Dalkey School Project/ Forest Friday

Session 9

Our final session this school year.

At this point I would really like to thank the the teachers who tirelessly planned and prepared for each session. We met after school hours, when the children left the forest on Fridays, to discuss, evaluate and begin to prepare for the following Friday. Also I would like to thank the wonderful parent volunteers who helped out at the sessions and parents who gave lifts to children to and from the forest and thank you to  Debbie and Alice, two amazing S.N.A.s.

Senior infants.

8.30 – 11.15

Pine grove.

New findings on the way up to our base camp.

Up at the base camp we had a lot of time for free play.At this stage the children create their own learning and explorations through play.

Three children decided to make a collection of different holly leaves. It was fascinating to listen in to their discussion. They were talking about size, texture, colour and pattern. They found new little leaves with no spikes and some new leaves that had what looked like spikes but felt very soft. On the ground they found leaves with lots of different colours and patterns. IMG_6745 copy

Then they decided to finished off by making a smiley face with their collection.It is so wonderful to experience the richness of their world.IMG_6753 copy

Another group were busy making a ‘Play Park’.

“You get a pine cone because we don’t have a ball.” “You knock down the sticks with the pine cone.The sticks will be already down so we have to sort of stick them into the mud.””So you have to get quite a few pine cones.””Yea!”We have lots of other places as well but we are only working on one at a time.”


Focus plant – Ivy. At the wall near our camp there is lots of ivy. Some clings to the wall and the tree trunks, and other strands hang in long tresses from the wall and trees. The children noticed the different shapes in the ivy leaves, some had 3 lobes and some had 5 lobes. The colour was a darker green on the top.They felt the smooth shiny texture and squashed the leaves to smell them.

The children collected long strands of ivy. We discussed how the sixth class buddies helped them make circles with willow to use for their headdress. I showed how we could weave a circle in the same way with our ivy strands.Some children wove their ivy and then added more strands, criss-crossing the circle to make a nest. Others found this a bit difficult, so two children solved this by making a nest together and helping each other.I helped some children and luckily we had Ciarán a volunteer parent who is a talented nest builder, They were asked what they would like to line their nests with to make them soft inside.This set them off exploring the texture of  more plants.They lined them with soft leaves,pine needles and moss. They talked about what birds use for their nests.

Finally they were asked what they would like to put into their nests to bring home as a reminder. We looked at the space in the nests. What would fit?

At the end some children asked if they could choose a special place in the base camp to leave their nests.They liked the idea of leaving them in a hidden place.

Making – An ivy nestIMG_6759 copyThe Nests

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Some of the Artists


Ms. Dungan’s Group

Freya noticed that when the leaf was in the tree, it was a different colour than when it was in her hand. She thought it was because the light was shining through it when it was on the tree.

We played surfing on the roots of a tree that were above ground. Alan thought the roots were above ground because the tree was dead and it was leaning over and pulling the roots up.

Jack had been making a tree shake by pushing it. Alan pointed out that it was a fairy tree because he saw the shape of the leaves. Jack said sorry to the fairies. Tess heard them reply that it was okay because he hadn’t meant to hurt the tree.IMG_3622

Pascal had great fun sticking sticky backs onto Ms Dungan!  He seemed especially happy washing his hands and noticing how white they were with the suds!IMG_3610

Bradain was very happy singing in the ‘leafy world’.

We noticed that there were holes in the leaves on the beech tree so there must be caterpillars somewhere.

We also noticed a lot of spit on the stickybacks and found a little froghopper bug inside the spittle!IMG_3539

We returned to our old basecamp where there had been loads of bluebells. There were no flowers left but we found the plant and opened up one of the seeds. Max opened one up and inside there were tiny white seeds that looked a little like frogspawn.

Polly and Eve created a swing for their bags on the way up to base camp. They also slipped in the mud and rose to the challenge of climbing up a cliff.  Eve thought that Forest school was even more tiring than Sport’s day as we hiked through the forest!

Cass collected some ferns to add to a piece of land art to leave behind at our old basecamp to say thank you.

Here are some of the responses at the end-

I like all the flowers surrounding our basecamp.

I like that we get to see new creatures and that we get to dig for worms.

I like Forest school because we get to be with nature and be in the fresh air and we don’t get that inside a house.

I like that we get to use the stuff around us to make things.

I like that there’s loads and loads and loads and loads of nature.

I like Forest school because there’s lots of trees and nature.

I like that we get to relax.

I like that there’s loads of insects.

Sixth class.

11.30 – 2.00

Sixth class invited their parents to this session to share their experiences at Kiliney Hill.

They took turns to guide their parents up to the base camp, stopping and showing interesting plants.

Focus – natural colours

Colour-matching challenge

Parents and children were given cards with paint-sample colours and double-sided tape. They had to match the colours from the paint samples to things they found in the forest.

Ms. Dungan’s Group.

Forest Flags

Each pair was given symmetrically matching right-angled triangle fabric pieces. They were shown how the triangles fitted together to make an equilateral triangle that would become one flag. They were shown how to add colour using plants. The two triangles were placed, one on top of the other on a large stone with the plants in between and hammered with a rock. When the triangles were taken apart there were symmetrical matching colour prints. The parents and children set off to forage for plants to create a range of colours on their triangles.

I read the story ‘On the Hillside.’from ‘The Sun Babies’ by Edith Howes. This story tells of the importance of everything in nature for our world to be healthy.

Once they had the colour, the parent and child each took one triangle and used the ‘colour blobs’ as inspiration for creating drawings with black markers on the triangles with a woodland theme and taking inspiration from the story. It created an opportunity to improvise and add in animals, plants, and insects.

Details from the flags.

The Artists

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Some children and parents responses

I enjoyed the sit spot.

I enjoyed the flags, using all the colours and printing them on the flag.

I enjoyed the fact that they came home in great form on Friday afternoon,and tired – worn out.

It’s just been fun from start to finish.

I liked meet a tree where we were blind-folded.

Ms. Dungan’s group

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Such a lovely day with 6th class and their parents.

The parents were grateful for:

– being invited to a Forest school session

– seeing the children enjoying being outdoors and in the woods

– finally getting a chance to see ‘The Band’ perform live

– to take the time to look at things differently

– being here and creating the bunting with my daughter

– even though I walk here all the time, I’ve never noticed how many flowers and the colours of them properly before.

– to have Killiney Hill on our doorstep

– to be alive after running down the forest while playing tip the can!

– that we’re all here with these children who we’ve seen grow up over the last 8 years who are healthy and happy

– that I got one to one time to be with my child without dogs or siblings or anything else distracting me.




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Dalkey School Project N.S./ Forest Friday

Session 8

We changed our timetable this week. We decided that it would be good to give the sixth class a full session of 2 ½ hours without their buddies for their last two sessions. Senior Infants session was from 8.30 – 11.15 and sixth class 11.30 – 2.00.

Senior Infants

Senior infants invited their parents to join them today to give them the experience of their Forest Fridays. During the last session the children chose what games they would like to play with their parents. In school during the week the children were shown a slideshow of Land Art.

They gathered as usual at the pine grove. The parents joined their children on the mats and shared in making things from the boxes. The fishing theme continued from other weeks and I couldn’t help seeing the mats as rafts in an ocean with the voyagers making tools for survival.

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We played some of the games that the children chose from last week.

Base camp.

The children took turns to lead the group up to their base camps. Each child who led stopped to show the group something interesting on the way and another child took over.

At base camp the parents were delighted to see how the children showed them how they marked the boundaries, checked the camp for safety and how they used their hand washing facilities.They also hung their bunting from last week to create a party atmosphere for their families.

Elder tree.

Our focus tree this week was the Elder. At the tree we looked, smelt and touched the tree.

During break we had elder cordial and read a story about the elder tree.

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Elder Flower Cordial

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Ms. Dungan’s Group’s Lunch break.

Land Art.

The children explained about Land Art to their parents. We also looked at a book of Andy Goldsworthy’s work. They were asked to make a piece of work that celebrates the sun using natural materials from the environment.

The Art Work.

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The Artists.

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Ms. Scollard’s group.

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Ms. Dungan’s Group

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Sit spot.

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Sixth Class.

We met at the pine grove and played a few games. As with the senior infants the children took turns to lead us up to the base camp and point out interesting things that they noticed on the way. Due to the warm wet weather the children noticed a lot of fungi. Some dog poos had a white furry fungus on them. I googled it and this is what I got – When dog poop gets wet and is left out for long periods of time, it will mold. This usually happens in hot, wet climates. Wow, we are now in a hot wet climate, well this week anyway.

Elder tree.

As with senior infants the children explore the elder tree using all their senses.

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Listening and Drawing, Story – Elder Mother.

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Creative theme- Album Cover, and Band Promotion Photography.

During the week in school the children were shown a slideshow of band photographs.

They had to imagine they were in bands or solo players. They had to create an image or images to promote themselves or their bands, which have a forest theme. They were asked to think of the background, props, their costume, and their poses. We used the frames from the last session as viewfinders.Framing

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Ms. Scollard’s group. ( Ms. Scollard took Mr. Doohan’s group this week)

Ms. Dungan’s Group

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Dalkey School Project/Forest Friday

Session 7

Senior Infants

Pine Grove

Last week a lovely woman approached us when we were in the Pine Grove and said she had noticed us every week and wanted to know what we were doing. She was very interested and asked would we be interested in seeing some mammals that she had found.They were dead so she has kept them in her freezer.

She kept her promise and turned up today with a long eared bat, a pipistrelle bat and a shrew. She visited each group to show them the animals and the children were absolutely fascinated. They had loads of questions and the woman who we now know is called Kerry had lots of information. What a lovely surprise.

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Each week it takes longer to get up to our base camp as the children now take the lead and their eyes are so well trained to find lots of very interesting things. They noticed that the Goosegrass/ Stickback now has tiny flowers. We had a magnifying glass to see tiny details. They found a mushroom with a lovely stripy pattern on its top and soft hairs on fiddle head ferns. Hazel found a puffball mushroom. She squeezed it and we watched the spores puff out. We went up to visit our hawthorn tree. It now has lots of buds on it. The children found a crane fly, a few dead bees, and a centipede.

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Ms. Scollard’s group

Focus Plant- Gorse.

We found a lovely rock on the top of the hill surrounded by gorse. I read a lovely story called Gorse Mother from ‘The Sun Babies’ by Edith Howes.


After the story we listened to the bees in the gorse and smelled it’s coconut scent. We picked some ‘golden satin-tents’, elastic houses’, some which had already turned brown. Inside they found tine furry pods and when they opened them they found ‘gorse babies’.

Gorse baby

‘Gorse Baby’

Celebrating the Sun 

In the story the gorse mother talks about how “The sunshine grows hotter every day” We discussed what happens, as the sun grows hotter. The children had lots of suggestions, the earth gets warm, the plants grow, leaves grow on trees, birds build nests, bees wake up and visit the flowers.


Triangles of white fabric, double sided tape, black markers, plants, stones, and string.

The children drew their ideas on triangles of white fabric. We discussed the colours that they got from plants a few weeks ago when they made their wishing rags. Could we find more colours? We set off to different parts of the wood to try new plants and get more colours. Bluebells, Herb Robert, Dandelion, grass, gorse flowers all added lots of colours to their drawings. The children rubbed the plants into the fabric this week. They were very happy with the results.

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Ms. Scollard’s group.

Ms. Scollard’s group.

We took the fabric up to the top of the hill and waved it in the sun.

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Sun images on the bunting.

Back at the camp we threaded all the triangles together and made bunting to celebrate the sun.

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Sixth class and senior infants

After lunch together the two classes played games, Eagle Eye, Look Up Look Down. After playing games we discussed what games they would like to play with their parents. They will be inviting their parents up to join them in a session in a few weeks and we need to plan.

Sixth Class

Framed portraits.

Materials – string, bamboo

During the week in school sixth class learnt two new knots, the clove hitch and square lashing.

Using these knots they created frames.

Portraits in the Landscape.

The children worked in groups of three. Each group made a framed photograph portrait of each member of the group. One person directed the model and the person holding the frames. They made decisions of angles and background and when they were happy  with plan the portrait was photographed.

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Dalkey School Project/Forest Friday

Session 6

Senior Infants

Pine Grove

Here are some creations the children made this week from the boxes of natural materials.

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 Beech Tree

Our focus tree this week was the beech tree.

On the way up to the base camp we stopped under a beech tree. The children felt the bark and looked at the colours. They saw green, orange and a little brown. They could see some of the roots before they entered the ground. We looked up through the leaves and could see little pieces of sky through them. We picked some leaves. They noticed how soft they are. On the edges they found tiny hairs. The leaves are edible. All the children had a taste.

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The children made drawings of the patterns on the leaves. Some smudged their drawings to create the soft hairs on the edge.

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The children took turns to lead us up to the base camp. Each leader stopped the group to show them something interesting to share.

At the camp I read the a poem

The Beech Tree

by Rose Fyleman

I’d like to have garden

With a beech tree on the lawn;

The little birds that live there

Would wake me up at dawn.

And in the summer weather

When all the leaves were green,

I’d sit beneath the beech boughs

And see the sky between.

Building a Village

Today we focused on villages. What would we need in our village? Schools, farms, doctors? Villages are often built beside a river. The children discussed why people would build beside a river – they would need to drink, wash their hair, have a shower and water their plants.

We began with the river. The river started in a spring on the top of the hill. The children worked out where it would flow. During discussion it was decided that it couldn’t flow up hill.We used a long sheet of plastic for the river.

The children were shown how to build the basic structure of tepee houses and then worked on their ideas alone or in groups.

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Ms. Scollard’s group

We got to know the beech tree and tasted its leaves.

Pai-Lily and Liv made Fairy School Project for the Fairy Village. They included Ms. Scollard, a desk, a school bell, and a lunch box with berries for Ms. Scollard.

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Ms. Hurley’s Group(Ms. Hurley took Ms. Dungan’s group this week)

We noticed changes in the woods since last week as we walked up the hill to our base camp.

During sit time children noticed crystals in rocks, the birds gliding in the wind, “it was peaceful” “the bark of the tree I was sitting in was rough”

6th class told stories to their buddies. In Ms Hurley’a group, a group set up and named their band and performed a short concert.


The Band Performing.

Senior Infants made fairy teepees, houses, a mansion, a castle, a school to learn to fly and do magic, houses with reading rooms and bookshelves and couches and a house with a playground in the back yard.

6th class buddies reviewed the town plan and added an energy station, a railway system to transport food from the farm. Bridges were built to cross the river.

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Guide to the coastline 

Later we took a break and went to the top of Killiney Hill. We had a student teacher – Ashley, with us. She is from from America. The children pointed out the places they could see from the hill to Ashley, Sugar Loaf, Little Sugar Loaf, Bray Head, Bray, Killiney beach, Dalkey Island,the Dart tracks and the Wicklow mountains. They were able to find where they live and aunties and friends houses.


Sixth Class and Senior Infants.


At twelve o’clock the sixth class arrived up in time to have lunch with their buddies. After lunch they each took their buddy off to a special place away from everyone else to tell the story that they have been working on from last week.This was a story about a village.

We gathered again and the senior infants gave us a feed back about the story. They all loved it especially the ending. One child loved all the names of the vegetables. This was a good test of storytelling skills and sixth class were pleased as they felt that they had told the story very well.

The Village

The senior infants brought their buddies to the village and told them about each building. They worked together on the roads and bridges until it was time for senior infants to go home.

Sixth Class

Town Planning

Sixth class became the town planners. In pairs they had to map the village and then review it. What needs to be changed? Do you need to take anything away? Do you need to add anything? What infrastructure do you need?

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The whole group met, put their ideas together and began to work to the revised village.They added a hospital and pharmacy, a market, a picnic area, a rafting centre at the top of the waterfall, a ladder to climb to the top to the waterfall,a pond and a  potato field.


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The children love the end of their session where they find a quiet spot for 10 minutes to relax and absorb the forest. The feedback every week is alway very positive.

Feedback on the school blog from the principal Miriam Hurley having spent today working with a group.


“Senior Infants and 6th class are having fun in Killiney Hill – or in formal curricular language, they are experiencing the three pedagogical principles dealing with activity and discovery methods, an integrated curriculum and environment-based learning. (http://www.ncca.ie)  This one is really worth your attention!

Thanks to the teachers involved for the deep planning required for forest school creating learning opportunities as stated in national curriculum documents:

the child’s sense of wonder and natural curiosity is a primary motivating factor in learning
the child is an active agent in his or her learning
learning is developmental in nature
the child’s existing knowledge and experience form the base for learning
the child’s immediate environment provides the context for learning
learning should involve guided activity and discovery methods
language is central in the learning process
the child should perceive the aesthetic dimension in learning
social and emotional dimensions are important factors in learning”

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Dalkey School Project/ Forest Friday

Session 5

Senior Infants

Pine grove meeting point

This week I added string, elastics, blue tack, white chalk, magnets and pipe cleaners to the boxes of natural materials. The children came up with loads of ideas such as bows and arrows, slingshots, a worm hotel, a harp. Some children set up tasks for themselves such as tying and joining objects together.

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On our way up to our base camp we stopped to look at the changes from two weeks ago. There was a lot of bright green above us as we climbed the hill. One of the children took us on a detour through a bluebell wood. The others loved it because there were lots of things to climb over and under and new things to observe.

Stop and draw.

Once we set up our base camp we went off on another hike looking at the patterns on the edges of different leaves. The children were given white plastic circle shapes to draw the pattern of the edges of leaves with either pencil or black pen. They had sponges to wipe them clean and draw more if they wished. The drawings were recorded through photographs.

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Ms. Scollard’s group


This is our focus tree this week. It is also known as Whitethorn, the May Tree or the Fairy Tree.We hiked up to the top of the hill to look at the hawthorn tree there.


The top of Killiney Hill.

We looked at the shape of the leaves and compared them with the other leaves which the children had recorded in their drawings.

The children tasted the new leaves. Hawthorn leaves were known as ‘bread-and-cheese’. They enjoyed tasting them but most found that the taste was too bitter.

The 19-century Irish poet William Allingham wrote about thorn trees and fairies in his poem ‘The Fairies’. I read the children this verse of the poem.

The Fairies

By the craggy hillside,

Through the mosses bare.

They have planted thorn trees

For pleasure here and there.

If any man so daring

As dig them up in spite,

He shall find their sharpest thorns

In his bed at night

The children decided that they wouldn’t dare knock a hawthorn tree down.

It is very unlucky to cut down a lone thorn tree because it would upset or annoy the fairies.

When the motorway from Limerick to Ennis was built in 1999, they had to go around the hawthorn tree at Newmarket-on-Fergus as it is a marker of a fairy path, a meeting point where the fairies of Kerry would gather as they prepare to do battle with the fairies of Connacht.

I read a Hawthorn story from the http://www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/fcms128.pdf/$FILE/fcms128.pdf site. In the story each of the girls torn a strip of cloth from their skirt and making a wish tied it to the old faerie wishing tree and left it hanging there.

Hawthorns were frequently decorated with wish rags to bring luck, health and success.

Wish rags.

Tools and Materials- plastic circles, fabric strips, pencils and black markers, plants and rocks.

We discussed the idea of putting their wishes on the tree. I gave each child a white rag and laid out our materials. I showed how they could add colour to their rags by finding a big rock to lay their rag on and placing a plant e.g. dandelion on the rag and hammering it with a stone. The children tried different leaves and plants and exchanged ideas and information. They now had beautiful forest plant coloured rags.

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Ms. Scollard’s group

I asked what kind of wishes would you like to put on the tree? What kind of wishes do you have for you, your family, friends, people you love, your home? They thought about their wishes and made drawings about their wishes with pen on the rags. The rags were hung on the tree. The children closed their eyes and sent all those wishes to the fairies.

IMG_6249 copyWhen we were finished we took the wish rags off the tree and tied them around the children’s wrists.IMG_6255 copySome children gave theirs to Ms. Scollard at the end of the day to hang on the school hawthorn bush tomorrow and others wore theirs home on their wrists.

 Sixth class and Senior Infants

The whole group gathered at Ms. Dungan’s base camp for stories from around the world with Fiona.

Sixth class

Fiona gave a story telling workshop to sixth class. They gathered into small groups of 5 to develop their story skills and to include audience participation.

Next week they will tell the story one to one with their buddies.

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Dalkey School Project/Forest Friday

Session 4

Senior Infants and Sixth Class

The children were shown a PowerPoint Slideshow during the week.

Masks – Character and Emotions. They discussed the characters and emotions of each mask.


Some of the images the children were shown.

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Senior Infants.

At the pine grove we had a brief overview of the day.We discussed the masks from the slideshow and the children were asked what kind of materials would they need to make their own masks. So similar to last week we collected materials on the way up to the base camp.

This was a good time to repeat and extend names and information we shared from last week.to quote one “I can’t believe I remember so much about the plants”

The children were reminded to look after themselves and the forest when picking plants.

At the Base Camp.

Theme – Meet a Tree.

Explore a tree –

We began with a poem.

Come listen to my

Ancient song.

Stories that last night long.

Come stand under

My cloak of green

And wonder at all

That I have seen

And yet is to become!

(Tree Stories, Forestry Commission Scotland)

Each child chose a tree to explore. They were asked to close their eyes or put on a blindfold. Everyone chose a blindfold.

‘What does it feel like? Is the bark rough or smooth? Feel it with your hands and your cheeks. Are there other plants growing on the tree such as ferns, and lichens or moss? Can you put your arms around it? What does it smell like? How old do you think it is? Feel all the way around the roots of the tree. Open your eyes look up into the branches.

Listen to your tree. Put you ear up close to the trunk. What is your tree saying? What character is your tree? How is your tree feeling?

The children were asked to remember the masks that they saw in school. What made them look sad, happy scary, caring, proud etc.?’

We discussed what kind of face each child’s tree would have. They were shown clay and how they could stick it to the tree and add other materials to it to make a face.

If your tree is kind, what kind of eyes, nose, mouth, and chin will you give him/her. If you tree is wise… etc.

They sorted their materials then using clay made these great tree characters.

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Senior Infants finished their day with a quiet sit-spot and then back in a circle to reflect on their day. Some children’s favourite time is the sit-spot


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Ms. Scollard’s group

Sixth Class and Senior Infants.

Free play.

When sixth class arrived they put up ropes for senior infants.


Story Telling

A Day in my Life.

Senior infants brought their buddies to their tree. They had a look at the expression on the tree’s face and practiced making it.

The Sixth class student asked his buddy to talk for the tree.

‘Who are you?

What has happened to you during your day yesterday in the woods?

Why did that happen?

How did your day end?’

Together they prepared their story, sixth class student as the teller senior infant, the listener.

Story Trail.

We all visited each tree as the sixth class student told the story of the tree called ‘A Day in my Life’ beginning with – ‘Yesterday………..’


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Senior infants joined the rest of their class and trekked back down to the car park to meet their parents.

Sixth Class

Meet a Tree

One person was blindfolded and the other led their partner to meet a special tree.

The blindfolded partner was encouraged to explore the tree – Once the blindfolded partner explored the tree; he/she was led back to where they started the blindfold taken off. They were then asked to find their tree with their eyes open. Then they swapped roles.

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Mr. Doohan’s group.

Each sixth class chose a tree. Having explored the character of their tree they were asked what materials they would need to create their trees’ faces. They collected the materials and used the clay to put it all together.

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They finished with a sit-spot and then circle time to reflect on their day. They enjoyed making their tree masks and everybody said the ‘meet a tree’ game was fantastic.




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Dalkey School Project N.S./Forest Friday.

Session 3

Senior Infants and Sixth Class.

I have been looking for the best method to connect with the children before our work in the woods on a Friday. Usually when I work in classrooms I prepare a slideshow or bring in objects to stimulate discussion and conversation. The woods are full of exciting things but sometimes I want to show the children work that artists’ have made. The past two weeks I have emailed a power point presentation to the teachers to show the children before our Friday get together to stimulate a discussion in the class. This seems to be working well. They arrived ready to tell me what they saw in the photographs.

Our creative inspiration this week was the artist Irish Alice Maher.

She uses a lot of natural materials in making her work. The slides showed work made from berries, snail shells, thorns, bramble, bees, moss, and twigs. Some of her work is about dreams and memories of her childhood.

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The final slides showed headdresses made from natural materials.

The aim for this week was to build on the buddy relationship between senior infants and sixth class. We noticed over the past two weeks that some pairs hadn’t really jelled.

Senior Infants.

The senior infants began as usual on their picnic rugs with boxes of natural materials to play with. Each week the boxes are moved to between the groups. It is lovely to see the children make up their own play with these objects.

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When the children gathered in their three groups for the day we began with a few forest games to warm them up.

We then had an overview of the day. I asked the children about the slide show. We discussed the idea of headdresses. What materials on Killiney Hill might we find to create our own headdresses? What would be soft? What would make them big? What could we use to add colour?

We took a walk into different areas of the woodland to get a good variety of materials, stopping to discuss materials in terms of structure, texture and colour.

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We focused on ‘goosegrass’ or ‘stickybacks’. The children had fun sticking them to their clothes. These were added to our materials collection.

When we had a good collection of natural objects we journeyed to our base camp.

We now have our routine established. We begin by putting ribbons on the trees to mark our boundaries. The children check the camp for safety.

After a little lunch break it was time for a story.

Each week we read the senior infants a story about a tree. Our focus tree today was the Willow. We take the stories from this booklet. I adapted the story to an Irish setting. The booklet also has very good information on each tree. Again I adapted this to suit senior infants.


At the base camp I had already left a pile of willow sticks. We had a look at how bendy they are. The children knew about basket weaving and that willow was used like ‘Asprin’ from our story. Everybody loved the soft pussy willow.We decided to call our group the Pussy Willows.

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We looked at how we could weave our willow into crowns. I told the children that they would be making headdresses with their buddies/sixth class, when they arrived, but first we needed to sort our collected materials so the buddies could see what was available.

The children sorted the materials.

With charcoal and paper they drew self-portraits then using some of the materials they created 2d/ relief headdresses. We photographed these before they returned the materials to the sorted display.

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Senior infants and sixth class

When the sixth class arrived it was time for big break so while everyone was eating I took out the materials we would need for making headdresses. I showed the children how to make a willow crown by weaving a willow stick into a circle. We looked at the materials collection and discussed how we might add to the crown. Which materials would add structure?

I showed them wire and pliers and how to use them. We also had string, scissors and a secateurs.

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Ms.Dungan’s group working together on headdresses.

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Fiona arrived to tell more wonderful stories.

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The senior infants joined the other groups to walk down to the car park to meet parents.

Sixth Class

Each week one of the three sixth class groups had a full hour developing story telling with Fiona. This week it was our turn.

Here they are playing games to develop their story telling skills. It was amazing how good they got over the hour.

IMG_6037 copy.JPGMeanwhile Mr. Doohan’s and Ms. Dungan’s group worked on their knot tying skills,

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and exploring Killiney Hill.


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