The only weather that we cancel Forest Friday in the woods is when there are gales or strong gusts of wind. Being near and under tress is not safe. Last night there was a strong breeze forecast until 11am and then gales after 11. We have to make decisions the night before as parents drop the children off at the woods.
We decided to continue with the senior infants in the woods and take them to the sheltered side of the hill if we needed to. We cancelled second class and prepared some work to introduce a theme in the classroom that we will continue with during our next sessions.
We woke to a very still but very icy morning. No wind! Rather that have the children sit on the picnic mats as they arrived we made up an active game to keep each group warm as we waited for all the children to gather.
This is a catch game with a pine cone. The thrower calls the name of the catcher and throws the pine cone to them. If the catcher drops the cone everyone says “Hungry Squirrel” and the catcher runs around the tree. There was a lot of running in the beginning but they got better and kept warm until all the children had gathered.
Journey to the base camp
Last week the children stopped and noticed good dens. This week they looked closer and were very observant of colours and textures and the small world of bugs.
Wild tea of the Week – Nettle
The children had decided last week that they would like to make and taste nettle tea. I told them that I had put in a half spoon of honey in the water that we had used for bramble leaf tea.They asked for pure water this week as they said they wanted to taste the tea without the taste of honey. What a discerning group.
Observing the children making the tea, I watch how they are learning how to control the pouring, this is not so easy, they have to adjust the angle to get it just right. One child holds the strainer. When one cup is full they share some of it into the other cups. They are loving this. It’s an extension of of water play.
Before they set off exploring I reminded them that this week everything was wet so to test it before climbing as wood and rock could be slippy. They continued from last week developing their climbing skills. There was a problem with two children wanting to climb the same tree and not having space. I asked them all could they suggest another good tree to climb and one of them said no it’s too slippy this week. It’s so lovely to see on the second week that they are taking responsibility themselves.
All but one child loved nettle tea. Going through the process of making their own drink entices them to taste – maybe the answer to the fussy eater.
When the children arrived at our base last week they noticed that someone had left a fairy door and a little plastic bicycle and mushroom at the base of the Grandmother tree. This week they noticed that it had broken in half.
During lunch break I told a story about our big tree – The Grandmother Tree, and how a boy, who had got a fairy door from Santa asked is cousin, who had got a small mushroom and bicycle from Santa if she would like to come up to the woods and leave them for the fairies. The story was about how the Grandmother tree is the central meeting place for the fairies.
I made it up as I went along and left them with the inspiration to make a fairy village near the tree.
The village needed a boundary wall.
“This is a door so when you go out you open it and close it. At night you can lift up the blanket…..and a bowl where you can get food, and here’s some food, some lettuce.”
“Here’s a king sized bed, there’s a mat here. That’s the kitchen and there’s some food and I don’t know what it is.”
Lots of things were happening. Some children stopped to observe exciting things while collecting and others were organising a team to bring up large branches for the boundaries. Sometimes a child took time out to climb a tree. There is so much space and such a rich environment for each child to find what his/her needs were.
Jenny’s Senior Infant Group
All three groups have been responding to the environment through observation, play and creating.
Here they are using their bodies to explore as they take the difficult route up to their base camp, listen to the “bluebells ringing”, climb and balance, “Who needs a swing when you have a log”, and making a “mud angel”.
Observation of Jelly Ears, strange shaped sticks and a heart hole in Lords and Ladies.
The joy of creating together and alone. A mini den and a zip line.
We worked in the classroom with the whole of second class. We will be working with a bird theme after Easter so we introduced the bird theme to the children.
We began by collecting the names of birds we see in the woodland.
The children came up with the names of the different birds that they see in the woods. Jenny hung pictures of woodland birds on the wall.
Each child will be taking a woodland bird name so we will develop our information of these birds for our next session.
We began by looking at feathers with magnifying glasses and then drawing from them on card.
We had a look at some Aztec feathers as –
Fact: Archaeologists have discovered that the Aztecs held feathers as one of nature’s most valuable gifts, as birds appeared to be very important in their culture.
So we had a look at some decorative Aztec feathers patterns. The children added decoration to their feathers.
The children cut out the feathers and drew on the other side so it would look like a feather from both sides.
We punched holed in them so they could put a cord through them.
We divided back into our three Forest Friday groups. Each group had to decide on three colours of wool to represent their group. Working in pairs they each made a braid to thread through their feather.
We have four weeks before we all gather again. We will bring up these necklaces to the woods. The children can add their chosen bird name to them.