Forest school sessions at Bathampton Primary create prime learning opportunities in the school’s amazing fields and woods. Class groups from Reception onwards have Forest School sessions as a one off lesson or a series of sessions with a particular focus. Children need wellies and warm or waterproof clothing, according to the season, but they are soon excited by the prospect of a full morning learning in nature.
Forest School classes are tailored to the children’s age and the season, helping them to learn to enjoy being outdoors, to build up stamina and fitness and to promote team-building skills. Activities – appropriate to the children’s age, the weather and the season – include building dens, wood carving, making homes for insects and mini-beasts, observing nature and singing camp-fire songs.
Summer activities can include mud paintings on fabric to make flags, leaf printing on fabric, pond dipping, whittling sticks, making fires and toasting marshmallows. In winter, the children might track animal footprints in the mud, make hedgehog homes ready for hibernation, learning about food chains, playing nature games, or studying animal skulls and bones.
Sessions sometimes venture off the school site, along the canal or to the Dry Arch growing project in Bathampton, where children learn about gardening and working together to grow food. They plant seeds in the spring and harvest their crop later in the year. When the work is done, they eat bread baked in the clay oven, topped with cheese, or jam, or sometimes both!
Our forest school tutor, Tania Orgill, is a Director of both PlayWood and West of England Falconry. She was born and brought up at a Mountaineering Centre in North Wales and later qualified as a ballet and dance teacher before being trained as a PE leader in Denmark. She is passionate in her belief that children are stimulated by the outdoors and that these sessions build confidence, learning capacity, enthusiasm, communication and problem solving skills and emotional well-being. Popular with the children, one of them recently described her as “really woodlandy”.
You can read a report from PlayWood on their activities at our school here.
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