June 29 2010

If You Go Down to the Woods…

Betws Primary School love Forest Arts

Today at Forest Arts we had another great session.  We’ve been working with the nurture group at Betws Primary for 15 sessions over the past two terms. One of the main aims of this project is to work long term, with really good child adult ratios and initiate real child-centred creative learning.

Today in a one and a half hour session we had several activities. One of the kids is making wooden jewellery, having really found her niche, as she likes to get to grips with something and just get on with it on her own, another child who is so shy his voice is hardly a whisper, if he speaks at all has been learning to shout and saying out loud his five times table as we played a a game of fox and hounds where we play hide and seek in the woods, another child, M has really progressed with green woodworking skills and we have almost finished a greenwood bench.  All of the children have learned to saw, use a hand drill, measure wood, and strip the bark using the peg and hole method of joining wood together, hopefully finished bench next week, we also learned to use a rasp today. One of the new children to the group overcame her fear of clambering through the brambles and a couple of the younger children played a game where we make sound drawings and a sound map exploring the nature reserve with blindfolds and listening to the different sounds they hear as they wander around.

Over the past term Tim has been making a short animation with clay and woodland material figures using the forest as a background and the theme of trying to find out whose been dropping all the litter in the pond. This has been again working with children who have speech problems and sometimes communication problems they have supplied the voices for the animation.  The older children have helped make the bench and bring it to completion.

The nurture group teacher has been telling us how much progress the kids have made as a result of the sessions. They are really happy with the sessions and we extended the period we work with them as they look forward to the sessions so much. They have been filling in their report sheets and the children have found that they have really strong areas in design and technology. The result of being able to work with the children over a long period of time and follow their creative instincts means that now some of them  have areas where they really shine on their reports.  Yeah! We’ve also been looking at and learning about the woodland itself.

We are all really sad that we will have our last session with this group next week.