Forest School

Hello! And welcome to our brand new Forest School section! My name is Mrs Stiles, from Primary Forest School and Outdoor Education. I have the pleasure of leading sessions at St Catherine's, every Friday afternoon!
So far, Sycamore class and Birch classes have had a half term of sessions each and I'm currently working with Maple Class.
We have a fabulous site for our sessions and I've been guided by the children's interests as to how I develop the site to suit them. 
There is still plenty of scope for the development of our site and we're always looking for donations to help us with this project. Currently, we'd love to receive the following: used tyres, pallets, wooden planks, large logs (for sitting on!) cable reels, paving slabs, house bricks. If you do have any of the above, then please feel free to contact the school office!
If you have any wellies or waterproofs that are no longer needed at home; we'd like to have a selection at school as spare for Forest School and will gladly take these of your hands!
The weather has certainly kept us busy on site this last half term! It's been a lot more muddy underfoot where the rain water has collected. Our mud kitchen and digging area has provided us with a really useful building material and we've discovered just how versatile it is! Recently, we've explored how many differnet ways we can use the ice too- smashing it is a firm favourite but we've also balanced and stacked it, as well as using it to make patterns or noticing natural shapes that have been formed.
Sadly, we've had to take down the popular climbing part of the willow tree. It just wasn't safe to take any weight and had split from the trunk at the ground. Maple class have done a fantastic job in developing their hand tool use to help with the clearing of the wood though! They've used a bow saw, pruning saw and hatchet to clear this safely. They've stripped the branches down so that we have building materials for the shelter area plus additional willow strips for other projects. So far, they've built two willow structures that we hope will leaf and develop into growing sculptures! We have a crawling tunnel and a sitting circle/nest! With the larger part of the trunk that we sawed, we will be using the saw horse after half term and making 'wood biscuits' for other crafting projects so none of the tree has gone to waste- we always recycle as much as we can on site!
As lockdown continues, it's very obvious just how important our outside time it to us. We wrap up warm and we go out in all weathers! Our time with nature is so important. As the year goes by, we see the little signs that a new season is on it's way. We're keeping an eye on the badger sett next to the site and the interesting trail that runs through the pond area- something is making regular trips to the pond! We're visited by buzzards, squirrels and plenty of wild birds! There are so many points of interest on our site and so much to pique our interest and enthusiasm! I was told of an interesting phrase that the Pope Francis had used in one of his recent adresses- 'LAUDATO SI'.....looking after the world. In our little patch of this wonderful world, we can safely say that we're doing that and hope to for a very long time!