We’ve only been back in the schools for a few weeks and we’ve already had lots of fun. For example, in Manchester, children have been learning all about worms and wormeries in Elmwood Primary in Middleton, while our group from St James C of E Primary School in Rusholme discovered a bird’s skull in their Forest School area and both children and adults took were fascinated to examine it and find out what kind of bird it was (we asked an expert who told us it was a crow). In Liverpool, children from Millstead Primary in Everton, have played games and been learning how to use saws, drills and billhooks to make medals and split wood, ready for a campfire next week. We often talk about how Forest School helps children in all aspects of their lives. It can enhance children’s confidence, increase their resilience to difficult life situations, improve team work and develop decision-making skills. Activities like den-building, green woodworking, natural art and fire-lighting, teach children about natural resources and how fun and special nature is. As the children learn more about their surroundings and spend more time playing together, their respect for the outdoors and each other grows, and this is so lovely to watch.
Bug hotels and bird skulls at Forest School
While we’ve had a great time with all the schools, the highlight for me so far this term has been the amazing bug hotel made by a boy from The Grange School in Liverpool and his reasoning behind it.
Last week, a boy called John chose to make a bug hotel. Other children joined John and very quickly they were all engrossed in constructing and decorating the hotel. The school staff were thrilled by the excellent team work John and his friends were showing. The finished product was a masterpiece, with different sized sticks, leaves, berries and a big log seat in the middle for the bugs to chill out on. They even added some decorative ribbons and a painting, and the boys proudly explained to the whole group how they had built the hotel and why they had included its different features. Everyone praised the boys’ work and agreed that any bugs would have a 5* experience.
As we walked back to school at the end of the session John said to me, “I used to squash bugs but now I know that was wrong. I’m in year 6 now so I should take more responsibilities for my actions. I want to help other creatures not hurt them.”
I was absolutely blown away by John’s maturity, empathy and self-awareness. This is exactly what our project is all about – enabling children to develop into well-rounded adults with a love and respect for nature.
To find out more about our Forest School Project, supported by Players of People’s Postcode Lottery, visit our Forest School page http://www.lancswt.org.uk/forest-school.