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And so the last Forest School session was upon us! Luckily the weather had abated from torrential downpour to a constant drizzle and when we were under the shelter of the trees in the valley we were even able to take our coats off. We had lots to fit in and it was good to be able to try and do it without getting too wet!
We started with a short listening activity as the rain in the valley has a twofold effect. Firstly it tends to dampen any background noise and secondly it also has its own unique sound and helps to isolate any other clear noises. We could listen to the rain pitter-pattering on the leaves above and also hear several different species of birds, very peaceful.
The peace was soon broken though once the rope swing went up. The rules were discussed and the swing was raised in a safe and responsible way with the children deciding who was going to push and where to line up.
At the same time, some of the children opted to make their own dens in groups and (adult supported) they made a really good effort of it. Throwing ropes proved a challenge but with a little help and a huge dose of perseverance (not the first time in this session that would be required) dens were made and started to be decorated with rocks, logs and leaves. It was at this point as well that there was a concerted effort by a few boys to hunt down as many pine cones as they could and wow, were they successful!
As the main fire was being lit a few children came over, interested in the process and before long there was a handful of children using the fire steels lighting cotton wool. After a tough start, there were squeals of joy as some of the children who had tried really hard were rewarded with plumes of fire. The adult helpers (a couple of parents accompanied us as well as Mrs Davies daughter) were keen to support in the fire lighting endeavours and really helped to encourage those that lacked the resilience required.
With the main fire lit the kettle went on and hot chocolates were made. Marshmallows were toasted for s’mores and there were lots of sticky smiles around the seated area as it suddenly went all quiet! Those that had finished managed a last few minutes in their dens, on the swing or climbing the muddy slope on a rope that had been raised.
Before we knew it, the session was finished, tidied away and it was time to head back. It’s been a great year for Forest School at Laira Green overall. We have done so much, introduced so many children to new experiences and had our fair share of wet and warm weather. Fingers crossed that I can continue to grow Forest School moving into next year with the new classes. A massive thank you to all the teachers, support staff and parent helpers that have helped make it such a success, I couldn’t have done it without you.
Until next year,