Forest Craft and Woodands

Forest Craft

Spring has arrived at St Giles School. Forest Craft has embraced this with the infants, who were very busy doing their outdoor learning activities. These were - Spring detectives, Tiny Treasure hunt and planting seeds for the veg garden.

As the children walked up to the Forest Craft woodland area they used their Deer ears and Owl eyes to see and hear all the birds in the trees. The Infants noticed a few weeks ago how many more birds were back in the school grounds and they noticed even more.

Armed with an IPad the children had to go and find signs of spring outside with the Stick Men and take Stick Man selfies. They were looking for catkins, blossom, flowers, growing grass and new growth on plants and they did a really good job.

A ‘tiny’ treasure hunt also took place – the children had to find Tiny twig, Little leaf, Flake of lichen, Teeny flower petals, Miniature feather, Minuscule snail shell, A few strands of animal fur, Small stone and a Blade of grass. This activity was inspired by The Woodland Trust, who also gave the following advice. “Please only collect things that are already on the ground, and make sure no snails are living in the shells you find.”

The children also tended to their, newly dug over, vegetable patch. The children will be growing their own vegetables to cook in the Forest Craft outdoor kitchen over the coming months and will be in survival mode.


Year 5 spent an afternoon helping The Derbyshire Wildlife Trust plant trees in a local wood, given to them by The Woodland Trust. They give away trees to schools and community groups across the UK every March and November (to coincide with tree-planting season). St Giles School is very lucky to have their own Woodland area so The Derbyshire Wildlife Trust asked the children to go to Dukes Quarry at Whatstandwell and plant them there.

The Year 5 Children caught the train from Matlock to Whatstandwell and were met by Emma from The Derbyshire Wildlife Trust. From the minute the children left school they were busy – they had the Signs of Spring Spotter sheet from Wildlife Watch to look out for and fill in and Emma helped them locate Frogspawn in the canal on the way to the Woodland.

Once there the children were shown how to plant the trees by making a t-shape hole by Dave from The Derbyshire Wildlife Trust. The children then planted Hawthorn, Dog Wood, Hazel and Crab Apple. They located canes placed all over the wood, where the trees were to be placed and then started planting and put a protective layer around the saplings to stop them from being munched by local Wildlife. After the children planted each tree they then watered them.

One thing the children agreed on was how much they had learned. The reason the different trees were planted in this area was that there is only really one species of trees which doesn’t offer enough diversity for Insects and Wildlife. Planting all the different types of new trees will encourage a lot more Wildlife and Insets to live in Dukes Quarry.

Emma from The Derbyshire Wildlife Trust showed the children Wild Garlic and helped the Children recognise the insects in the Wood.

St Giles continues its commitment to outdoor learning and the appreciation of the natural environment and its inhabitants. It is so important that our pupils spend time outside and it adds to the curriculum and enriches the children’s learning! The Woodland at Dukes Quarry will be there for Years to come and the children can go and visit their trees and watch the area change.

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