Wild autumn in our Forest School

Seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness, Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun…

Autumn has certainly arrived in our forest school, just look at all the spectacular colours. We have left the apples on the ground in our wild area for thrushes to enjoy, and simply let nature move in! We now need to rake out the excess vegetation and fallen leaves from our lovely school pond to help our pond life.

It will be year 5s turn for forest school this week, what autumn activities will they do?

Garden club get to work tidying the school grounds.

Our gardening club is for the older children in the school and this week we have been busy helping to clear up fallen leaves and tidying the vegetable plot. We have lots of plans to do some planting in the Spring so we want to make sure it’s all ready. The hazel nuts we collected we put out for the squirrels to enjoy and we even got to take home some lovely runner beans for our own teas.

17th June. Tree planting for Elm’s greenfingers club

In 2017 the woodland trust very kindly donated many tree saplng to the schhol for the children to plant within the grounds. When the saplings arrived they were very delicate so we planted into pots to grow mature int oa size that could withstand life in school grounds.

We started the club with a good look at all the different trees that we would be planting into bigger pots. There were Oaks, Silver Birch, Rowan, Cherry, Hazel and Willow.

Our sapling trees are now much happier in their larger pots. All ready to be planted out next year.

17th June. Cucumbers and caterpillars for Yew class

The Year 1 outside area is really starting to blossom  with all of the vegetable and flower seeds that the children have been planting.

After the children had found themselves some gloves and aprons we got to work on planting their cucumber and star-flower seedlings.

Then it was time to top fill the potatoes with compost, they then investigate how the caterpillars are progressing the nasturtium flowers.

It’s so interesting to see how the caterpillars are growing over the weeks. They eat a phenomenal amount of food and grow at an astonishing rate. It’s going to be fantastic for the children to see them develop into butterflies.

Year 1 investigate Cuckoo spit, Caterpillars and munching Black-fly.

Today the children from Silver Birch class were able to investigate some amazing bugs on the nasturtium flowers that they planted at the beginning of term.

 Firstly they discovered a profusion of cabbage white caterpillars, connecting nicely to their field trip to the butterfly farm last week. We had noticed lots of beautiful cabbage white butterflies floating around the flowers a few weeks ago laying their eggs on the underside of the leaves. Now that the caterpillars have hatched they are feasting. This is sadly to the detriment of the plants but what a wonderful thing for the children to witness first hand.

Next we took a look at the ‘cuckoo spit’. This frothy profusion is the home to the nymph of the frog-hopper bug. The foam serves a number of purposes. It hides the nymph from the view of predators and it insulates against heat and cold, providing thermal and moisture control, without the foam the insect would quickly dry up. The nymphs pierce plants and suck sap causing very little damage to the plant, much of the filtered fluids go into the production of the foam, which has an acrid taste, deterring predators. An adult frog-hopper or spittle-bug can jump 100 x their own size. They spend their lives jumping from plant to plant.

Our poor nasturtium flowers were also pickled in black fly a very common sap sucking insect that infests many vegetable and flowering plants. Rather unsightly but easily controlled with soapy water.

Year 1 Green-fingers potatoes are growing

The potatoes that the children planted before half term are growing well and the time has come to start ‘banking’ them up. They got to see how the baby potatoes grow from the roots coming out of the original potatoe.

The children then topped up the soil around the new growth. We are all looking forward to a bumper harvest in the coming months.

May 23rd. Silver birch visit the vegetable patch.

Silver Birch class have been conducting some experiments with runner bean seeds.  Each group subjected their beans to different growing conditions to show how it would effect their germination. Mrs Sheldon explained how and why some of the beans grew well and some didn’t grow at all.

The whole class came along to the vegetable patch to plant their beans and sunflowers. They now have their very own space in the potager garden.