Reporting a Safeguarding Concern or Positive Test Result of a Covid-19 Case, During School Holidays

During our school holidays, the safeguarding of all our children remains as always, our top priority. During these times, our school will continue as normal in supporting our vulnerable children.

If you need to report a safeguarding concern during a school holiday, please contact our headteacher, Mrs Donna Jagger on Tel: 07902 517146 or email: head@arunside.school.

We ask that you use the same details to report a positive test result for a Covid-19 case be this either during the holidays or over a weekend.

Gnomes all over Forest School

Our focus for the next few weeks is whittling green wood. Today’s task was to make their very own Gnome. This started with processing the wood using a partner and a Bow Saw.

Then using either and Opinel knife or a Mora knife they whittled the end of their sticks to make a Gnome hat. Their focus, concentration and mindful involvement was very impressive and many of them sat for up to an hour until they were happy with their work.

Then the Gnomes needed cutting down to give them flat bottoms so the children used a Laplander to trim them to the right size.

Finally they were decorated and added to the Gnome Villages

Else where they hung out in the hammocks, tried bare foot walking, began the Forest School Jubilee bunting, built dens, played hide and seek, moved wood chips, made mud meals in the kitchen and many more fun things.

And finally….   the 7 Blue Tit chicks are all still going strong and are beginning to grow their feathers. Mum and Dad are working hard to keep them fed.

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Tiny Blue Tit Chicks and Forest School Garlic Bread

We have several pairs of nesting Blue Tits at school, and one pair has done a fantastic job of hatching 7 chicks!!

We will aim to keep you updated with their progress without disturbing them too much.

Here is mum hiding all but one of her babies

The Year 4 began by collecting wood and laying an upside down fire, and then lighting it using a dragon’s sneeze.

Then they whittled a hazel stick using an Opinel knife. These are very sharp and require concentration and resilience.

 

They were encouraged to taste the wild garlic flowers and leaves to help them identify the plants, before chopping the leaves and rolling out their Damper dough.

While the damper garlic bread was cooking they busied themselves with many different activities,

including gathering and moving some wood chips up to EYFS for their mud kitchen area. #teamwork

Everyone enjoyed their damper and many were keen to try it again so here’s the recipe for you to try at home!

  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • pinch salt

Method

  • Rub the butter through the flour until it is all crumbly.
  • Mix the salt, sugar and a little milk at a time until  it forms a dough.
  • Divide into two pieces and roll into a snake shape. Wind around a clean, dry stick. Hold over the campfire to cook.

Bush Tucker: Damper Bread on a Stick

 

Springing back behind the Rainbow Fence

This week Year 4 got stuck into a Spring clean down at the Rainbow Fence with new signs, weeding the raspberries, planting strawberries, and hanging a new tyre swing.

Mrs Hadden overcame some of her fears today when we took her a Slow Worm that had been found on the field. After being shown to the children he was put back into a safe hiding place on the riverbank.

Every group re-capped the fire triangle and learnt how to lay an upside-down fire.

There was a little knot practice and a lot of den building, including 2 story properties and a large fort with a piano and drum kit!

The children really enjoyed being back at Forest School this week, using chalk and charcoal to make natural paint, climbing, swinging, tool work, hide and seek and playing with their classmates.

Releasing the Tadpoles

Year 2 have been studying habitats in class and have watched frogspawn hatch into tadpoles so this week we released them into the small pond up in New Wood. The hope is they will continues to grow and we will have lots of little frogs hopping all over the place after Easter.

 

They have also had a Design and Technology focus on making wraps so we incorporated this by making Forest School pizzas using foraged wild garlic.

In order to cook them the children lit fires using Dragon Sneezes.

Everyone agreed they were absolutely delicious! 

Elsewhere we made ladders, crafted medalions, moved piles of wood chips over the site, build dens, tried new ziplines, built obstacle courses and made a mini Giants Causeway from all the stumps lying around.

To round off our lovely sessions we had a mug of hot chocolate and then shared our favourite memories of our time at Forest School.

We have had a super time outside with your children, the progress with their skills, teamwork, independence and resilience has been enormous and we hope you that you can see that too in them. Forest School at Arunside for Year 2 may have finished for now but there are plenty of opportunities for your families to spend time outside and explore the wonderful world around us.

It was Nesting Week at Forest School

We have been popping down behind the Rainbow Fence for the last couple of weeks, since the tree surgeons came in to make it safe, to get it ready for use again. The children have re-sited the fire circle, moved tons of wood chips, watered the flowers and enjoyed all the new logs to play with.

Back up in New Wood we had a focus on nests. We have been learning about a new bird every week so we decided to make ENORMOUS nests as well as tiny ones. To do this we needed green sticks to bend and weave. We are a little short of these in the new area, so we showed the children how to strip brambles with a sturdy pair of gloves. Amazingly this process completely removes all the prickles and leaves you with very strong Forest School string!

There has been a continued interest in the Fairy Housing, so this week we offered the opportunity to make their own doors from lollipop sticks. The children used secateurs and made natural paint from chalk, charcoal and turmeric to decorate them with.

Elsewhere there were more big tools used to make fairy furniture, a lot of clay creations, swings, den building, mud kitchen fun, and burying Bee Hotels.

Popcorn over the fire in New Wood

The Year 2 used Dragon Sneezes this week to practice their fire lighting skills. This can be a challenging thing to master but they all showed great resilience and we had fire in every session.

We used the fire to make more charcoal for natural paint. This is done by cutting green wood, we used holly and bramble, and popping them into a tin with holes in the lid. This is then placed on the fire until flames come out of the holes. Perfect charcoal sticks every time!

For several weeks the children have been making wild flower seed bombs and this week we threw them onto the river bank, some children even got to use the sling-shot to launch them.

Elsewhere there was crafting, sawing, fairy furniture making, den building, swinging, clay creations, rolling down hills, obstacle courses, tadpole watching, bee hotel making and much more fun!

We finished off with some delicious fire popped popcorn! So Tasty!!

Fairy Fun in New Wood

The fairies came to Forest School this week. Lots of tiny houses and gardens popped up all over New Wood.

Some children chose to make furniture for their tiny homes. They worked together using a Bow Saw, a Laplander, a Mora knife and a Mallet. They were rightfully very proud of their work.

The children also made Bee Hotels from terracotta pots and dried grasses, for the many bees that are waking up and looking for new nests, as well as making wild flower seed bombs to launch next week onto the river bank.

Elsewhere they studied the tadpoles in our new mini pond, made things from clay, built dens, painted with natural paint, used binoculars to bird watch and rolled down muddy hills!

And best of all we were able to get back behind the Rainbow Fence for a little bit, to begin putting it back together. The children helped to start to shift the huge pile of wood chips and to re-site the fire circle.

Clay Tree Guardians.

The tree guardians came to visit the ‘New Wood’ Forest School area this week.

The children went to hunt for the hidden guardians and then using natural camouflage make their own, encouraging them to handle the nature, explore the area and work collaboratively. 

With the lack of central trees in New Wood there are few places to build dens and swings, however a couple of tripods worked quite well and we saw several constructions and lots of swinging!

Elsewhere we found another newt, dug out a pond area, moved logs as well as sawing, drilling, natural painting, bird spotting, tree climbing and rolling down hills!

 

Exploring our new site

Due to the damage caused by Storm Eunice we are currently unable to be behind the Rainbow Fence, so we have re-located to “New Wood” at the front of the school.

This meant the children setting up the area in the way they wanted, finding new places to put up tarps and build dens and forts and rolling stumps into new positions.

All the fallen wood will be put to good and use the children started by making ‘knitting nancys’ to make friendship bracelets.

And many of them chose to saw up the logs to make into Owls, decorated with natural paints.

We also decorated ourselves, sheltered from the rain, splashed in puddles, dug in the mud and found a tiny, tiny newt!

 

 

Learning through Play

This week was a real culmination of all the new skills the children have learned over the term.  From whittling with knives, sawing and drilling, den building, climbing, chilling in hammocks, swinging and planting.

We also put the Slack-Line up up for the first time.

Ms Murray had decided she wanted to move the ENORMOUS log stump in the middle of the site. It had floated easily to it’s position in one of the floods but was a HUGE challenge for us and the children! They had to use all their Roman skills and science knowledge of pivots and levers but over the 4 sessions we got it shifted.

We finished up with our closing ceremony of hot chocolate and the putting out of the fire. We have all had a fabulous half-term outside and we look forward to seeing the Year 4 back in the Summer Term.

 

Keeping warm at Forest School

 

This week we used the knot skills of lashing and frapping along with a few Clove Hitches to make Triangles. Of the many successes some children chose to decorate them with feathers, leaves and Elder beads.

Then we lit the fire so that we could cook Tomato soup and make toast. All of which was enjoyed by all of the children.

Elsewhere there was tree climbing, den building, Shelter games, Zip-Lines, hammocks, sawing and crafting with Elder beads.

Messing around in the woods

Year 4 are honing their knot tying skills every week, with the children using them regularly to make dens and zip lines. Often with clear demonstrations of Teamwork.

The children love having fires and it’s very important they understand how to process the wood that they burn. So this week we offered them the opportunity to use the Bow Saw to saw lengths of wood, as well as using either a Mora Knife or Axe  and Mallet to split the lengths into kindling. These risk taking activities improve their motivation and independence, as well as their self-confidence.

The Andersen Shelter was a huge hit -particularly with the adults when some of the boys set up a restaurant!

The Zip-Line this week was a great success, every week the children make little adjustments to improve and refine it. It’s fast!

As usual there was plenty of other activity going on including tree climbing, photographing the signs of Spring and building a new wood store for all the lovely logs the children had processed.

And finally Mrs Yuille’s certificate came through. With all the disruption due to Covid it has taken longer than anticipated to get all the course completed, however, it is now official – Qualified to mess around in the woods!

 

The Andersen Shelter finally goes up!

In Year 6 the children study World War 2 as part of their curriculum and some time ago Ms Broadhurst managed to purchase an original Andersen Shelter for our school. So today Ms Murray and Mrs Yuille put it up in the Forest School area.

It needed trenches to be dug and the heavy sheets of corrugated iron bolted together to form the arch.

After a couple of hours of hard work we got it done and now Arunside is the proud owner of our very own Andersen Shelter

Mindful Time at Forest School

As well as Risky play and developing Resilience we often focus on mindfulness and being at one with the natural surroundings.

One of the mindful activities we practice is Hand Breathing. This is where we focus on our controlling our breath while accepting any thoughts and letting them go. As we become more skilled at this the stress hormones are lowered, we become more relaxed and ready to take on whatever is ahead of us. It only takes one minute out of your day so ask your children to teach you how to do it!

The next focus was on knots. We built on the Clove Hitch from a few weeks ago and added lashing and frapping to enable the children to make mini tripods. The children then went on to build tripod dens for our Building Learning Power Buddies, with an amazing array of extras including kitchens, fire circles and even a pool!

The fire was lit again so we introduced Peelers and Knives to sharpen green wood sticks so they could toast marshmallows. Yum!

The children were so busy but they did find time to refine the Zip-Line as well as using the sharpened sticks as arrows!

 

 

Look what we found this week at Forest School!

We made 2 amazing animal discoveries this week. Firstly we found a frog hidden in the leaf litter and then we uncovered an active mole hole on the field.

This week we learnt new knots to help with den building -the Timber Hitch and the Blood knot. The children then went on to use them in many different ways including a limbo line!

In order to give the children the confidence to feel safe around the fire we all learnt about the Fire Triangle. Please ask your children to explain it to you to help embed their knowledge.

The main focus was on lighting mini fires in scallop shells. Every child who elected to have a go achieved it, even if they did need to draw on their skills of Rosie Resilience! Mrs S. even had a go and felt the rush of success. 

Elsewhere there was crafting, sawing, drilling, swinging, den building, mindful hand breathing, chair making and slug and snail collecting.

 

Learning New Tool Skills

One of the tools we learnt to use this week was the Bow Saw. The children worked in pairs to safely cut wood cookies that they could then turn them into something else.

They also learnt to use a Palm Drill so that they could make snow men, necklaces and even a mobile!

We also learnt to use a Dragon’s Sneeze so that next week the children can have a go at lighting mini fires if they want to.

With their huge interest in den building we decided to teach the children the Clove Hitch to help them with their construction. I’m not sure they actually used this knot but there was a lot of other rope work going on throughout the 2 days!

Year Four have Freezing Fun at Forest School

As year 4 had not been out behind the Rainbow Fence before we began by looking for all the potential hazards around our site and then establishing how to keep ourselves safe whilst having fun outside.

Then as the temperature was dropping rapidly we made beautiful natural ice decorations.

The children had a particular interest in making very good use of all the ropes and tarps and loose parts to make a fantastic array of dens and shelters.

Elsewhere there was exploring, swinging, obstacle courses, being King/Queen, hammocks and drawing with charcoal and chalk.

All the children had a fantastic time and really got involved with everything on offer, we predict a great half term with them.

While the weather continues to be so very cold, please ensure your child has plenty of extra layers to put on, a hat and gloves, several pairs of warm socks and a thick coat.

Hot Chocolate time!

This week was the final session of the term and it was chilly so we warmed up with some delicious hot chocolate.

We continued with our Christmas crafts and made Jingle Sticks, as well making as some more decorations and natural painting.

The rest of the time was spent doing exactly what everyone wanted to do! Mud kitchen, swings, see-saws, obstacle courses, fire lighting, singing, water play, cafes, and den building to name just a few.

We all enjoyed a yummy hot drink to warm us up!

To round off our 6 weeks together we held a closing ceremony where we all said what we enjoyed most about our time at Forest School. It was lovely to hear the children talk about the way they have developed their independence, teamwork and resilience skills.

We cant wait to have them back with us after half-term, in the meantime please encourage your children to tell you all about what they get up to and Forest School and even when it’s cold you can all wrap up and get out for a family walk together.

Christmas Decorations

There were many things to try this week and lots of children chose to start by whittling a stick to turn into Father Christmas.

They had to use loppers to cut the wood and then they decorated them with natural paint, a little acrylic paint and cotton wool.

Whilst making the natural paint many children decided to paint a few other things!

One particular group spent a very long time doing a Tug-of-War.

Other fun activities they undertook were a ‘field hospital’, assault courses, bug hotel making, and multiple swing ideas, including a double balance one.

We hope your houses are now suitably decorated with all these lovely festive creations.

Woodland Warriors

It was chilly this week out at Forest School but we wrapped up and kept warm with lots of fun activities.

We all whittled sticks with peelers… please encourage your children to help with peeling the veggies at home -they can now all do it!

Then we toasted marshmallows on them -Delicious!

Many of the children drilled holes into wood cookies and elder to make beaded medallions, that were painted with natural paint.

Elsewhere we played in the leaves, make ziplines, face painted, chilled in hammocks, played with bows and arrows and built things out of tyres.

Roar 2021

Some of the year 6 children have been taking part in the national Roar 2021 competition. The children had to design a new product which solves a problem. They then had to make a prototype of their and make their own advert. The winning team’s advert then gets sent to national final – which will be held during school time on the 8th December. 

All of the children who took part were fabulous. They worked incredibly hard and displayed fantastic teamwork. 

This year’s Roar has been supported and sponsored by the Horsham Lions for which we are very grateful. We would particularly like to thank Mr Loveday, Mr Osborne and  MrTrowbridge for their support. 

We would also like to say thank you to Mr Smith and Mr Roberts, two of our governors, who helped to judge the competition.

Here are our videos from this year’s competition –

Here is our Arunside winner –

Autumn has definitely arrived behind the Rainbow Fence…

So many leaves!

This week we started with the Fire Triangle so that everyone can stay safe as we learn to light fires. Every child who had a go, was successful at using a Dragon’s Sneeze to light a piece of cotton wool in a scallop shell, in preparation for lighting a proper fire next week.

The bug of the week was the worm so as well as learning all about them, many children made wiggly worms from Elder and pipe cleaners using palm drills.