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Woodland School

December 2023

Thankfulness and forgiveness

This month we celebrated this special time of year with a yuletide spiral of evergreen branches.  We celebrated all the good things that have happened this year, leaving behind the things that haven't felt so good and forgiving others. We look towards the New Year and new beginnings, thanking God for all our blessings and gifts.

Happy Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!


Kindness, respect, awe and wonder!

We are very lucky to have a variety of wild birds in our Woodland School site. However, I think our favourite has to be the very tame little robin that comes to visit the children each week and has been getting progressively bolder. It will now sit on my hand to eat at times when the woodland school is quiet and calm. The children love to see their little visitor each week!

November 2023

Friendship and perseverance

This month we have been creating willow wreaths and decorating them with natural materials. We have had some wonderful creations, including spider webs with some very large spiders!

The weaving and binding of the wreaths was tricky and fiddly but the children persevered and helped each other - we found that two pairs of hands were definitely easier than one with some of the threading.

Empathy and spiritual understanding

Some stormy weather in November meant that we took our Woodland School sessions inside. Whilst the rain poured down, we stayed cosy and used the opportunity to share some stories using natural materials.

The children were involved in therapeutic storytelling; The Brave Little Tree and also the tale of The Boastful Owls. Through these stories the children learn about everyday challenges and how the characters learn to overcome them.

October 2023

Awe and wonder

Respecting nature

It's been a wonderfully warm October so far, with some rather beautiful invertebrates to be seen; a pale tussock moth caterpillar was quite something to behold! The butterflies have been enjoying the autumn sunshine and some snails eggs held the children's interest for quite some time!



September 2023   

Autumn in full glory!    

Forgiveness, truthfulness, friendship, generosity and kindness    


Friendship bracelets

One of the things that the children love to do is to create friendship bracelets for one another. They have got into the habit of presenting their bracelet and saying why the receiver is special to them. It is a wonderful gift to be told why you are so special to that person! They often use this activity if their has been any fallings out or arguments. It is a wonderful way for the children to learn about forgiveness and telling the truth, giving them agency and control over solving friendship issues and misunderstanding.


September has a been a super-busy month full of beautiful crafting projects. The Autumn brings us many wonderful things - conkers, acorns, seed and nuts, to name but a few! We have been using all these things in our woodland crafts.

The awe and wonder of trees. Thanking God for our wonderful trees!

Thankfulness, respect and courage.

We have been thinking about and celebrating trees.

Our trees in the Woodland School give us so much pleasure with their beauty and shade. We have been enjoying the beech nuts and hazelnuts, straight from their shells. Some of the children have enjoyed climbing the laurel tree with its ladder-like arrangement of branches (only one child per branch at any one time!) They have shown courage and perseverance when climbing in the upper part of the branches, being very careful and testing out each branch before they put their weight on it.

We have been creating thank you prayers and blessings for our beautiful trees.



July 2023

House martin release!

Compassion, kindness and respect

The children were so excited to have a visit from our little house martin rescue team (Nicki Quinn and her colleagues). Nicki brought the house martin back to school explaining that it was very important to release it from where it hatched. It was released in good time for it to fill up on lots of insects and other food to make it strong, ready for its epic flight to the continent of Africa in the Autumn. We will expect to see this bird back next year as it will find its way back to the exact same location...incredible!

June 2023

House martin rescue!

Compassion, kindness and respect

June has been the most beautiful month of hot, sunny weather. We enjoyed watching the house martins building their nests, busily feeding their young. The dry weather caused some of the nests to dry out and one of the nests crumbled near the entrance . Sadly, some of the fledglings fell down and perished. We managed to save one and it was taken to a local bird rescue centre where it is doing very well!



Celebrating the summer solstice

Thankfulness and respect

We celebrated the summer solstice this month, giving thanks to the sun and the seasons. We made sun mandalas from flowers, meadow grass hoops, sun pendants and sunbeam sticks. We sang simple songs that we had made up using the glockenspiels to give thanks for all the wonderful things nature brings us.  


Musical performances using a variety of percussion instruments and glockenspiels.

Friendship and trust

Some of the children wanted to create their own songs of thanks using the natural instruments. They were keen to perform these to the rest of the group. The audience decided that they wanted to pay for the performances with pebble coins...these were added to a money bowl as they came to sit and watch the show! The children had so much fun in their groups and it was such a pleasure to witness!

May 2023

Orienteering in the Woodland School


During the month of May, the children took part in some orienteering.  They used a map of the area to locate chosen points in the Woodland school grounds. this activity was very popular. It was tricky to find some of the locations but the children persevered very well.



Using our fresh herbs to make tea


We also used our fresh herbs growing in our vegetable beds. We made mint tea and lemon balm tea. The children were given the chance to try them both - they went down very well, especially with a biscuit to dip in!

Natural healing!

The Woodland School is full of nettles at the moment. The children are fully aware that if they want to stay protected they should be wearing long trousers. However, during the recent heatwave, some children have opted for staying in shorter trousers and have suffered the consequences! The children have been making a poultice from plantain to use for nettle stings. Whilst not a miracle cure, it does seem to be more effective than the more traditional dock leaves.

Tool work, managing risk and promoting responsibility

Trust and respect

As ever, tool work is a very popular area for working in Woodland School. The children bring their own ideas and plans for what they want to make. They are able to use the tools responsibly and safely and are excellent at keeping eachother safe, with reminders of space bubbles and safe tool use. We have had lots of children bring their unfinished work back each week to continue with their work. It has been so lovely to see them gain confidence in what they can achieve.

April 2023

Spring has sprung and the return of our house martins!

Planting wild flower seeds and potatoes

April in Woodland School was full of spring flower crafts, planting wild flowers and potatoes, cooking over the fire, climbing trees and making nests.The house martins have returned to our school from their long journeys - always a cause for excitement!

March 2023

Friendship and trust

Making our own rope swing, den building and cooking over the fire to keep us warm and toasty!

Our Foundation Base had great fun this week creating their own rope swing. They trusted each other to swing one another and keep one another safe.

They also made their own dens. It was a chilly day but the warm strawberry and apple shortbreads helped to keep them toasty. The pictures say it all!


World Book day 2023

Friendship and fun!


Our World Book Day was such a fun-filled day. Foxes, rabbits, wizards and stick people (to name but a few!) enjoyed Woodland sessions of stories, campfire treats, den-building and musical instruments.

Early signs of Spring in our Woodland School. 

Thankfulness, respect and kindness


Even though it has been a chilly few weeks, we have noticed the signs of early Spring - such a wonderful site amidst the winter landscape! Lilo, our neighbourly cat, has been enjoying the sunshine and watching the children play. He is getting less shy and the children love to see him when he comes to pay a visit.  Some interesting, brightly coloured fungi also caught our eye - the vibrant red really stood out against the dead leaves on the ground.

February 2023

Finding history in our rich Dorset soil!

This month Jamie made a very exciting discovery buried deep in the earth!

The children love digging in the Woodland School area and whilst loosening up the earth ready for our springtime planting, Jamie's spade struck  something metal and round. After careful extraction and gentle cleaning, the object was revealed - an old one penny coin made in 1944. We were all very excited and Jamie took the coin back to class to find out more.


The discovery of this treasure from the past has inspired a great deal more digging, the children becoming archeologists and sorting their treasures into groups and categories.  


Story telling using nature and traditional tales from around the world as our inspiration

What to do when the weather is stormy, wet and windy?... the perfect opportunity for some storytelling inside using natural materials and our story-telling dolls. The children make these dolls in our Woodland School sessions, we like to keep some of their faces blank, as this allows us to use them creatively in all sorts of story settings where they have differing characters and emotions. Some of the children also used our steiner-style 4 seasons dolls for creating stories about weather and the seasons.The children love being told stories, often traditional tales from around the world, using the dolls and are natural story-tellers themselves.

January 2023

Perseverance, compassion, service


Working within the curriculum strand of 'Rope' from our Woodland School curriculum - weaving, threading, knotting and attaching

This month we have been working hard in our Woodland School curriculum area of Rope.

This area includes weaving, knotting, threading and attaching. This type of work is amazing for developing fine motor skills, patience and can be also extremely self-regulating and calming. Some of the children do find this work challenging but show amazing perseverance. Using these skills, the children have been able to create beautiful pieces of artwork and functional threaded bird feeders to care for our feathered friends during these winter months when food is scarce. They worked so hard to create the feeders for our little feathered friends in their time of need.



December 2022

Thankfulness and respect

Awe and wonder - frosty days!


The second week of December brought us very icy, freezing conditions. However, we were also blessed with some beautiful sunshine that melted the frost lying away from the shade. We played lots of fast, active team games at the bottom of the field where the sunshine had reached to keep us all toasty. The children were also keen to explore the winter wonderland that our grounds had been transformed into. It is always a true privilege to observe and share their awe and wonder for our amazing natural world.

December 2022

Justice, spirituality and respect


Enjoying moments of peace in nature, delicious campfire treats, singing a Ghanian song and moving to keep warm!

The first day of the month was a beautiful, chilly day. The first thing we noticed as we made our way up to the fire circle were the long rays of golden sunshine shining through the trees. We took a little time to enjoy the moment, but needed to quickly get moving again to keep warm. The session was den building with the challenges of making a group sign, pretend fire and delicious food from the mud kitchen!


We finished with a warming real fire and campfire jammy doughnuts cooked in butter and a rousing Ghanian song that we sang in rounds. Whenever we share treats around the fire, the children are very keen to ensure that the treats are shared equally. These are some of their early experiences of justice; the Woodland School creates many organic situations where the children will naturally experience this and they are constantly learning how to make situations fairer for all.

November 2022

Service, perseverance and generosity

Planting saplings in our Woodland School - caring for the future of our planet

We have been very excited to get our trees from the Woodland Trust this week. This year we have a selection of Wild Cherry, Silver Birch and Rowan trees to plant around our site and the children have been working really hard to get them into the ground before the frosts arrive. When the children are working hard for our wonderful planet they work with extra enthusiasm and grit!





November 2022

Trust and courage

Tool safety and using a billhook to cut firewood

With the recent inclement weather, all our kindling was very wet ... so it was time to create some batons from our logs.  Some of the children were keen to use the billhook to chop some thin strips from the logs. They showed a sensible risk awareness and were able to use this tool safely and with a high level of responsibility, both for themselves and their partner. We enjoyed a wonderful, warm fire from all their hard work!


October and November 2022

Awe and wonder - Autumn in all its beauty!

Glorious Autumn is well underway with the fiery leaves and an abundance of acorns, conkers and beautiful fungi. We have been using all the gifts that nature provides to make some woodland crafts, leaf art and cooking swedish fika (cinnamon and butter tortillas) over the fire to share around the firepit. We also have been using the cooler mornings to study the spiderwebs covered in dew - these little creatures are completely awe-inspiring!



September and October 2022

Thankfulness and friendship

Enjoying the juicy, sweet apples grown on our own trees!

Autumn term started quite mild and we were lucky enough to have some sunny, dry weather.  

Our apple tree produced some beautifully sweet, rosy apples and the children have been enjoying them to the full, both fresh straight from the tree and cooked.  We chopped some up and cooked them over the fire with blackberries to make a colourful jam. This was enjoyed on a shortbread or ginger biscuit.


The children have got very good at selecting firewood from the site, choosing the dry, dead wood and sorting it in size order to make feeding the fire easy and practical.



Respect, awe and wonder!

Migration and our house martins.

Playing a running game where the children were house martins encountering the many dangers on their long journey!

Coming back to school to notice that all the housemartins nests were empty, with no sign of any of the birds which were so busy at the end of the summer term, got us thinking about the migrating birds and the long journeys that they take at this time of the year. We incorporated this learning into running games where we were migrating swifts flying from England to African countries. The birds encountered various dangers along the way such as birds of prey, storms, hunger and exhaustion. Some swifts were caught by these dangers as they made their journey - but much fun and energy was expended and the children warmed up nicely on a cool autumn morning!

Autumn crafts

Autumn seeds and fruits have been endless sources of fun and creativity. Acorns and conkers were the star of the show this week during our sessions. We had fun making characters from all sorts of natural resources!

Service, perseverance, generosity and friendship

Physical work for an excellent cause!

Also, a very big WELL DONE to these hard-working boys from Silver Birch Class who cleared a large area of nettles and weeds behind our Mud Kitchen, ready for our new delivery of trees, due to arrive soon from the Woodland Trust. They worked so hard, despite in being a physically challenging task, to help our environment and wonderful natural world.

June and July

Spirituality and peace


Summer in the woodland - using the sense of smell to help us create woven summer crafts. Celebrating birthdays with cakes in the woodland.

Mindfulness moments enjoying the sounds of summer and cloud gazing


With so much sunshine, the final two months of the term have been filled with lots of play in the cool shade of the trees for Blossom Class. We have spent Mondays and Tuesdays up in the Woodland School and have been using some of the colourful wild flowers and herbs in our woodland crafts.We made woven dream catchers threaded with lavender, mint, rosemary and rosebay willowherb - they really did smell wonderful!

Towards the end of the term the children enjoyed some delicious cakes brought in for a birthday treat by George. Summer in the woodland, there's no better place to be...we have been enjoying moments of peace, lying in the shade and listening to the sounds of nature. Cloud watching has also been popular with sound amazing shapes and creatures in the sky!




May 2022

Fire and fire skills - managing risk and promoting responsibility


Our last sessions before half term were all about fire. The children learnt about the fire triangle and the three key things that a fire needs to burn. The children collected dry, fallen wood from the site, organising it into areas according to the thickness of the branches.  They were looking for dry branches and twigs that snapped when broken, especially for the kindling.  The children learnt about preparing a fire and the placing of the wood to create as much oxygen at the heart of the fire as possible.  Once a good fire was going, the kettle was put on for hot chocolates and a snack around the fire.  Some of the older children practised using flint and steels to create sparks.  The safety rules of the fire were revisited and also the safe way to extinguish an open fire. It was a great day full of fun and the children shared ideas of what they would like to be included in the sessions after half term. 

May 2022

Courage, respect and kindness

Investigating our natural world and showing respect and kindness

Our Woodland School is full of life! The plants are growing so quickly and everything looks fresh, green and lush. There are many amazing things to see and the children have enjoyed spotting and studying some of the invertebrates found in the area. They have been very gentle and shown great respect when returning these creatures to their original habitats.


Jumping like a springtail!

One of the amazing creatures that we have found in the leaves are the tiny springtails that can jump so high! This inspired us to work on our jumping skills as we tried to copy their skills... the children did an incredible job! Some were a little apprehensive to jump off the wooden stumps at first but showed courage and soon felt more confident.


Busy bees and pollination!

We have noticed lots of bees recently too. The children learnt about how these amazing little creatures fly from flower to flower collecting the nectar and how this helps to pollinate the flowers.The children made pinecone bees and suspended them on sticks; they enjoyed running around the Woodland School pollinating the flowers with their pinecone bees.


April 2022

Making and cooking bread over the fire on natural skewers

Last week Beech Class cooked bread rolls over the fire. They used freshly cut hazelwood skewers and wrapped the dough around the wood. They had to ensure they rotated their skewers to allow the bread to cook evenly. They learnt that cooking directly over the flame led to charred bread, whilst holding it near to glowing embers meant the bread was less likely to burn. There were mixed opinions over the taste, although most loved it. (A dollop of raspberry jam certainly helped to make them extra popular!) The children all remembered the safety rules and showed real responsibility around the fire pit.

March 2022

Bow and arrows, kestrel feathers, campfire popcorn, tripod dens and much more!

At the start of this week, Year 4 had their residential visit to Hooke Court. Year 3 were lucky enough to have lots of time in the Woodland School during the first two days. The children worked together so co-operatively, making group shelters, cooking popcorn over the fire and using tools and wood to build many different things. Several of the children were keen to have a go at making bow and arrows. They used kestrel and pheasant feathers to decorate their arrows. We concluded this special time that that shared together with toffee apple slices cooked over the fire and lots of discussion about all the things they had enjoyed.  So much learning and so much fun; it was a real privilege to work with Year 3 this week!