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First Barnsley TSA Forest Schools Taster Day

Posted by on July 22, 2013

This week we saw the first of our Forest School Taster Days for grown ups!

The day was planned to have a variety of activities that could be adapted across the range from eyfs to Y6, and probably beyond, because today showed that even the adults enjoyed the activities – or at least they looked like they were.

Throughout the day we talked about how things could be adapted, what skills the activities could promote and the cross curricular links.

The main emphasis of the day was to deliver through activities, feedback, and discussion the Forest School ethos that Ok IS OK, that the process is more important the product, and the importance of play/child led learning. We might have an activity planned, and an idea of what we want to get out of it, but the children may take it to a whole different level, or go a totally different way. The aim is to build confidence and self-esteem, and today we hope that through our activities and discussion we have helped our participants become more confident in delivering outdoor activities.

We weren’t the only ones in the woods, the Little People live there, they’re very fast moving and can be invisible so we may not come across them, they are scared of big people. We found some dragon’s breath to make bracelets so the Little People wouldn’t be scared when we went inside the woods.

We heard how the Little People had suffered a disaster when their village got destroyed. Our first task to rebuild the village. We talked about examples of how this could relate to topics about communities, habitats etc. We discussed how the activity related to different schemas, and how the different stages of the activity supported different schemas and learning styles, and how all children could be successful and comfortable whether they wanted to work alone or with friends, whether they were fearless explorers or whether they needed the security of being at the edge of the woods.



Soon everyone decided collaboration was the way forward and built shelters together. It was at this point I stepped back and thought, just look at us, a group of adults, getting so involved with making dens in the woods, and apparently loving every minute


HOT POP TIME and sharing ideas about different activities surrounding trees, e.g. how to ‘get to know a tree’, finding your own personal tree using hand print lines, measuring height and age of trees.

Then we learned how to do a clove hitch and shear lashings , using string and sticks to make a star. This gave us first-hand experience of some of the difficulties children may have, or how they may feel if the task feels too complicated for them, but hopefully it demonstrated that everyone can be successful with sensitive intervention, and although some did look a lot more professional than others, ok was ok.


The next activity again involved the different elements that would provide opportunities for supporting children’s different schemas. We were given criteria to collect materials but not told why. It was explained how this fitted with different schema and learning styles , and that some children will collect as asked, while some are more concerned with the physical aspect of exploring, but there is always chance to get the things they need for the next task, and again it’s ok ! We explored the different maths elements of this activity.Page_4

Then we learned about the Boggits who also live in the woods, and we were given a task to help them find their homes after the rain had washed them away. Some of us enjoyed this activity way too much!Page_5


Finally, what better way to finish than with a fire and hot pop and toasted marshmallows, and a chat about what we had done, and ideas for future events.


Thank you to everyone who came, and joined in fully, however crazy we were, you made the day a great success!






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4 Responses to First Barnsley TSA Forest Schools Taster Day

  1. Lottie

    This looks amazing fun!!! Really wanted to come and take part in this day but unfortunately was booked up! Hopefully Gilly will do a taster day that I can attend soon!!! Great stuff Gilly

  2. Lottie

    Not forgetting the other half of the double act,war wounds and all, Wendy :-p

  3. Emma Green

    Absolutely loved this taster day! The best course I have ever been on and so much fun. I came back very inspired with loads of ideas to take back to my setting, even though we only we have a small wooded area. Staff were fantastic and so knowledgeable. I hope they run another one 

  4. Laura Coates

    I really enjoyed this taster day, it inspired me so much. I loved the way that is was delivered it was very hands on, active and fun. I can’t wait to develop our small wooded area back in school. I really hope that you can run more training days like this, it would be good for the other staff that i work with to attend too. Big thank you to the staff involved in this day.