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Smeeth Community Primary School

Year 1 2022/23

Year 1’s  Term 6

What a fantastic final term the Year 1’s  have had.  The bank although not muddy, has continued to be a source of adrenaline fuelled fun, rolling or sledging with cardboard boxes. The introduction of a rope to pull themselves up the bank either on foot or whilst sitting in a box seemed to create a great team work as the children pushed or pulled to help each other.   Bug hunting has been a huge draw and the creation of mini habitats, they have looked closely using the magnifying glasses, and used the resources to identify the different types of spiders and beetles they discover!  One session where a group spotted and caught carefully, observed and released a slow worm!   We had a story during one session where the children heard of the wonderful benefits to the Great Elder Tree, and how it gives gifts each season, this lead to the children, preparing the Elderflowers to make cordial.  The rope swings continue to be a favourite where the children are having to keep themselves and others safe whilst having lots of fun. 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.   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 had our final session this week where the children helped to collect sticks to maintain the fire, practiced making a spark with the flint and steel then  toasted marshmallows and made them into s’mores !

The year ones have had a great start to their Forest School sessions, during the first few weeks we focus on how to keep ourselves safe, how to keep others safe and how to keep nature safe. Between us we discuss many scenarios where the children contributed and demonstrate to the group.  The children have been extremely enthusiastic and have fully embraced the games and activities that have been on offer.  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 and thought about food chains, they’ve listens to the birds, and turned this into a game, they’ve acted as starlings and tried flying as a murmuration. 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 and sticks to hang on the trees.  Some children have spent time creating art from the Christmas trees, or using the needles as an essential ingredient in a mud kitchen recipe. The den building has taken off and the children now have an amazing structure up a tree, (build by the year 5’s) which each week is added too! The dig pit has been extended and the year 1’s added a structure to make a camp, where they have been trading pine cones along with any other treasures they have found.  The hammocks and slack lines are in constant use and many children persevering to get across without falling off.   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 are, improving social skills, cooperating, turn taking, persevering, 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!

We ended Term 3 with fire lighting, each of the children had the opportunity to use the flint & steels to light cotton wool. On the communal fire they cooked bread and as a group we made fresh butter.

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