Term 2 Week 4

Great weather for the ducks eh?  As we move rapidly through this half term things continue to develop, we learn some new things about what we can do in Outdoor Learning but most of all, we get wet.  Like toe soaking, hair drenching, mud splatteringly wet.  And I love it.  It's brilliant.  Wouldn't change it for anything.  

Now then, would you like to know what we've been getting up to outside?  Well I was very excited to have a debut visit from one of our teachers, Tracey Hartley, from Dragonflies who came out with her...not sure what a group of dragonflies is called to be honest....we'll go for swarm...anyways,  Tracey came outside for her first visit with her swarm and did a cracking lesson on transient art (Panto crowd: ooooooooo).  And the children loved it, they took to their task like....well like a swarm of industrious dragonflies I suppose.  But it was great....and wet.  

Next was Grasshoppers going on a search for a variety of aquatic life in the Outdoor Learning area.  Amazing what you can find in Outdoor Learning these days.  Unfortunately Squirrels couldn't come out this week but promised they'll go nuts next week (BOM BOM).  Followed on were Ash class and Caterpillars.  Caterpillars came and had a look around at the area and explored, while Ash gathered together and planted Cress in individual plant pots.  We'll keep you informed to see if anything happens over the coming weeks there. 

Tuesday saw Woodpeckers come out and have a go at individual den building with their children while also collecting sticks they could use to build a "house made of sticks" from "The three little pigs".  Hedgehogs were out working on their communication targets and learning to differentiate between multicoloured balls and then to understand the instructions that were being given to them and how that progressed into interacting with one another.  Lots of fun that one.  Foxes also came out and gathered up their sticks to build a "house made of sticks" for "the three little pigs"

Wednesday saw communication work for Elm.  This has been a gradual progression for some time but the children are even exchanging items with one another now, and so this is encouraging to see that as time has gone on they're coming along with what we're wanting to achieve with them.  Badgers moved onto the next page of their story of "The Gruffalo" and so we used sticks and mud to build "an owl house".   

Thursday.  This was the highlight this week.  Rowan class just made me so happy, and why did they do this?  Well they're learning about Ancient Greece and so we decided to try and build an ancient greek temple.  Simple enough.  What made this session so brilliant is that I made a deal with one of the children, that if he did his work, he could go into the tree line and explore.  This is something he tells me that he really likes doing and so I said "okay, you do your work and do it right and then you can go" and so we high-fived to seal the deal.  Well, suddenly he forgot about going off to his favourite spot but just threw himself into the activity and really engaged with it and I had to remind him that once he'd done his work he could go.  

Well then it got more interesting.  

One by one as the children had finished, WITHOUT STAFF PROMPTING THEM, they began to replicate the activity but on a much larger scale by finding bigger branches and trying to build AS A GROUP.  Now look, you don't want to read too much into things, I get that, but this was just such an unexpected thing that as a staff we sort of just, stood back, and let them carry on without interfering.  Unfortunately the ground was too hard on the big field for them to get their branches to stand but they all had a few attempts and gave up, but they still carried on interacting with one another before breaking off, and so for me this gets highlight of the week.  Please check out the photos in the gallery.  These are our children and we're very proud of them and the work they do at Springwood. 

Poplar have been working on communication but rather than at the individual level, as a group, as we try to get them to interact more with one another and work together.  So we came up with a few activities to try and get them to work together.  One of these activities was a construction type game, where they had to wait for the other person to finish before the next child went and take turns in building the biggest tower.  One of the children, who previously wouldn't even touch a stick was now fully grasping it and placing it on to the table when it was his turn.  Little moments like this are just one of the reasons why I love my job.  Beech have also focused on their individual childrens communication, and they are seemed to really engage with this activity.

Finally for thursday, Maple came out and ran a Marathon.   Albeit a Springwood Marathon, but it was a Marathon non the less.  It was our Marathon.  The young gentlemen in the class loved it, and had a great time darting all over the place.  

Friday came quickly round, and in Owls we've been gradually progressing the size of the Dens we built.  I'm also going to include a seperate gallery for these because we had a cracking little moment in this session, which I'll get to in a minute.  As I was saying, this time we went BIG.  We sacked off the sticks and twigs and got LOGS and used some tarp to create three types of shelters in our BIG FIELD (not sure why the capitals).  The little magic moment came when the children had helped build part of the final den, and then one of the children picked up the "roof" and independently went to put it on without anyone telling him.  Then he and another children got inside the den, and just seemed to be still.  For these two children in particular, who are so energetic in their day to day lives, it was lovely to see them both just relax and rest for a second, which is something I've never seen them do and even the staff commented on it.  Another cracking moment.  

Bees, industrious as ever, helped me work on The Den by stripping off the outer bark of more logs that will either go into the roof or the fencing.  Or who knows, perhaps even some furniture?  Genuine springwood rocking chair, anyone? Finally Spiders came out and added some colour to their under the sea pictures that they'd previously decorated using real outdoor learning area material.  

So there you go.  Lots done, plenty more to do.  Check out the galleries and I'll see you next week for another update 

:-) 

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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