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Forest Week in the Buskett Woodlands and the School Nature Area

By Ms. Donna Desira - Grade 1 ( KG2) Teacher.

As a result of a recent class activity called "We're going on a bear hunt," I noticed that the children seemed very interested in the idea of being outdoors and all the fun activities that comes with it, such as camping, climbing trees, playing in the soil, campfires and of course toasting marshmallows.

Seeing how enthusiastic they all seemed and knowing how much they enjoyed previous activities held in the nature area, it was decided that we would do well to create an outdoor adventure. We planned that it would span over a whole week which would give us enough time to achieve two main aims. The first would see us introduce life skills which they would be able to learn and apply now and in the future, secondly we would look to incorporate our daily classroom lessons which include but not limited to Maths, Maltese and English whilst using nature and outdoor activities as the start pointing & main theme of the week.

So after weeks of extensive research and planning, we stuck a sign on our classroom door saying 'Gone to the Forest' and moved our classroom to the Buskett Woodlands for the week. The children were guided through various learning experiences through nature throughout the whole week with the help of the class team and all parents who were invited to join in. The various fun activities included: a letter hunt where tree logs were stamped with the letters of the alphabet in both lower & upper case. These were then hidden around the outdoor area we occupied in Buskett. The children were then paired up & each pair assigned to a letter of the alphabet. The task required each child to find the hidden letter and match it to the corresponding letter of their partner.

Pebbled Letters, where the children used letter sounds to spell their names. Number Value, where children were again assigned to a number, as a result, they were expected to use elements of nature such as stones, twigs, leaves, pieces of bark & acorns to match the value given to them

Lettuce Potting, Bark Rubbing, Clay Printing, Mud Painting- using pine leaves as paint brushes, Pitching Tents and Multi Sensory Paths and trails.

However I think that the children`s favourite activity was the Spider Web Maze; using wool and yarn to create a web amongst the trees, the activity allowed the children to crawl in, under & above the webs making use of gross motor movements.

The week of activities will draw to an end tonight, with the all-important and highly anticipated camp fire in the School`s nature area to which the parents have also been invited. The children are looking forward to sing songs around the camp-fire while toasting marshmallows.

This has been a fantastic experience, enjoyed not only by the children, but also by the parents and teachers alike. I would like to end by thanking the numerous parents who took the time on a daily basis to offer their time and assistance. I am truly grateful for this & also to my colleagues, Ms. Theresa & Ms. Nikki for their shared enthusiasm and the hours they dedicated to the planning of such a week. This was a team effort which would not have been accomplished without their help. Thank You!

17th March 2017


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