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Foundation Stage /Key Stage 1

Forest School Kit: We will provide your child with waterproof trousers to wear. Please ensure your child has old clothes, a coat, a hat and gloves in school every Thursday.  Please also send a plastic bag (for wet/muddy clothing) and spare underwear.  If we get wet for any reason we will change our clothing at the earliest opportunity.


We have several  spare coats and several pairs of wellington boots.  If your child needs to borrow either or both for Forest School please speak to Mrs Field.  Please check your child's wellington boots from time to time for holes and fit. 



What have we been learning?

Today was our final Forest School session for this term.  We welcomed our new visitors this afternoon to enjoy taking part in a number activities within the school grounds.  We made windmills, decorated flower pots and planted basil.  Remember to water the basil as soon as you get home. 

Today (30/6/16) was our last session at Pine Woods for this term (next week our final Forest School session of this academic year will take place onsite).  Our session today allowed us to follow and develop our own interests; dens, swings and seesaws were all put to good us.  The year 2 children enjoyed their final session as part of KS1 - next term they return to the site they will be part of KS2.


Still image for this video

Today (23/6/16) we observed the changes of the season.  Now that summer is officially on us, regardless of the tremendous amount of rain we seem to suffering.  The walk up to the new site provides a wealth of wildflowers.  Using our scavenger sheets, we searched for as many different items as possible.  We even spotted a family of hawks!

Today (16/6/16) we took part in ‘Den Building Day’ in preparation for tomorrow’s national fundraising day organised by Save The children.  This is always a very popular activity and takes lots of skills to produce a den: team work, communication, risk taking and of course the physics of how and where to position those important logs to produce the perfect den!

Today (26/5/16) was our final session this term.  We continued our learning around habitats and used our time to explore the ground looking for mini-beast.  We have also planted the pots and added additional flowers to the beds - hopefully this will provide a welcoming habitat to many creatures!

Today (19/5/16) we have been learning about animal habitats. We found out animals need protection from the elements and nutrients.  Using this knowledge, we released our butterflies; we were sad to say goodbye, but we also acknowledged the butterfly house didn’t provide the best habitat for these creatures.  We also set about making insect homes.  Please don’t be alarmed to see plastic bottles hanging from trees jammed with bamboo, grass and leaves - hopefully over the coming months we will have some visitors using the stylish accommodation!

Today (12/5/16) was our final week at Pine Woods (we will return after the half term break).  Our learning continued with bug hunting.  We had remembered lots from last week and were able to turn logs to find woodlice, ants, slugs, earwigs to name but a few.  The site was quite wet after the recent heavy rain and this provided lots of opportunity for us to ‘fish’ in the puddles! 

Our remaining two weeks of Forest School will be local.

Today (5/5/16) was a glorious day (a huge change in temperature from last week) and we didn't even need coats!  We wore our waterproof dungarees as the site has bee very wet in the past and the ground is still fairly damp. Making the most of the warmth, we searched for insects; looking in trees, under logs and in the grass.  We began to use the identification charts to help decided what we had found.  The session passed quickly and in a blink we shared Josie's birthday treats (thank you Josie) and had a nice cold drink before returning to the coach. 

Even though the weather is very confused (sleet and snow) Spring is on its way.  Today (28/4/16) the cowslips are flowering will and we can see tiny buds on the trees opening up to emit splashes of green. Today we used our skills to either build a den for a knight to sleep in or a cave for a bear to sleep in.  The children worked together to complete today’s tasks, producing some fantastic structures. Key Stage 2 will be impressed when they visit the site tomorrow.

Today (21/4/16) we was our first session at the Pine Woods.  The weather was wonderful, especially after such a chilly start.  Today was the Queens 90th birthday and to mark the occasion we decorated crowns.  We collected natural items on the way to the site and used these (along with items at the site) to decorate our crowns.  During snack we enjoyed hot chocolate and cake and wished the Queen a very happy birthday.

Today (14/4/16) we used the school grounds for our first Forest School session.  Now that Spring is very noticeable we used this is our base for learning.  The children were very good at finding lots of different signs of spring and we used are observational skills to draw a number of different images.

Today (17/3/16) was our final Forest School session this term (next Thursday we finish at 2pm for Easter).  We stayed onsite and our learning focused on who well we know our school grounds!  Working in small groups we needed to identify as many different photographs and plot the location on a map of the school grounds.  We soon got to grips with interpreting the physical location of an item and transferring this to a map - this is not an easy task, and we were really impressed with how many items the children were able to identify. Thank you Carmen for taking our photographs and making a map of our grounds.  We really enjoyed this session.

Today (10/3/16) was our final visit to Pine Woods this term (next week we will stay onsite at school).  The ground was wet after the heavy rain on Wednesday. The children noticed how high the river is at Clifton Hampden and how it is 'overflowing into the fields!' At the site today we continued learning about forces by making see-saws.  We tested out the new swing which KS2 made last week and enjoyed hot chocolate and a biscuit before returning to school. 

Today (3/3/16) was our second trip to our new Forest School site - Pine Woods.  On the way to our site we pass ‘Neptune Woods’ (taking the road from Long Wittenham to Little Wittenham).  A fairly new plantation, but is a fantastic place to explore if you are looking for woods close by.  A small car park and a very short stroll offering several willow structures to explore and a young woods make for a great afternoon and an alternative to Wittenham Clumps.


At the site today we continued to explore the site - the mud puddles are drying up due to lack of rain and lots of wind.  This term we are revisiting our learning regarding ‘forces’ and today we were able to blow bubbles or build dens.  We needed to consider which force was used for each activity.  We of course enjoyed hot chocolate and a biscuit before returning to school.

Today (25/2/16) our Forest School learning took us to our new Forest School site – Pine Woods.  After a short bus ride, we made our way to our new site.  We were very excited on arriving and were able to explore the boundary line of our site (marked with a blue rope).  Once at the site the children are able to move freely around the space, but are taught not to go outside the boundary line.  The site is a little boggy still in places (following the December rain), but we were able to make use of branches and logs and learn how to build dens.  Of course we enjoyed hot chocolate before returning to school. 


We apologise for being a little late back; the excitement and exploration of the site took it’s tool on our bodies and the walk back to the bus was slower than anticipated. 

For our last Forest School this term are learning was centred on fire.  Today we split into two groups and we reminded ourselves of the 3 ingredients needed to light a fire (fuel, oxygen and a spark).  Next we set about finding fuel for our fire; very quickly we had a pile of wood to burn.  Returning to our groups we talked about fire, the dangers and the pleasures of fire and of course how to keep ourselves safe.  All the children were able to safely add fuel to the fire and all were able to make a ‘smore’ to enjoy.  Have a look at our pictures below to see what a great afternoon we had.

Today (4/2/16) at Forest School the weather was unusually mild for this time of year.  The black thorn is beginning to flower and tiny bud are appearing on trees and bushes.  Our learning this week focused on habitats and what animals need to survive.  We focused on woodland animals (in class year 1 and 2 have been applying this to the environment in Africa).  Have a look at our pictures to see the homes we created.

Today (28/1/16) at Forest School we have been learning about food chains.  We played a game to help us understand some creatures are prey (insects, mice etc) and some animals are predators (birds, foxes, snakes etc).  We focussed on woodland animals which we will find in the UK.  We then made a food chain, learning how an eco-system works.

Today (21/1/16) we returned to the 'Old Airfield'.  To keep warm we put lots of layers on, adding gloves and hats to keep us nice and toasty.  Although the temperature has risen a little, we were very excited to find ice - in places this was very thick.  We found out ice is made from water which freezes when the temperature gets very cold.  Lots of the puddles had frozen over but the mud was still sticky and gooey!  

During Forest School today (14/01/16) we used the school grounds for our learning.  We have begun to think about the National Bird Count run by the RSPB.  We thought about what birds need to eat and how difficult it is at this time of year to find food. 


Working in 2 groups, we set about making bird feeders in preparation for the bird count.  Reception and year 1 each needed to stud an apple with sunflower seeds.  Once the apples had enough seeds in, we placed these in the trees around the school grounds.  Have a look and see if you can find any which have been pecked at by the birds.  Year 2 worked with Miss Smith to make fat cakes.  They pierced a hole in the bottom of a yoghurt pot and threaded twine through and knotted it. Next they measured 5 parts oats, 5 parts bird seed and 5 parts fat out and mixed it together (you can use any fat except turkey fat and the dry ingredients can include seed, cheese, apple etc).  Finally they put the mixture into the yoghurt pot, squashed it down and placed in the fridge overnight.


We finished our session with a game of ‘Predator and Prey’ - a group of children were birds and needed to find food (the remaining children were food; caterpillars, worms etc). Once the ‘food’ had been eaten (the children being tagged), they had to stand still until all the food was gone!  To warm up, we enjoyed hot chocolate and a biscuit indoors.

Today (7/1/16) was our first Forest School of term 3.  Today our session was based at school (Forest School next week will also be based at school) and we have been learning about the season of Winter - even though we have daffodils in bud! We found out about some of the signs of winter and how to recognise evergreen trees and plants. Using oil pastels and colour wash, we made our own winter pictures.
From January 2016 Forest School for Reception and Key Stage one will run throughout the year. The first week back after any school holiday we will use the school grounds.  For the remainder of each term please check book bags for consent forms - if we are using the local area (old airfield/Culham airfield), we already have your permission and do not need to send an additional consent form.  If we are using our new site 'Pine Woods' we will ask you to sign a consent form.

Forest School Kit - Please check your child has the following at school every Thursday:


  • Old warm clothes - these are likely to get muddy, please ensure they are not favourite items. Include a t-shirt, long sleeved t-shirts, jumper and trousers (no jeans) and an old coat.
  • Spare underwear (vest, socks, knickers/pants) - if we get wet when we are out we will change into warm dry clothes when we return; please explain to your child they do not need to change into these items before Forest School.
  • A spare carrier bag to put wet/muddy items in.
  • Hats/gloves/scarf - Much of the time we are moving around at Forest School, however, there are times when we are static and young bodies chill quickly. Please help your child to remember these items.
  • Summer hat & sun cream (the 8 hour variety) applied before school - During the summer months.


We will provide waterproof trousers, a snack and hot/cold drinks.  We also keep a number of old coats, please speak to Mrs Field if your child needs to borrow one.

Today (3/12/15) during Forest School we learnt about map making.  Using a pre-made template (a circle with arrows on), we needed to plot our afternoon’s adventure.  On our map we needed to note key building/landmarks of things we passed on our way and on our way back.  We enjoyed hot chocolate and a biscuit before we returned to school.  Today was our last session this term - we will return to Forest School in term 3 (letters will be sent home at the start of term 3).

Today (26/11/2015) we continued our learning about forces.  We ventured to the old airfield and needed to think what type of force we were using to preform certain actions (walking, running, jumping, dropping stones into puddles, releasing our feet from the very thick mud!).  We very much enjoyed Forest School today, whilst we did get rather muddy, we were able to understand how a push or pull force works! 

Now the weather has changed, the ground is very wet and it is colder, please ensure your child has a hat and gloves and wears old clothing for Forest School sessions.  We keep a several old spare coats at school - if your child needs to borrow an old coat  for Forest School (to save getting there own coat spoilt) please speak to Mrs Field.

Today (19/11/15) during Forest School we needed to think about 2 different forces: push and pull.  We then needed to think about how we use these different forces.   We were very good at thinking about which force was being used when we were stuck in the muddy puddle!

Our first Forest School outing of Term 2 (12-11-15) took us to the Airfield. We looked carefully for things that might be spotted in Autumn - trees, leaves, cobwebs, spiders, mushrooms and birds. We ticked off the items once we had found them. After our careful looking we sat for hot chocolate and a biscuit. We thoroughly enjoyed our first trip.
During Forest School today (22/10/15) we have made a fire in our fire pit, cooked marshmallows and made 'Smores'. We learnt lots about fire safety, sitting around the fire pit and only entering the fire circle when called by an adult. We learnt that fire needs three things - fuel (wood), oxygen and a spark. Miss Priddle and Mrs Field lit the fires, we all added some sticks gently to the lit fires and then stuck a marshmallow onto a stick and toasted it. The soft and gooey toasted marshmallow was stuck between two biscuits and then eaten! Yummy!

During Forest School today (8/10/15) we have been looking at habitats.  We explored our grounds in search of mini-beasts.  We found lots of ladybirds on the clock tower (next to the lavender bed) enjoying the sunshine, slugs in the damp shady bamboo, woodlouse were found under pots, ants in a rotting tree stump and spiders (some busy spinning their web) in many locations.  We discussed why these creatures live where they live, finally deciding shelter, food and water were the key reason for their choice of home!

During Thursday’s Forest School (01/10/15) our learning has continued to focus on seasonal change. We thought a little about fruits and vegetables that we harvest in this country. We had two activities - apple pressing and vegetable printing.

Apple Juice - to make apple juice we had to follow five steps

  • Step 1 - wash the apples.
  • Step 2 - put them in a machine which chopped them up and made a mulch.
  • Step 3 - use a scoop to put the mulch into the apple press.
  • Step 4 - add the lid, turn on the water to inflate the balloon (inside the press) and wait for the juice.
  • Step 5 - collect the juice, taste it and then fill containers to take home.

Fruit and Vegetable Printing - this group looked at a selection of fruits and vegetables and discussed how they grow. They then used paint to print with.

During Thursday’s Forest School (24/9/15) our learning has continued to focus on the changing season.  We discussed what happens to the leaves at this time of the year (colours begin to change and leaves fall from some trees due to less sunlight).  Working in pairs we explored our grounds to find different types of leaves and leaves of different colours.  We used the different leaves for printing - by using two different types of media (paint and ink) our leaves took on different finishes.  The leaves we are making will be displayed in the Reception shelter - look out for our own autumnal tree!

Today (18/9/15) was our first Forest School session of this term. This week we worked in 2 groups: Group 1 worked with Mrs Burnett and were learning about different animals and how to classify them into groups. Group 2 worked with Mrs Field and were investigating the season of Autumn, exploring all the areas of our grounds.  Have a look at our pictures below.

Click the following link to find out why Forest School is important, the skills we develop and how we learn: http://www.clifton-hampden.oxon.sch.uk/forest-school/