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Though this was Cherry class’ last session, it was a quick one in the afternoon (due to the visit from Clive Pig in the morning) and the children were in from lunch early to have a quick change of clothes and get prepared. It was a really swift turnaround and we were out in good time. The weather has been really good for the last few weeks so we were looking forward to a dry afternoon in the woods.
On the way up to the valley we stopped to harvest some sycamore (for marshmallow sticks later in the session). The tree species was quickly identified, one child in particular linking the leaf of the tree to the image on Sycamore Class’ room sign. This was a great opportunity for children to all have another go at using the secateurs safely, incorporating correct handling procedures and that of ‘blood bubble’.
Sticks collected, we proceeded to the valley and had a quick discussion about what the hour and half or so was going to entail. The children were encouraged as much as possible to use the skills they had learnt over the previous sessions to have fun and make a positive contribution to their time in the woods.
While Mrs Nightingale and Mrs Mcgahan did a sterling effort of getting the main fire lit I supported some of the girls in getting a big rope swing raised. There were tribes created, dens made and lots of small, responsible fires lit. This was a huge success because the kindling around on the woodland floor was so dry from the lack of rain and the level of sun we’ve had. Children became really confident quite quickly and it wasn’t long before they realised they didn’t need a massive number of cotton wool balls or a big splodge of Vaseline, they could do it! Well done Cherry class!
Most of the children also had the opportunity to revisit their knife skills and sharpen their marshmallow sticks as well as make items to support their tribe role play. There was a great sense of the safety around using this particular tool and it gives me great confidence as these children go into Years 5 and 6 respectively. Many of them won’t go again until 2018 but hopefully the skills will stay with them.
As per usual the last session saw hot chocolates and marshmallows make a welcome visit to the session! The amount of embers was quite low because of the short time we had had to build up the fire but many of the children still got a good level of toastiness on their Mega Marshmallows.
The term may have only just started but Cherry’s time in the woods has already come to an end. Next week is the turn of Hazel and I look forward to another hard working, enthusiastic group of children enjoying their opportunities in the woods.