Our Week in the Forest...
There was a caterpillar invasion in the forest this week, hundreds of large white butterfly caterpillars appeared in our Buxus tree. The children delighted in collecting as many as they could find and recording this by using tally marks on yellow card. These collections led to conversations detailing the caterpillar’s appearance, comments on how many legs they had, their life cycle, cocoons, what they liked to eat and camouflage. This also allowed for a discussion on the oak processionary moth caterpillars or ‘toxic caterpillars’, and the differences these caterpillars have to the ones we found and the dangers of the former. The children are developing an amazing awareness and understanding of the natural world around them, and specifically the importance of their safety through observation and questioning.
We continued our ‘Helicopter Stories’ in the forest this week, with the children continuing to build upon their original ‘scripts’. The children recounted their beautifully imaginative stories; the dragon who fell in love in a bonfire; a big bad wolf at the doctors; a fantastical fountain and a spider girl protecting the forest, whilst throughout we scribed their evolving storylines. During the day children asked when we would be acting out their stories and asking, “Where’s the stage?”, as they recalled the previous week’s session. Anticipation built as the children supported us in putting out the stage, hammering the rope to the floor. Then it was time for acting, the children took turns in acting out the stories, patiently listening and absorbed in their friend’s storylines. They showed so much confidence in standing up in front of the whole group and expressively taking on various roles. We can’t wait to discover what new characters and plots will appear in next week’s instalment!
As the older children began to discuss their next year at school, one child mentioned her excitement to do gymnastic classes. We discussed how gymnasts go upside down, and so they used a fallen log to put their feet on, hands on the floor, to achieve the challenge of handstands. We supported the children in practicing these handstands by demonstrating doing these against a tree. The children showed impressive strength and agility in hand standing whilst having lots of fun and supporting each other with the endeavour. They delighted in showing us their gymnastic skills including cartwheels, forward rolls and backbends.
Later in the week the children used the pinion drill in the final step to creating their wooden vehicles. Having previously prepared many tree cookies to create wheels they could now drill the holes so that they could be attached using pieces of Dowling to their vehicle body. The children discussed the shapes of a wheel and how many they would need – ‘four for a car’ and ‘two for a canon’. They then focused carefully on drilling a hole through the middle and completing the process by working out how to fit all the component pieces together. The children were very excited to be able to take these home, happy racing!
Little Forest Folk