Woodland Learning

At The Chalet School we have a wonderful school woodland garden.  It is entirely fenced so the children have the chance to be free to explore, play and connect with nature.  This helps them to build confidence and to understand their world.  All activities in the garden are related to classroom learning.

Each term 2 classes spend half a day a week in the garden.  This term Seahorse Class have been monitoring the weather, pond dipping and learning about the frog life cycle, planting seeds, building dens and having fun.  Turtle Class have been exploring the world of mini-beasts, planting seeds and potatoes, hiding and finding, playing on the swings and balancing on the see-saw.    

Our allotment area has been greatly improved with new more accessible raised beds, hard paths and a wonderful greenhouse/shed bought by a member of staff who raised the money by abseiling down a huge tower!  This new greenhouse/shed enables the children to see the whole process of growing from seed to vegetable in a single place.    

The old poly tunnel, which was given to us a number of years ago, was a bit too big and separate from the allotments.  It has a new home with TWIGS - a horticultural therapy project in Swindon.  In its place will be a wildflower meadow and orchard.

We love celebrating the seasons in The Chalet garden and had a whole (nearly) school celebration for May Day with lots of music and mayhem, singing and dancing around the May Pole tree and finding the green man pictures.  Some lovely parents joined in the fun, helping to make it even more fun for the children, and best of all the sun shone!

The rest of the term will be spent sowing more vegetable seeds, harvesting cabbages and lettuce (and eating them!) and having picnics.  Turtle Class will make honey sandwiches, Seahorse Class will bake rolls in the pizza oven and have them with herb butter, made from garden herbs.  

We have a new Thursday lunchtime gardening club, anyone can come along.  We have made chess caterpillars and sown a wildflower meadow and have lots more gardening jobs in store!

What's happening in Term 6? 

This term Woodland Learning will be concentrating on looking after all the vegetables we are planting in the allotment garden.  Sharks and Stingrays Classes have their turn for the garden. 

 We have already harvested some baby turnips and cabbages that Sharks class are using to make soup.  Each week we are getting more and more strawberries to enjoy at snack time – delicious!  Sharks class are working to understand plant life cycles, to develop social skills and to follow a recipe and cook outdoors.  The children can all work quite independently, planting seeds, weeding and watering.  In the last week of term we will be baking bread in the pizza oven to have with home grown salad.  It will be the best picnic ever!

Stingrays class are really enjoying the massive pile of warm, composting woodchip we have had delivered to improve our willow dome and make the paths better ready for winter in case we have another wet one.  They have been moving it with buckets and spades.  They will also be planting seeds and doing lots of watering!  Their objectives this term are enjoying freedom and exploring nature.  Learning how to grow things and care for them.  Doing simple tasks independently.  Physical activity - balancing, climbing, running around. Making things.  We will definitely have lots of fun!

 This term we will also have the trip for Sea Horses class to lovely Pennyhooks Farm where the children will be able to meet the farm animals and collect eggs. The children have a great time and feel safe and happy at the farm.  

If you would like to know more about the Chalet garden project, please visit the following website - www.woodland-learning.co.uk.