelter.
Silver award
Our Voyagers practiced the skill of building fires, using the correct resources in the order previously demonstrated. This would ensure their fires were stable and would burn successfully. The children then had an opportunity to use a flint and steel. By having opportunities to experience key elements over a period of time gives the children a chance to reflect on each stage and repetition improves result.