Laira Green Primary School

Tel: 01752 660427 Bramley Rd, Laira, Plymouth, PL3 6BP

Forest School in Year 6

Ash Forest School Week 1

The start of the new block of Forest School sessions is with Ash class and we tried out a few new things with the idea of giving back something to the valley. In the long run the idea is to try to replace some of the furniture in the area of the valley we frequent by using our tools and skills to make things.copy-of-dscf2219

We started with a usual tidy up but as per recent weeks the state of the valley has been quite good so this did not take long. New tools were then introduced and the vision for the term laid out. The children are going to work together to make mallets to help them make the furniture, this involves:



  • Finding thick, sturdy fallen logs and branches.
  • Using the bow saw (observing the blood bubble and using a suitable saw horse, the bench) to saw a foot’s length or so of the bough.
  • Using a bow saw or hand saw to cut roughly 1cm deep in a ring around the midpoint of the length of the bough
  • Using a brick bolster (or wide chisel, eventually a bill hook) and mallet to cleave small sections of wood vertically from around one end to the cut midway. (all will become clear when the mallets take shape in the coming weeks)

It was a brilliant learning experience for all and we immediately discovered some issues where logs weren’t the right width, too rotten, the angle of the saw horse meant that the mallet wouldn’t have a flat end to stand up on. As we go into next week though the number of mallets will grow meaning we can make amore and more!

copy-of-dscf2223As has become tradition at Forest School a rope swing went up soon after and while some children were sawing and bashing the bolster to cleave some wood the rope was thrown up and the knots were tied. One child even managed to remember on of the vital knots to raise it, very impressive! Some children then took it upon themselves to use the skills they had ocopy-of-dscf2226bserved to raise their own swings, and encounter a couple of hurdles…

One of the swings made was made with a too short rope on a too high bough and so getting up to pull it down proved nigh on impossible! Lots of attempts at jumping, climbing, pulling and all sorts didn’t work! In the end we had to erect another swing right next to it and hoist a brave volunteer onto the seat who then stood up in order to grab the retrieval rope! Wow, quite an exhilarating solution to a problem which will hopefully not happen again!

The other problem was a knot based one. An eager child threw a rope up for a swing and pulled it tight using an improvised knot only to realise that the rope was now tied to the branch and couldn’t be released easily, nor could it be reached by hand nor climbing. In the end a large stick had to be found and the knot picked loose over time until it could be pulled down! No more improvised knots in the future I think!

One element we did put back into the valley this week was a more unfortunate and unicopy-of-dscf2232ntended one. During some free time to explore our area of the valley one child had already nearly lost a welly in the boggy area on the edge of the woods. After a few more minutes the call had come to say one person was stuck in it and they had fallen over! Oh my goodness! I rushed over and upon arrived I found a very muddy child in between the throes of laughter and being upset. After a quite explanation and a bit of calming down we talked about how we could stop it happening again. A large fallen tree nearby provided us with some inspiration and with the help and guidance of Mr Watson some children set about using the bow saw to separate and the drag a large section of the tree across to bar access to the bog. Two children then carved ‘No Entry X’ into the log to warn off other intrepid explorers.

A fantastic first week and hopefully nexcopy-of-dscf2231t week we will have more great weather, more fabulous tool use and a bit (but only a bit) less mud!

Until next time,

Mr Blake


This entry was posted on November 6, 2016 by in Uncategorized.

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