St Pauls School Kings Langley
Just wanted to say a big thank you for the amazing INSET training you run for us on the 18th April 2016. It's certainly had the desired effect with many of the staff now using the area on a regular basis to support their teaching. We have an amazing display in the hall created by Year 5 sharing their poet-ree. They have even painted pictures of trees using sticks. Year 6 have been outdoor artists and other year groups have been den building and bug hunting, so all very successful! Thanks again!Alison.
First Place Nursery in Radlett
Our Forest School sessions with Caroline Langley have been very successful. The children have really enjoyed them and it has been rewarding for the staff to see the children’s self confidence and abilities grow. They are now able to use the woods and field area fully. They use ropes to help them up the slope, collect material to make a shelter together and are noticing the birds, small creatures and plants more. The parents hear all about how the children make boats to float and clay faces on the trees. Caroline and her puppets Charlotte and Billy are very popular and we hope to have them back very soon.
Tricia Kendrick deputy head First Place Nursery in Radlett.
Weston Way Nursery in Baldock
Many of the children attending the nursery have had the opportunity to access the Forest School experience that Caroline Langley offers through her company Down the Woods.
The Forest School experience provides the children with a multitude of experiences that help to build up their self esteem and independence.
Caroline always arrives in plenty of time to complete her weekly risk assessment of the area of woodland the children are going to access. She spends time preparing the area and setting out all the equipment beforehand so as the children move around the woodland garden everything magically appears ready to undertake the next task at hand.
Ground rules are established weekly and then built upon week by week. Some of the many experiences the children enjoy have been snack time, hide and seek game, making homes for toy woodland animals, weaving a dream catcher and listening to a story at the end of the session with Charlotte and Billy, woodland puppets.
During the last session the children have had the opportunity to whittle the end of a stick to then melt a marshmallow over an open fire to create their own snack between two rich tea biscuits.
I have been extremely impressed with the experiences the children had during their Forest School session. Each child has benefited greatly each week from activities on offer. Caroline is very well prepared each week and quickly establishes rapport with each child in the group.
I would unreservedly recommend the Forest School experience delivered by Caroline to any child fortunate enough to be offered the opportunity.
Jane Millett Head of Weston Way
Carol Jane's Nursery Enfield
I can't believe we have just completed our second six week course with you, the weeks fly by so quickly. How time flies when you are having fun.
I just wanted to thank you for all you have done to make our forest school such a success. The children ask every day if it's "a woods day" and have truly loved every moment spent with you there. The activities you set up each week are really fun and inspiring, our children are really lucky to have this experience. In addition to your talents with the children at nursery, my son loved the 10th birthday party you did for him and his friends are still raving about it. I'm sure it will be one to remember although he has already asked to book again for next year – as have his friends!
We shall miss you until March when we shall be "Down the Woods" with you again. We all look forward to more fun, exciting activities and marshmallows and hot chocolate round the campfire.
Finally, I thought you might like to know that a visitor asking a child about forest school the other day said, "Ooh do bears live in your woods," they replied quite serious… "No, Caroline does!"
Thank you once again for an amazing time, we are so pleased we found you. All the feedback sheets you left for the parents are starting to come back with some lovely comments and ticks all in the right places,
Warmest wishes, Carol Medcalf, all the Carol Jane staff team and of course the children.
Nature Challenge Day at Hartsbourne School
From the reception teacher at Hartsbourne Primary Schools Nature Challenge day
"Our reception class had a fantastic day led by, Caroline Langley. Every area of the EYFS was taken into account in just one day, building upon the children's previous experiences of working in an outside environment. The children thoroughly enjoyed every activity offered but the highlight was definitely cooking (and eating!) marshmallows on an open fire, even a little bit of rain didn't put them off!
I would highly recommend 'Down in the Woods' to any early years setting or primary school who are looking for a fun, interactive and exciting outside day. Thank you so much and we look forward to seeing you in the future"
Julie Durrant, Hartsbourne Primary School
Forest School day at Margaret Wix School
Reception teacher "Very good - useful ideas pitched at the right level and lots of inspiration for Forest School topics in the future."
Year 1 teacher "Caroline delivered exactly what we asked at the sessions and tailored them to our school's individual needs. It was great to have a variety of activities and we were able to see how to use our space even more effectively."
From children - Asked what did they enjoy about the workshops?
Reception chn - "Looking at all the woodlice" George, "I liked the story and the puppets" Elden, "Drinking hot chocolate" Grace, "I liked the play doh (clay) and the sticks" Amirie
Year 1 chn - "Making my own clay forest" Ridwan, "I liked looking for birds with the binoculars" Shi-Yan
Year 2 chn - "Learning about how to make a fire" Charlie, "I loved making my Forest School keyring" Nicola
From Parents and Children who attend Forest School
Just wanted to write to say thank you so much for today, my boys had such a fabulous time at forest school and came home full of tales of goblin houses, making popcorn, squirting each other with water, finding the smallest pine cones in the world etc not to mention the fairy crown, fairy garden and key ring they made which have all found homes in our house and garden. Sounds like they had a really special time. So pleased we found you and your classes!
A wonderful adventure for him, mud, camp fires and making things Brilliant.
From a parents whose children attended Forest School Jack often asked will I go to Forest School again tomorrow? after each session. We have been to Sherrards park woods several times on weekends after Jack joined Forest School. He knew how to keep safe, signs and led mum and dad to play like they do in Forest School. We now have some ideas what to do when we bring him to the woods.
James enjoyed Forest School so much that he wanted to go everyday!
Bryn and Erica enjoyed the structure and theme of each session. Bryn repeated some of the things he did like, snip, snap snail that's the end of the tale. We loved the woods anyway so it was great to learn from your ideas.
Andrew looked forward to Forest School every week so much so he did it twice. Andrew benefitted from being outdoors in a safe environment, learning new games and activities.
William really loved it and looked forward to it all week. He learnt about the outside. We would love more of this please.
Luke really loved it. He was always keen to go and he even told us about some of the activities!
Holly Park year 3 parent about the benefit of Forest Schools:
“I very much believe that Forest School has increased my son’s self-belief, confidence and learning capacity. Each Monday he is excited to go to school because of the afternoon with the Forest School. Participating in practical activities and being able to carry out small achievable tasks has increased my son’s confidence as a learner – so pleased that he had a chance to benefit from Forest School. The sense of achievement that my son has after each Monday is priceless. My son is eager to learn more after attending Forest School as what he learnt there gives him a good base for further learning. Every week my son excitedly shares what he has learnt that day at Forest School. The benefits of the Forest School stretch far beyond the session. Seeing the impact the Forest School has had on my son, I wish every child had a chance to experience it.”
From Parents at Tenterfield
I was so excited about Olly's first forest school session! The photos look fab and I'm so appreciative that you are able to give him this wonderful opportunity to explore our natural surroundings but in a very safe environment. I love his clay model and am looking forward to more interesting 'Olly' creations! Thank you! Michelle
Thank you for letting me join in the latest forest school session, it was great to see first-hand what's involved
and join in the fun with all the children, I really enjoyed helping to make the clay bird who now has pride of place on my kitchen windowsill, a great keepsake of a lovely day.
First chance to look and site (Tenterfield has its own Forest School blog) and nearly a week's gone by! Cassie, however, continues to talk about it as of it was yesterday! Love the clay and stick hedgehogs – a keeper, that's for sure. This is a marvellous way for children to learn about "nature and nurture" and to open their eyes to all the wonderful and natural things around us. Goodbye TV and computer, let's all get our hands dirty!
Well, what an adventure! Cassie returned both weeks full of life and tales of her woodland experience. I particularly like the Dreamcatcher which was given directly to me. Understanding nature and encouraging curiosity is so important for children and will benefit them for the rest of their lives. How lovely to have a pictorial log of the events!
It is just magical!! So many smiling faces!! Tilly is having an absolute ball, she talks nonstop all the way home, through her dinner, into the bath and into bed just so much to tell us. Thank you so much for this unique opportunity, the pictures are wonderful and the nature reserve has never looked better! We can't wait to see what next week brings!
From Parents and groups
St Albans Mencap Father and child group –
The session was a fun and informative afternoon that brought dads and their kids together in activities that were mutually enjoyed. The activities were a great forum for the groups to interact and to learn play skills which is the aim and ethos of our club. The adaptable nature of the session meant that a wide range of abilities were equally covered and there was something for everyone to participate in.
Children’s Centre Manager - YMCA Central Herts
"Down the Woods provided four sessions for our families over the summer holidays and they were all fantastic (even the two in the rain!) The sessions were well planned and risk assessed which was very reassuring for the staff. The feedback from parents was overwhelmingly positive. The sessions were a really memorable experience for the children and it highlighted how much learning and fun children can have outside."
Mandy Sims Children's Centre Manager - YMCA Central Herts
From the Manager of The Lane Children Centre in Chipperfield
"It exceeded my expectations – was refreshing and got families outside, enjoying their local environment".
From Parents and children from Playskills in Chipperfield
"Zach loved the big open space"
"My favourite bit was making the magic potion" Adam 6
"There was a lovely atmosphere and lots of suitable stuff to do, thank you"
"Its been a great day, lovely variety of activities, toasting ,marshmallows! :)
"we really enjoyed our day in the woods, very good, lots of fun"
"Good fun., we had a lovely afternoon, thank you"
From Parents from Brambles Children Centre Buntingford
Rose thoroughly enjoyed down in the woods! Some fantastic activities for the children to do regardless of the rain …
We also enjoyed the picnic and though the lady storytelling was excellent!!
We thoroughly enjoyed the picnic and storytelling to. Especially the lady that did the story was very well done and imaginative for the children :-)
'Down the woods' was brilliant, such a different thing to do and the wet weather somehow made it a little bit more of an adventure!!
My two loved down the woods still talking about it now thank you
Thank you for the brilliant 'down the woods ' session…my kids loved it!!!!
From the Manager of Chorleywood and Loudwater Children's Centre
What a wonderful afternoon and morning children and families had at Down the Woods this summer. A wide variety of activities including nature trails and natural craft products kept children engrossed as parents learnt more about the wonders of the outside world.
Comments from parents were, 'Brilliant, what wonderful activities, we really enjoyed it.' 'More of the same please'
From the Children's Centre view the commissioning of the service meant that staff had time to engage and observe families at play. The Down the Wood team were completely self sufficient and organised. Activities were very well prepared and flowed seamlessly. Thank you. Look forward to working with you again in the future.
Birchwood Children's Centre day
Parents comment-I learnt how to make different things with natural things. The children learnt about making fire and how to be safe with it and not be scared. The Forest School session was something different to the normal groups would like to do this again. Kwame learnt about fire and toasting marshmallows and how to be careful.
From the Manager of Barleyfields Children's Centre
Our Down in Woods session went really, really well and everyone (children and parents) thoroughly enjoyed it and are asking for another session. We were lucky with the weather and the children loved the adventure of it. They enjoyed new experiences such as the fire and marshmallows which they thought was wonderful. They were really well-behaved and listened to the safety guidelines. Caroline set everything up and ran the session so it was "easy" from that point of view too and meant that the Children's Centre staff could participate and spend time with the families sharing the session and supporting the children's learning.
From Parents from Barleyfields Children's Centre
Great – well organised.
Thank you for an enjoyable morning.
A lovely session – thank you.
Fantastic – would definitely come again.
Just the right length and pace.
Aleks loved the toilet tent!!
Very good. Children "loved it". Can we do it again?
From Parents whose children attended a Wild in the Woods event.
I would recommend a “Wild in the Woods day” to any parent, its a fabulous experience for any child with a unique learning facilities.
I just wanted to say a big thank you for today. Jayan had a wonderful day at Heartwood Forest – he was so animated telling us about everything you did! When we collected him, he was desperate to take his sisters and me back up into the woods to show us where you had played – so we saw his hedgehog den first hand! He couldn't wait to tell his dad later too – we never hear this much about a day at school…
Thank you for enabling such a memorable day – we would love to come again in the autumn.
From College lecturers
Firstly thank you so much for the trip yesterday it was exceptionally well organised and despite the rain the students gained a lot from it. Let's hope the weather holds off for the next trip.
Candice Vaughan West Herts College
Just wanted to say thank you for a fabulous morning of activities which the students really got into and would have really helped their learning about outdoor activities, health & safety and team working. Unfortunately the weather got the better of us, but we really appreciate the time and effort you and your staff put into the session. All your staff were excellent and worked well with the students to help encourage their learning. Helen Gordon West Herts College
EXTRACTS FROM DUNCOMBE SCHOOL INSPECTION REPORT – MARCH 2014
They (the school) ensure that risks to risks to pupil's health and safety are minimised while enabling the children to experience more adventurous activities outside the classroom and to take risks in order to learn. A good example of this was the excellent practice in Forest School which enabled four and five year olds to use sharp tools safely be wearing protective gloves.
The school also benefits from a woodland area, called The Dell, which is used for Forest School activities and of which the children speak with pride.
Other activities such as the Forest School, led by an expert, are an important part of the early years curriculum. Children in Reception very much enjoyed their experience which was thoughtfully planned to meet the children's different learning styles. Such activities and others, ………. Contribute very well to the children's development across all the areas of learning.
Taken from Birches day care at Birchwood Children Centre 30th July 2013
During the forest schools activity, the session leader draws children’s attention to a pigeon that has flown into the playground. They watch spellbound, remaining quiet as it walks around a large puddle in the pouring rain. They quietly discuss what is happening before returning to their interactive story. This is because practitioners are highly skilled and their enthusiasm for all activities, mean children see their play as highly valued and worthwhile.
Children delight in the forest school activity which encompasses many areas of learning in a single activity. Children listen and join in with the story, they relish the opportunity to make their own caterpillar from a stick. Each child puts a face on the stick, some add limbs and hair, showing their creativity in the simplest of activity. An abundance of mathematical opportunities are promoted, as children quickly begin to compare the lengths of their sticks. They hold them on top of one another to make tall towers and lay them on the ground to make a giant, long caterpillar. Using cards the children take their sticks to a number of stations around the circle and using their sticks act out the story. They bind their caterpillars in wool to make a cocoon, add wing outlines which they decorate with ribbons, again showing their creativity as children select different colours and use different ways to make the wings. The children take pleasure in this innovative activity which fully embeds children’s knowledge of life cycles.
Children become deeply involved in their play and show terrific imagination as they develop their ideas and thoughts. Practitioners are highly skilled in using open questions that help children to explore the depth of their knowledge and imagination. This is abundantly clear at the forest school where children develop little personalities for their caterpillars, making them talk to one another, saying hello and kissing as they meet.
Carol Jane’s Nursery Ofsted report-May 2011
There are many opportunities for children to explore resources and they benefit from the excellent provision of
daily outdoor activities, which enable them to learn through hands-on experiences. In particular, they learn about the forest, which provides them with a captivating and exciting area to explore nature, use natural resources and learn about living things. The forest also provides a great place for children to climb trees and engage in imaginary play as they make camps and learn to build camp fires.
High Elms Ofsted May 2011
Good use is made of practical experience to enhance the curriculum through the Forest School
May 2011 Tenterfield Ofsted
Particular emphasis recently has been on developing children’s independence, investigative, language and complex thinking processes.
This has been highly successful. More recent enrichment activities such as the Forest School further enhance children’s learning, particularly in the way they develop self-assurance and independence.
Taken from First Place nursery in Radletts Ofsted Inspection March 2009
The outside play area is being developed to extend boys’ involvement and motivation to take part in a greater variety of different kinds of play and learning and a weekly Forest Schools session has been put in place to offer children exciting and highly motivating learning experiences within the local environment . Regular opportunities to use digital cameras, computers and programmable toys help to develop their understanding about everyday technology and the newly implemented Forest Schools sessions encourage children to develop an interest in the natural world. For example, they look at worms, watch bees and explore in the woods with binoculars and mirrors. They develop physical skills as they climb steep banks by holding onto ropes and begin to learn about floating and sinking as they make boats by tying twigs together which they then throw in the stream.