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.
8.30 – 11.15
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.
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.
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 nestThe Nests
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.
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!
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.