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Smeeth Community Primary School

Reception 2022/23

Robins Term 6

What a fantastic final term the Robins have had. As our sessions have continued over lunch time the children have finished each session having a picnic lunch either sitting in their dens, up a tree, on the grass or a log with their friends! The bank although not muddy, has continued to be a source of adrenaline fuelled fun, rolling or sledging with cardboard boxes.  The rope swings continue to be a favourite where the children are having to keep themselves and others safe whilst having lots of fun. Children have been taught and are reminded how to climb the trees safely, ensuring each branch is safe by checking its size and keeping 3 body parts attached at all times.  The mud kitchen continues to be a source of inventive cooking and baking with the children providing meals for their friends in the den area.  The dig pit has become alarmingly deep, the children have hit sand which has led to all sorts of speculation as to where they will end up.   The pieces of pottery or flint that are found are then washed and examined to discover what they could be from.  The children use the books in this area to try and identify the rocks.  Their interest in birds has continued and when we are sat around the fire circle they readily point out and identify the black birds and magpies, with an occasional Robin who makes an appearance if we are really quiet.  Some children have been introduced to Nordic Braiding which is a lovely activity where we have to focus to create a braid which is then shared between the children.  As we have a ‘no pick’ policy (apart from the daisies and buttercups)  at forest School I brought in a selection of spring flowers where the children were able to extract the natural dye and print on pieces of fabric, some of the children created butterflies and little flags.   With the new fence being installed and the removal of lots of Ivy this gave the children the perfect material to use the peelers, the children have used the loppers safely to select their piece and have turned them into wands or more recently into skewers for our marshmallows.  We recently had the year 6’s join us for our final forest school session, much to the delight of the Robins.  The children had a go at making a spark with the flint and steel along with collecting materials to keep our fire going.  We all had a toasted treat  and it was a perfect end to a wonderful first year!

As we continued through terms 3 and now into term 4 the children have established themselves as a small forest school community. They quickly return to previous areas of construction, play or creativity at the beginning of each session, their urgency has settled knowing that they can return the following week, this has allowed the children to delve deeper and spend more time on their chosen area, should it be getting the confidence to roll or run down the bank, crossing the slack line without falling off or persevering with the overhand knot to tie up the bird feeders.

This term the children have listened to folk tales on birds such as the Wood pecker, Robin and House Sparrow, these stories have acted as a ‘springboard’ to their child-led play and through games and activities on offer the children have learnt that its quite tricky to find food in winter and how camouflage helps with ‘worms’ hiding in grass and how hard it is to catch and eat their food just with a beak!  They enjoyed playing predator and prey games which introduced the children to food chains. They’ve had time to sit quietly and listen to the birds and trying to count how many different sounds they can hear. It’s been lovely to see the children spend time with the binoculars bird watching or making natural bird feeders using pine cones or sticks. 

As you are aware the children have loved the opportunity to use the mud slide, which I know despite over trousers they are still rather muddy, please can I assure you that whilst they are ‘playing’ the children learn to communicate, improving social skills, cooperation, turn taking, perseverance, risk assessing using trial and error in how to make themselves slide faster. With the addition of water, figuring out how to transport it working as team and creating a truly magnificent slide!

Although at the time of writing it feels like Spring is on its way, but please keep an eye on the weather and ensure the children are wrapped up warmly!

Robins have had a wonderful start to Forest School, for the first few weeks the children were familiarising themselves with the boundaries of the site, they created their own rules and discussed how to keep themselves and their friends safe. They thought and demonstrated how to move large sticks, climb trees and swing carefully on the rope swings safely. The children have played games to develop their respect of the fire circle, team games with links to nature, such as migrating birds games such as Hawks and Mice.  They have had the opportunity to use both the tarps and camouflage netting to create dens, this leads onto role play using natural materials around them. The mud kitchen is a firm favourite where I am offered an amazing variety of foods to sample most sessions.  The children created their own paints, crushing chalk with the pestle and mortars and adding natural ingredients to dye the paint, this was then followed by making their own paint brushes using feathers, leaves and pine needles.  Towards the end of term we were joined by the Rising Fives Nursery, where we tried pumpkin soup and cooked bread over the camp fire. Thank you to all of the parents for sending the children in with suitable clothing, next term it may begin to get a little cooler, so please add an extra layer or two!