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Sycamore Forest School Week 3
The best weather yet! It seems that for these children that the weather can only improve! Now I’ve said that though this’ll mean that their last week is torrential downpour and thunderstorm territory.
It was also a terrible week for the camera to stop working. After not being able to get the last week’s photos off and then for it to completely deny me this week was a big disappointment. The hunt will be on for a working device for next time!
The reason that it was a shame that the camera was missing is because there were a number of times where the children really impressed me with their attitude, skills and behaviour. The main focus for the activities this week was lighting small fires in groups. The worked well for the most part, persevering, following instructions and succeeding in their intended task. As per usual the children underestimated the need for as many thin (yes thin, very thin, no thinner than than, thinner that that….like this) sticks as possible in order to get their fire going. We have now become used to using pine needles as a good natural resources to help us initially but these burn very quickly and the sticks are a must. The beauty of this learning experience is that when the children go on into years four and five they will know the requirements needed in order to build and sustain a useful fire. In future years this will mean that we will then be able to cook in the woods and use fire to help us make things.
A special mention must go this week to the maintenance crew at Plymouth City Council who help look after Efford Valley. To make a long story short… It is an unfortunate situation that we have become used to the fact that after half terms or holidays there is always a horrific amount of litter, vandalism and destruction of the parts of the valley that we use. This week was one of the worst. Our usual bench semi circle had been scorched by a poorly made irresponsible a messy fire (the remnants of which were still left, with an empty bag of industrial use coal chucked on the floor); the chippings the council had put down had been trashed in that area; the bench we had fixed in the previous week had been kicked over again and burnt, again. The two gents from the council turned up and I started to explain what we’d found and how we’d attempted to place a basic cordon around to make sure the children didn’t hurt themselves. We’ve struck up quite a good relationship between the Forest School at Laira Green and these men, the children often speak to them and they are polite and helpful. Never more so than this week though.They saw the irresponsible destruction which had been done to the arena and were as appalled as we were. It didn’t take long at all before they headed off to get their van and remove it all. They were so quick in fact that in the short time it took me to put up a rope swing with the children and return to the arena that they’d gone! They also took all our rubbish bags from things that we’d collected that morning. Local heroes. Not so much of a short story in the end after all though…
Hopefully for Sycamore’s final week (where we will be doing hot chocolates and having marshmallows) the Valley will be in the lovely, clean state that we left it in last Wednesday. Hopefully.