Term 2 Week 3

Brrrrrrrrrr its cold.   And wet.  It's cold and wet and I've STILL not had any snow.  I'm one disappointed bunny.  

So back to this week.  Parents week!  Lots of visits from the children and their parents into our Outdoor Learning Area. Tuesday specifically springs to mind when two mothers and a grandmother said they wanted a "tour" of sorts, only to be greeted with a wall of frozen rain descending upon them.  To be fair to them, they braved it out as I described what was currently happening (beyond the obvious hail storm) in Outdoor Learning.  It was like an adults version of "Lets Come Outside" (Theme tune please).  All I need now is a dog. 

So where do we start?  Monday had some interesting aspects to it.  We began by having Dragonflies expand on their "Nature Bracelets" by upgrading them to "Nature bags" where each child was allocated a specific amount and size of a certain item (or items).  The children really seemed to take to the task which is good considering it was only their second session outside.  Grasshoppers went for a more aquatic themed approach by going searching for fish in Outdoor Learning.  One of the children was able not only to tell me the names of the animals he found but also the specific category - so proud.  Squirrels braved the elements, because by this point the wind had kicked in and was making things interesting (such as killing off the epic fire I'd built), yet they got involved with making the den and all clambered in, tails and all, to get some much needed shelter.  Finally Ash came out to work on their I.E.P and communication targets.  The children in Ash really do seem to enjoy coming outside, which makes me a little bit happier on the inside.  I'm generally a happy person. 

Tuesday and the gales were back with more hail, rain, and general all round unpleasantness.  So we went out in it.  Admittedly this was one of the days where I was happy to bring spare clothes and socks (no one likes wet socks).  Butterflies linked their English Story with Outdoor Learning about Pirates and so we went out with the children who had  their own treasure chests and went searching for gold coins around the community playground.  Woodpeckers re-enacted Hanzel and Gretel by taking our children through our Forest Walk and having them leave breadcrumbs behind them which they then had to use to follow their way back to class.  The children really got involved with this by even pretending on one or two occasions to get lost and had to find their way back to the trail.  Foxes (Highlight of The Week).  What do I say about Foxes.  This was just a whole bunch of fun.  Again we had some guests come and visit us as the class is wanting to make a bird box.  So what do you do?  You get the children learning how to use a hammer and nails and a saw, is what you do.  

One of the parents commented "This is really good.  We never did anything like this when I was their age." To which I couldn't help but respond "That's because you didn't have someone as crazy as me working with you at that age."  

But the children REALLY loved doing it, and they took it very seriously, and weren't at all messing around and seemed to take ownership that they were doing (with adult supervision) some "grown up work" if you will.  

Hedgehogs did an expansion on a science experiment using cars, ramps and predicting distances.  The problem sometimes is when you get a car that decides it has a mind of its own and it wants to go completely against the laws of physics and logic.  But thats a different story for a different time.  

Wednesday was time for Elm to come out and develop their communication skills.  Badgers came out (with parental visitors) and used tuff trays to recreate certain pages of The Gruffalo.  One child seemed to be absorbed in the sensory exploration of the "snake log pile" and was relaxed throughout the entire time he was there with his mother.  

Thursday.  What happened Thursday.  I got wet.  But then, considering that this hadn't been any different to the previous three days it wasn't unusual.  Thursday starts with Poplar and Beech.  Poplar wanted something rather specific, and at first I wasn't quite sure how we were going to pull it off.  They wanted to work on the childrens team building and interaction.  We all know that this can be quite hard for our children to do BUT we gave it a go by having the class split into boys (YAY) vs girls (BOOOOO) and having them do relay races where there were only a specific amount of items that they could collect and they had to wait till another member of their team had returned before the next one set off.  And it worked quite well I think.  What was brilliant to see, was a young boy who wouldn't even touch a stick three weeks ago, progress from picking it up between his thumb and index finger at the end, to boldly grasping it and running back to his line - Just another proud moment for us and for him AND he did it with a smile on his face too! 

Another proud moment was having Rowan class come out to do their work, and one young boy turning to me who, admittedly, has had a few struggles coming out, and saying "You see those over there?" to which I responded "the trees, yes?" He said "I love them." And he does.  He loves just wandering through the tree line, for whatever reason, whether its imagination of what he's doing in there, the sounds, the sense of adventure; he just enjoys being in there.  So I got down to his level and said "I'll do you a deal.  You do your work, and do it properly, and you can go in there before we go back to class." We sealed the deal with a high five and off he went.  He did the work, had some time playing in the tree line and then came quietly back to class before telling me "I love the trees, but I don't like the rain." And so I explained what the purpose of the rain was and why the trees needed it, which he seemed to accept.  Honestly, it may not sound like much on paper but for me, that was just one moment of what makes my job a pleasure to do.  

Friday.  Friday was....oh yeh, wet.  Did I mention we'd had rain?  I start Fridays with Owls class.  Over the past weeks we've been making our dens bigger and bigger and bigger until eventually we're planning on having them build flats.  But till then, we've been increasing the size of the sticks we use and they are really starting to get it.  One young man did something rather interesting though.  While building his den,  he began to differentiate certain sizes and shapes of sticks for specific areas.  For the roof he always used the stronger, thicker sticks (sound thinking, if you ask me) and left the slightly thinner ones for his walls.  It was really interesting to see.  Bees class finished off their branches that they've been working on, to help build the roof of our Den.  I gave them the option of putting them on the roof themselves.  They said I could do it.

Rabbits.  They came.  They saw.  They ran into the fields.  They lost their shoes.  They went back inside.  Bless their little paws.  

Spiders topped off the week by using natural elements to add to their picture displays for under the sea.  

We've still got a long way to go but hopefully we will soon have a shed with a roof and a door and everything in our Outdoor Learning area.  I plan to use this as my man-cave.  

Till next time: Wrap up warm, zip up your coat and get outside! 

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Swinton

Springwood Primary School (Years 1 – 6)

Barton Road

Swinton

Manchester

M27 5LP

Tel: 0161 778 0022

Craig Hall

Springwood Primary School

Preston Avenue

Irlam

Manchester

M44 5XB

Tel: 0161 921 2170