As the Forest School baton is handed on from Year 4 to Year 6, Mr Catley shares a few thoughts from the pioneer group’s time in Abington woods.
‘When we first arrived, we had to choose a base camp. This involved working together to haul some very large logs into place in a clearing the children called ‘Ladybird Camp’ due to the fact that each week we found hundreds of seven spotted ladybirds there. Over the course of the next seven weeks, the children deepened their knowledge of the space, enjoying watching summer gently turn into a beautiful autumn. They also developed their use of tools and understanding of specific trees to make mini-beast hotels out of elder, artists’ charcoal out of hazel (which some then turned into elder pencils), some wonderful dens complete with thatching. They also learned to split wood to build a table using square lashing, saw wood carefully using a bow saw, and how to light fires (over which they then cooked some delicious outdoor food)! But perhaps the greatest skill many of Year 4 developed was how to work well as a team. Watching the children share plans, ask each other for help, and collectively be proud of a shared project, such as a 5 star shelter, was truly encouraging.
Year 6 have now had their first week at the woods, and despite the wet, instantly got into the swing of woodland life and the adventure continues….’