News from the playground/Forest School

Playtime at St. Luke’s

Playtime is just as important as lesson time.

That’s why we ensure the children have access to a wide range of activities during every break. Support staff lead in a range of sports and games. Older children, ‘Play-leaders’, hold regular fun challenges for the young ones. Children, taking on the role of ‘Peaceful Problem Solvers, ensure everyone gets along well. The children themselves decide on the activities they would like to see in the playground from volleyball to lego. Some older children also run art, dance, drama clubs and even referee the football!

Architects and builders

Les 006

Children have been collaborating to design and build different constructions – including tall towers, bridges, and this fantastic stair-case.

Forest School

Following some very positive feedback from children and parents, year three children continue to enjoy learning in the woods as Forest School at St Luke’s enters its second year…

Each week our year 3 children travel to a local woodland.  The groups are small, led by Cess our resident level 3 Forest School leader, accompanied by Ryan a ranger from the Sussex Wildlife Trust, the class teacher and Les one of our learning mentors.

The opportunities and challenges that arise from interaction with the constantly changing natural environment play a key role in learning development and each group is very different. The ‘wild’ space allows students to explore, discover and nurture a relationship between themselves and the natural world. Activities are multi-sensory, always hands-on and will often require the use of tools such as bow saws, fixed blade knives and fire steels. All children learn how to build and light a small group fire and how to extinguish it safely. The high adult to child ratio provides the support which enables every child to be successful and helps build their confidence.

The fire circle is central to all that happens at Forest School and is the focal point for discussing the day’s activities. A place for conversation, sharing learning, food, stories and song. Coming together around the fire like this offers opportunity to listen to differing opinion developing a sense of self and community.

As children become more comfortable with being in the woodland the sessions become more learner led, a journey of discovery directed by the children themselves.

Here’s what some of our children and parents have said about forest school.

“It has perfect trees in perfect places for an adventure.”

Anonymous

“I feel I know how to care more about nature.  When we built a den I felt as if I was giving it to the forest.  I know I wasn’t but that’s what it felt like.”

Suzie

“I liked the quiet and sitting down with a mug of hot chocolate.”

Dextor

“Forest school makes me feel in with nature.”

Angus

“Because most of the nature documentaries I watch are of far away.  Forest School has affected me because I now know I live near nature. I loved everything, I really liked the feel of the moss on the tree”

Anonymous

“If we didn’t have nature we would probably not be alive.”

Hope

“I feel like I should look after nature more because I used to pick flowers and stuff but now I don’t.  I really liked seeing all the different bugs!”

Anonymous

“I loved making dens with my friends, making knives the long walk and playing games.”

Bessie

“I feel amazing and happy to have done stuff in nature with my friends.”

Malachy

“Erin and I made friends that were trees, and we named them.”

Eleanor

“Isobel has absolutely loved forest school, she wants it to go on for more than 6 weeks! As a parent I think forest school is brilliant, learning about nature, how to build dens and fires etc., working as a team, eating their lunch in the mud – all fantastic skills to learn.  It is the kind of activities that we as a family try to do, going outdoors and respecting the wonders of nature.  In this digital age the children live in I am grateful to the school for instilling the joys of the outdoors on the kids.  We went this weekend to Stanmer Park as Izzy really wanted to show us the dens she had built and describe what she did at forest school.  She was so proud of her achievements and we spent a happy few hours exploring the woods and getting very muddy!”

Emma Langridge Parent

“Isla said, “its’ amazing I want to go again!”  The activities in the forest were amazing.  Because Isla enjoyed Forest School so much it has help encourage us to explore more of the countryside.  Thanks!”

Jo Martin Parent

“Cassidy said he was ‘heartbroken’ when Forest School finished.  What a lovely experience they have had.  It’s so important to teach the children to value the woodland and natural environment they live near and I hope this will be formative for him.  He really enjoyed the camaraderie and the time spent with the adults too.  I feel very lucky that my child has been given this opportunity, which we will build on.  Thank you to everyone involved.”

Emma Sola Parent

“Eleanor loved Forest School.  She always had something positive to tell us after each session.  At first she was worried about lighting the fire with the metal rods but once she’d done it she was fine.  Her favourite activities were making charcoal and apple wood pencils and the wooden pendant on a string.  Eleanor was really sad it was the last session this week.  She wants to go back to Stanmer Park and visit the trees.  Thank you for such a great course.”

Andrea Rushworth