Stone Age Forest School

Children built shelters in the forest

Children from Year 3 from St John’s school Kingston enjoyed a Stone Age themed Forest School at Kingston University today, 11th November 2019.

Children look for inspiration for their cave painting story
Discussions take place during shelter building

The children arrived on the University’s hybrid double decker service and were quickly put to task making shelters and cave painting. Shelters were tested by for the durability by a “storm” delivered by way of a water bottle, this resulted in lots of screaming and excitement as some children got slightly damp.

Over at the cave painting site children learnt about how and why cave painting existed and were able to try out for themselves telling a story using clay and water along with charcoal. The results were two large walls of excellent images.

Hands were used to create Stone Age memories

After a picnic lunch, which included a moment’s silence for Armistice Day, we relocated to our second basecamp and the fire circle. Children we’re allowed to make their own fires in groups using fire steels and some dry wood. After some discussion about what kind of food hunters and gatherers may have found, the main fire was lit to cook some venison for everyone to try. To end we cooked some non-Stone Age marshmallows to celebrate a successful day!

Venison cooking on the main fire
Trying the “hunted” venison
and to end, a little treat, Marshmallows!

We must say a big thank your to all our volunteers that make days like this possible. These include parents of the children and staff and students from Kingston University.

Treehouse project

We had a fun day deconstructing one of our buildings with plenty of volunteers. The shelter on our site had reached the end of it’s useful life and the children wanted a treehouse to play in. So being a child-led forest school we decided to get one built!

The design is a collaboration between the children and the architects.

The wood from the building is to be repurposed for the build. The new treehouse is designed by the children and amazing volunteers from Kingston University Architecture Society and 121.Collective. Thanks to all who came along to help with the removal. We can’t wait for the next step!

The Hogsmill

We are fortunate that our Forest School boarders the Hogsmill River, a globally rare chalk river. Recently we attended the premier of a short film narrated by Griff Rhys Jones. 

It gave a fascinating insight to the life that passes by our site. We will be showing it to all the children that come along to our sessions. You can watch the film below.

St John’s Class 3 at Kingston University

Class 3 from St John’s School Kingston had a fun day of Forest Schooling at the Kingston University Campus today, with whom we have formed a new partnership. The children had a full day of pond dipping, den making and fire lighting topped off with lovely marshmallows.

Children were challenged in teams to make a fully waterproof den using only one tarpaulin and one rope. There were lots of ingenious ideas, with lots of weatherproof dens, though some did get a little damp when the “storm” came along and tested their dens with water!

The pond dipping produced two newts, which was quite a find, as well as mosquito larvae and water snails amongst others. The children spent lots of time with their nets discovering different wildlife.

After a sunny lunch we walked to our second basecamp of the day, through the University to their woodland trail. Once there, the children were shown how to light fires using fire steels and left to their own devices under watchful eyes to create their own. Lots of fun was had trying and learning. We then had a good run around before some marshmallows on the main fire, they were so good we had two each 😉

Thanks to all the volunteer parents and many thanks to the Kingston University staff and students who came along to assist us. A great day was had by all.

Here’s a gallery of images from the day…

Trees for schools award

We are delighted to have been awarded 420 tree saplings from The Woodland Trust to create a hedgerow around the new garden project at St John’s School Kingston.

We have been working  to develop a garden adjacent to our Forest School site at St John’s School, Kingston, for the all the children to use for study, gardening and relaxing. It will have a sensory garden, an allotment, a reflection garden and a small pond for nature.

The trees will arrive in November 2019 for us to plant and contain native hazel, crab apple, downy birch, hawthorn, holly, goat willow. We will be looking fo volunteers to help plant them, so watch this space!