We have had such a fantastic time participating in Forest Schools this half-term and today was particularly fun! Despite the weather, we had a still great time (and Mrs Bishop managed to keep our fire going)! We spent time playing and then took turns to whittle a piece of hazel, wrap dough around the hazel and then bake our bread on the fire. It was delicious, especially with golden syrup on the middle! Such a lovely end to our wonderful Forest School sessions!
Children in Congo Class have had an amazing day, evaluating, planning and making their own soft drinks! After discussing a few fizzy drink adverts on YouTube, they decided they could do better. What amazing ideas you all had, and well done with the language you used when you evaluated commercial drinks. Some of you even went a bit further, designing packaging for your drinks. Well done, all.
A massive well done to Congo Class children (and their families) for a 100% amazing turnout in their recent homework project – to make a model volcano, with written information.
We had such a variety of volcanoes. Some ‘worked’ with vinegar and bicarbonate of soda, some were edible (one had icing made with tomato ketchup) and many were detailed cross-sections.
I was so impressed with the way children explained to the class how they completed their projects, and also with the way they talked to Colorado class, when they came to visit our ‘Volcano Museum’.
Today, our last day, we were greeted with rain; cold rain. Still, I think everyone had had a decent night’s sleep, and was looking forward to the final day, despite the weather.
Packing to go home really is the hardest thing, especially if you’re only eight. But, with the help of a few really awesome lads who, not only packed themselves up very quickly, but also helped carry other people’s luggage to the storage points, the job soon got done.
After another delicious cooked breakfast, we set off for our final activities; team games and the Super Swing. The Swing involved being harnessed and hard-hatted (again), and was not for everyone. However, everyone loved running up to the viewpoint in the shelter, and watching children’s faces, as a strange 3-person contraption swung through the clearing in the forest. Apologies for the lack of photos; the school camera memory card was full!
To finish, we played an intriguing team game involving squares and trapdoors. That’s when the sun finally began to shine. In between activities, we sneaked in for a quick, warming hot chocolate, which hit the spot perfectly.
After a nippy, but yummy, pit stop (homemade pizzas), it was time to say goodbye and thank you to everyone. The entire Hilltop team was so complimentary about everybody. ‘You are all such a great school’ Mrs Tooley and I heard, time and time again.
We are all so proud of you, Congo Class, for being a real credit to us all. We hope you all had a fantastic time, and will take home some great memories.
Many thanks to everybody who made this (the first of many, we hope) happen.
This morning, we all woke up and it was still mild and dry. Everybody had finally got to sleep, including Mrs Tooley and I. Table football, pool and ‘playing’ the piano all seem to be popular activities when we can squeeze in some common room time. It was so great seeing some of the confident pool players teaching other children how to shoot with a pool cue; yet another skill learned at Hilltop!
Breakfast was delicious – a hot one, with bacon and waffles, as well as cereal and toast. We needed plenty of fuel in our tummies for our first activities.
Today was the day when Mrs Tooley and I felt most proud of Congo Class. They all received so many compliments, for their politeness, their team spirit, their camaraderie and their just being able to push themselves past their comfort zone. Mr Taylor was also here today – I bet he felt so proud!
In the morning, we were either on the power fan (like a bungee jump) or the climbing wall. For these activities, children needed to be aware of a lot of safety aspects, and all donned harnesses and hard hats. The climbing wall involved a lot of teamwork and trust – the children all rise to it.
After an energy-filled lunch of jacket potatoes and chocolate crunch, we honed our skills at bushcraft. Toasting marshmallows by a cosy fire on a February afternoon is great fun.
As a contrast, our final afternoon activity was the zip wire. This was an activity which wouldn’t have worked without collaboration and mutual support. If you want to use a high zip wire, you need a harness and helpers to undo you. So many thanks to all of you who helped to hold the zip wire in place for us.
Right now we’ve had a huge, but lovely, tea and are all in the throes of Year 4 disco. The walls are vibrating with cheesy tunes, and the children are just having fun. Flossie seems to be tonight’s dancing queen! (We do also have a chill out quiet area to take a break).
Today, the word ‘home’ has barely been mentioned, if at all. The children have all formed a great bond. They seem to be growing in independence by the minute. They will be very tired when they get home, but also quietly confident about the way they’ve coped.
Bedtime today, as with yesterday, will probably be nine!
And so, it has finally happened! No one was poorly, and we all made it in one piece, despite two of us desperate for the toilet when we were five minutes’ drive from our destination.
And the weather forecast seems to be in our favour too. It’s been mild all day today. We have found our rooms and put our quilts and sleeping bags on our beds.
Once we’d had our packed lunches (outside, as it was so mild), we began our first activity, the Air Drop! Nothing like starting with a bang! The ethos at Hilltop is Challenge by Choice, and feeling comfortable enough in our comfort zone to step outside it a little. And Congo Class didn’t half do this today. Every single person, not only challenged themselves, but also cheered on and encouraged someone else. We now know that Ted and Nancy have no fear, and can casually walk off an eight metre drop, while Mrs Tooley and I can only stare in utter disbelief!
The assault course afterwards was in the woods. It was dirty, some of it was dark, it was challenging but all great fun. Ms Perry’s favourite moment was being Tarzan on the rope swing across the muddy water. Gino didn’t actually believe it when we were told that the tunnel was actually pitch dark!
We had our dinner – fish and chips, with jam pudding and custard. We couldn’t eat any more if we’d tried. We all now know how to scrape plates and wipe tables, so there’ll be no excuse when we get back home!
And, as if we didn’t have enough packed into our day, we’ve just had our enchanted walk, with warm jackets and torches at the ready. You really can’t beat wide games in a dark forest on a very mild evening.
After a brief chat in the common room, we’ve finally called it a day. We’re very excited about the bacon and waffles for tomorrow’s breakfast. Yummy!