Forest Craft Outdoor Learning
Forest Craft is underway again!
This half term it’s the Year 3&4s Forest Craft dedicated sessions.
Our Forest Craft programme is unique to us. Forest Craft has been especially designed to meet the needs of our children and to fit the wonderful environment we have in our own school grounds.
We have high expectations at St Giles CE Primary School. The children work extremely hard in their lessons and are supported by very committed teaching staff. We are a very driven school but haven’t lost sight that children still need to be children and so decided that we would take our learning outside. Forest Craft gives our children freedom, time and space to thrive in the great outdoors.
So what do we do in Forest Craft?
Here is this week’s session.
We found a diary entry about what somebody else had been doing many years ago and decided we would try and trace their footsteps.
Once the children had changed into their outdoor clothing we gathered together with our outdoor survival rucksack and set off.
Walking up to the woodland area we followed red tracker markers that lead the way. However we split into two groups as we found two different tracks. We walked in silence, listening to what we could hear around us and used signs to communicate. The children were engaged with their surroundings on the whole trip to our Forest Craft Area.
Both groups met up at the same time in the woodland opening. We then got to work. Survival skills and team work was this week’s agenda. We needed to clear the area of leaves and twigs, collect firewood and build a trap shelter. In the two groups the children started work, one collecting firewood and ground clearing while the other started to discuss where they wanted to build the shelter.
The group who started on the shelter checked the area for trees and a clearing. As a group of children gathered in one area another child held back in a different part of the wood. After a discussion the group decided that they should change to the area the other child had found. This was team work at its best.
The emergency whistle was blown and the children immediately gathered in the middle of the field and swapped tasks.
As the shelter began to take shape it was a great opportunity to teach knife safety. Mrs Swift had her bush craft knife out and held it out at arm’s length and turned a full circle, explaining that this is called the Forest Craft knife circle and nobody is to enter it. A discussion started about why a knife circle is needed. The children were very aware of knife safety and the implications of why it is necessary.
The wood pile was growing and will be needed over the coming weeks. Both groups came together and sat under one of the shelters. We had built our survival shelter and now it was time to talk about fire lighting. It was raining and the children were shown how to make a fire in wet weather using a fire steel and silver birch bark. They now know that the best place to collect firewood in a woodland is above their shoulder height from fallen twigs in the trees and to be patient. The fire was lit and some of the wood we collected was used. But all too soon it was nearly time to pack up and go back inside. Another great learning opportunity arose and the children were given a lesson on how to put a fire out safely and leave the area exactly as they found it.
We gathered up all of our equipment and headed inside.
Due to the nature of Forest Craft we didn’t do everything we found in that diary entry. Nevertheless we did have fire and shelter and we will have plenty of time over the coming weeks to follow in the footsteps of the anonymous, intrepid bush craft diarist.