This week at the Woodland School we started the day with just Nursery 1 and Nursery 2 on the site. They had great fun exploring the natural environment, rolling themselves down the hill and sorting some wood into different sizes. They also had their lunch cooked over the open fire and they had some marshmallows too. After lunch they were joined by the Pre-Prep classes who came to the Woodland School for a celebratory last session. We had some den building, role playing and even a chat with our very friendly 'Woodland' crocodile! We have come a long way with the Woodland School; initially Mrs Fell and myself 'tested the water' in October 2015 with a small group of Nursery 2 children who's enthusiasm spurred us on, we then introduced Nursery 1 to the Woodland School followed by in February 2016 extending this provision to the Pre-Prep classes. We have aimed to continually develop the concept; this Academic year, as my Forest School training reached a new level, I was able to introduce the use of various tools and this term we have been spending whole days at the site, which has given us the opportunity to have an open fire and use it for cooking lunch and the ever popular marshmallows! It is very apparent that many of the children have visibly benefitted from their Woodland experience in the boost it has given them to their self-confidence and self-esteem and hopefully they will remember the times at our little 'woodland sanctuary' with fondness, I know I will...it's been fun!
Our last Weekly Woodland Award winners are:
Logan Milburn in Nursery 1 for his skills at sorting wood and gaining the confidence to roll down the hill.
Raahul Aravind in Nursery 2 for identifying the letter 'T' in a branch he found.
& Mrs Fell for being at the Woodland School every week , whatever the weather and always showing enormous passion and enthusiasm for all the outdoor learning activities.
Fresh faced and bushy tailed, the parents and boys gathered at the unearthly hour of 05:30 to board our coach bound for France. Good traffic and good fortune found us aboard an early ferry and in a jiffy we were at the bakery to learn about croissant and French bread. With instructions given in French, the boys had to put into practice much of what Mme Jeffery had taught them right from the off.
Full of knowledge (and the buttery goodness only to be found in a really good fresh croissant), we made tracks for the chateau. The staff at the chateau were well versed in dealing with coach-bound children; the application of food and 'chateau olympics' provided an excellent orientation for the group. Tired boys headed to bed in their dormitories above the converted stables. Fresh bread and pastry greeted the boys and nourished them for their morning trip to the market at Étaples sur Mer. Again, more vocab was picked up and it was pleasing to see the boys using conversational French with shopkeepers. Once the boys had bought all the nice things they could summon the language for, we made tracks for lunch.
The afternoon was filled with chateau activities including zip lines, air rifle shooting, assault courses and a blind trails. The boys rose well to the challenges and the instructors were impressed with their attitudes. The evening featured a lovely dinner followed by some evening tracking and camouflage activities for the kids.
Wednesday was a more somber day as we were heading east to the Somme. The boys learned a great deal at the museum at Albert and they listened well and showed a mature and respectful attitude at Thiepval, the Lochnagar Crater and the Newfoundland memorial at Beaumont-Hamel. At the cemetery at Avaluy Wood, the boys laid a wreath, read poems and played the last post; it was a touching end to a memorable day.
Thursday was a full day of activities. Well don't to the boys who managed to overcome fears and worries over height and water. The evening brought rowdy and fun campfire before pre-bed packing and a final night at Chateau du Broutel.
Friday saw the boys complete their final activity and a visit to the snail farm. Some squirmy faces were made but for the most part the boys made a good effort to try them.
Huge thanks to the staff for taking the trip, particularly Mrs Jeffery for organising it. It was a busy and hard week but the boys grew, showed some excellent qualities and had a great time along the way.
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