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Hazel Forest School Week 4
So this week of Forest School saw just the Year 5 children from Hazel class come to the woods. There are only 9 of them so this presented a unique opportunity to extend their skill set. I had to enlist a couple of them to carry rucksacks of equipment due to the small amount of children and the large amount of gear we need for the session! Luckily we had a lovely day for the session and there was no need to do the usual putting up of the large group shelter.
When we go into the woods with our mantra of ‘Leave No Trace’ we often find that other members of the local community are not so conscientiously minded and we have to clear up a bit of litter here and there in the main arena. This week was something else entirely. As we had a small group we went to use the log circle used last year, ideal for knife and other small group work, what we found there was not a pretty sight. We worked together to clear the sight and filled up a good few rubbish bags in the process.
We had a quick go at making fires to keep that skill fresh, a small one out of the circle in cleared area, a larger one on the log circle itself and even one in the den. We then extinguished them safely and continued with the session.
This was another opportunity for the children to learn about some of the tools we use in Forest School. We talked about the different parts of secateurs and loppers and how to use them correctly. We harvested some large sticks to be our personal walking sticks from some of the naturally sown thicket of blackthorn, sycamore and ash. We then talked about knives and their safe use. The children were already familiar with the concept of the blood bubble and it is never more essential than when using knives, especially for the first time. The children were also shown how to safely sheathe and unsheathe the knives. Most showed great skill in both being safe and also using the knives to strip the bark from the sticks.
We also had time to work on using the bow saw as well. It was mainly focussed on safety and technique as we will hope to extend this skill next week and as the children go into Year 6.
Overall it was an excellent week and the children did themselves proud in the small group situation. I look forward to working with them again in their last week before the Easter Holidays!