Woodland

 

 

Woodland Learning

Woodland Learning at Goddard Park enables the children to learn and develop skills for life and to connect with the natural world.  The children take part in Forest School and food growing in our beautiful school grounds throughout the year in all weather.

They learn many things including practical skills; where food comes from; how to be healthy; how to work together; how to safely use tools; the wonder of nature; how to cook on a fire; how to take risks; how to make up games and entertain themselves and how to respect themselves, others and the world of which we are a part.  All this takes place in a nurturing, inspirational environment whilst having fun!  It brings out the best in the children boosting confidence, developing imagination and developing language and communication skills and enabling them to lead their own learning.

The Woodland Learning program at Goddard Park is co-ordinated by Ruth Parsons of Woodland Learning Ltd.  In partnership with the School and Day Care she delivers sessions to children aged from 2 to 11 and trains and supports staff to do the same – ensuring as many children as possible experience Woodland Learning.

Facilities for Woodland Learning

Over 25 years ago a woodland was planted in the school grounds as part of The Great Western Community Forest.  That woodland now has some quite tall trees and is very well used.  Some of the trees are big enough to climb!  The woodland has two shelters and a fire circle.

The woodland is so well used we want to ensure it is not spoiled by over use and we want to extend the opportunity for Woodland Learning in the future.  In 2015 a new woodland was planted with hedgerows around the field boundaries.  The native trees were given to us by the Woodland Trust.  The 850 trees were planted by the children and Goddard Park families and volunteers from Nationwide.  When the trees are large enough to withstand use the fence between the old wood and new will be removed.  We estimate this will be in 2020.

In the far corner of the field is a newly planted orchard of 20 fruit trees:- apples, pears, plums, cherries, a quince and a medlar.  This will provide fruit for cooking lessons where the children will learn to make crumbles, jams and chutney.

There are 3 living willow dens in the school grounds, providing a shady, hidden place where children can play, rest and read stories.

Beside the MUGA is a vegetable growing area with raised beds and a small poly tunnel which was paid for by the Wiltshire Gardens Trust and put up by volunteers from Nationwide.  There is also a large raise vegetable bed near Y1.  This is where the y5’s grow vegetables from seed – learning the process from seed to fork; understanding life cycles and developing the practical skills needed.  Nursery and Day Care children also grow vegetables in their outside areas and there is a strawberry bed and espalier apples beside the boiler house.  In 2015 the school won the Best School Garden award from the Swindon Allotment and Leisure Gardens Association.

Some food grown at school is used for school dinners and some gets cooked in the woods over a fire.  Some is used for cookery classes and some never gets any further than being picked and eaten straight away!  No strawberry has ever made it more than 2m from the strawberry beds!

 

Facilities for Woodland Learning

Over 25 years ago a woodland was planted in the school grounds as part of The Great Western Community Forest.  That woodland now has some quite tall trees and is very well used.  Some of the trees are big enough to climb!  The woodland has two shelters and a fire circle.

The woodland is so well used we want to ensure it is not spoiled by over use and we want to extend the opportunity for Woodland Learning in the future.  In 2015 a new woodland was planted with hedgerows around the field boundaries.  The native trees were given to us by the Woodland Trust.  The 850 trees were planted by the children and Goddard Park families and volunteers from Nationwide.  When the trees are large enough to withstand use the fence between the old wood and new will be removed.  We estimate this will be in 2020.

In the far corner of the field is a newly planted orchard of 20 fruit trees:- apples, pears, plums, cherries, a quince and a medlar.  This will provide fruit for cooking lessons where the children will learn to make crumbles, jams and chutney.

There are 3 living willow dens in the school grounds, providing a shady, hidden place where children can play, rest and read stories.

Beside the MUGA is a vegetable growing area with raised beds and a small poly tunnel which was paid for by the Wiltshire Gardens Trust and put up by volunteers from Nationwide.  There is also a large raise vegetable bed near Y1.  This is where the y5’s grow vegetables from seed – learning the process from seed to fork; understanding life cycles and developing the practical skills needed.  Nursery and Day Care children also grow vegetables in their outside areas and there is a strawberry bed and espalier apples beside the boiler house.  In 2015 the school won the Best School Garden award from the Swindon Allotment and Leisure Gardens Association.

Some food grown at school is used for school dinners and some gets cooked in the woods over a fire.  Some is used for cookery classes and some never gets any further than being picked and eaten straight away!  No strawberry has ever made it more than 2m from the strawberry beds!

 

Projects for 2016/17

Day Care and Nursery will continue with Forest School.  As the children grow in confidence in the wood they decide what they want to do themselves more and more.  Playing and learning in the wood becomes a normal part of their everyday lives.  Activities are introduced at the beginning of each session – designed to build skills and knowledge week on week.  All the sessions are based on a theme or story they are using in their classes.  They will also continue to grow vegetables in their own outside areas – and to water whatever is growing in the poly-tunnel, which they really enjoy!

Year 1 pupils all take part in Woodland Learning across the year to give them the experience of being outside in all seasons.  The sessions are guided and involve playing games and completing challenges related to their literacy learning.  The final sessions of the year take place at Cuckoo Pen plantation at Coleshill, the National Trust Estate near Highworth.  The children gain the experience of being in a larger wood out in the countryside where they cook lunch on a fire.

Year 5 pupils take turns gardening for a term.  They learn about the cycles and processes involved from seed to plate.  This year they will be growing fruit and vegetables, composting and cooking and eating.  We will be maintaining our new woodland and hedgerows and will begin to develop a forest garden around the new orchard.

Year 6 pupils will take part in a Forest School literacy project in term 1 led by Mr Franklin and Mrs Birt who have recently completed Forest School training courses.

After school on Mondays Woodland Club enables pupils to have fun in the wood.  They learn the practical skills to build dens, cook on a fire and make things from wood.  Pupils can apply to join the club by asking for a form from reception.

NEW – GROW GODDARD WILDLIFE GARDEN

Wouldn’t it be great if Park North had its own wildlife garden where people could improve the place for wildlife and enjoy watching it?  Unfortunately we don’t have much room left at school to make one – but how about Goddard families joining together to make one?  Goddard Park family and friends are invited to join Grow Goddard.  All you need to do is pledge to grow something for wildlife in a part of your garden, window box or pot.  If you don’t have a garden you can have a big pot of your own at school.  If enough of us do it we could have the equivalent of a substantial nature reserve!

Members will have access to a regularly updated BLOG on the Goddard Park Web site giving advice and ideas about what to grow, when and how and wildlife to watch out for.  Members will also be able to post photos and share experiences on the BLOG.

There will be a Grow Goddard club on Thursdays from 3.15 – 4pm starting in term 2 for families to come along to for seeds and plants and to gain some knowledge and practice and enjoy watching wildlife together.

There will be occasional Woodland Days in the school holidays where members can come and enjoy a shared meal cooked on the fire and take part in wildlife activities.

Membership is free.  Please sign up on line to receive your unique password

The membership form can be downloaded from grow-goddard-gang-membership-form