Nursery children have continued to enjoy a range of experiences in the College Outdoor Learning Resource. Most recently however, they have worked within their own area, where 27 barrow loads of chips have been laid to make it less muddy for them. The front of College grounds has also been used. Children have made creature habitats, planted baby potatoes in bags and acted as nature detectorists thus far.
On a beautifully warm and dry morning, 10 pupils aged 3-4 years, walked across with their Early Years Teacher, Lucy Huckle, and Early Years Assistants Esme Ash and Demelza Leather, to the college’s Outdoor Learning Resource and meet Ms Unwin. Crossing the road carefully, they walked ‘crocodile’ style, (remember that?), along the safe walkway to the wild area. Seeing it for the first time elicited the general response ‘wow’, some were enthralled by the butterflies fluttering around.
Just sitting down and for some, lying, on the warm giant blue tarpaulin was fun enough. Children were told about stinging nettles and shown squirrel nibbled apples. They didn’t touch these. Soon however, we were in the wild wood and finding twigs, leaves, bark and red poppy fragments. These were carefully carried back to the tarpaulin but not before carefully balancing and walking along a giant log (with teachers help).
Each child attempted, successfully, to create their own 3-dimensional picture using what they had collected. These ranged from flowers, to butterflies to dragons! Next, they divided into small groups to go and explore. Hands washed, the blue tarp beckoned again. Squash was prepared for the children to drink, tea for the staff and carrots and apples all round. Nothing was wasted; tea bags and any dropped snacks were added to compost bin 4. By now an hour had passed and it was time to go.
The following week was damp but this did not deter the intrepid ten. They looked at the racing boats on the trailer, filled a wheelbarrow with wood chippings and then took it in turns to wheel it (with teacher support), before laying it on the trail. This took time and energy but all were very keen to do it. Next we collected leaves according to shape and pegged them on the washing line, before helping to put up a den to shelter from the drizzle. Once this eased off they all went to explore a different place in the woods, including climbing onto and jumping off the multi coloured log seats around the fire pit. Finally, after colouring in a picture sitting on the big chairs in the classroom, squash, apple and biscuit were enjoyed by all. Saying goodbye to everything we passed, we gradually made our way back to the science gate, already looking forward to our next visit.[/block]
The College Nursery group of 22 children + 5 staff have been the latest group to use our woodland facility. With Ms Unwin setting up a range of activities to stimulate and interest, they have explored the whole area with their teachers and it has been the highlight of each week. So far they have experienced digging, planting, watering, filling, carrying, climbing, jumping, sliding. They have used the dens, extra- large tarpaulin, sprinkler, trowels, soil, compost, wood shavings, leaves. The children also helped to make a recycled sheep planter for the Launceston Show.