Another two weeks of Free Ranger's Forest School holiday club are over and they were fantastic! Despite the weather starting off a little wet, the Spring sun came through and graced us with two weeks of warmth and rays. It was an interesting two weeks to lead, and each group brought its own dynamic and focus.
Week 1 saw plenty of Forest Schoolers descend on Free Rangers Nursery to utilise our outdoor areas. The children found ingenious new ways of using the facilities and resources. We are incredibly lucky at Free Rangers to have a real mix of spaces which allows us to offer a diverse and immersive Forest School experience. From our assault courses and cabins, to the brook and woodland to our dedicated wildlife pond we have a wide array of environments to keep the children entertained. Once the children had settled and explored, they very quickly got down to some serious and cooperative play. The children connected up rope swings and zip lines, built dens together and even a football goal complete with net and a prison as part of a wider game the children wanted to play. The imaginations of children never cases to amaze and despite football not being my first choice of Forest School activity, the children were challenged to build the goal posts, make them secure and add a net on too which they succeeded to do with ease! Three boys worked really well together to complete this task and had a little post lunch kick about before setting off down to the pond. Our pond was alive with life, and we found some really exciting finds, many of which some of our budding entomologists were fascinated by. The toads and Smooth Newts were especially exciting too see and with a little encouragement everyone had a little hold. These weren't the only interesting living things we found, as our beautiful resident slowworm (or the snake as some called it) made an appearance. It was also a very crafty week as several of the children came with us with requests of wanting to 'make' something. We helped the children to make bows and arrows, a wooden leaf, and even 'Penelope' a wooden dolly (that really tested my abilities!) alongside the obligatory pointy stick.
We ventured to All Hallows in Week 2, which offers a deeper Forest School experience set in several acres of beautiful mixed deciduous woodland, carpeted this time of year in an abundant layer of wild garlic, just coming into flower. Because of the wooded setting the dynamic is often calmer and more focused (sometimes) and allows the children to focus on tasks as opposed to the openness of Free Rangers where the ability to run around is more freely accessible. This week bug hunts were really popular again as they scoured the ground looking for creepy crawlies, but mostly the children created games and scenarios, climbed trees, zipped down our zip line, played on the boat, working out how to raise and lower the flag and sails, and only came to the adults when they wanted help in either building a den, lighting a fire outside their den or using some tools to develop their play. They also got creative with clay making some beautiful etched and engraved clay which the children instigated.
Both weeks saw the children scoff down some delicious pizzas and I was rather chuffed at how they turned out! Some had some campfire calzone style deliciousness, where as others had some wood fired pizzas made in both the pizza ovens at Free Rangers and All Hallows all made by the children. We also offered come pasta and baked potatoes to those who didn't fancy a pizza. There were also bananas, oranges, drinks and obligatory marshmallows toasted on the glowing embers at the end of a hard days play. I was really pleased with how both weeks turned out and we look forward to welcoming the children back next time to Forest School Holiday Club with Free Rangers during the May Half Term here at Free Rangers Nursery: Tue 27th - Friday 30th May.Bookings are now being taken for these dates so do get in touch...
If you would like to see pictures of the two weeks please follow the link below! (redirected to Flickr)
Thanks for reading,