Year 6 began the week with some fantastic den building. Their first challenge, in this block of work, was to make a free-standing den. Not as easy as it may sound. Getting the initial framework takes thought, co-operation and perseverance. The children need to understand the materials they have available and select appropriately. On this first attempt they were not allowed any rope, string or natural bindings, this forces them to really look at each branch and work out how to inter-lock them to provide a solid base structure. They were given very little adult support during the activity, however they had plenty of time for reflection at the end of the session so we could discuss what problems had occurred, which ideas worked well and how we can improve on the outcomes next time.
Over the next few weeks den building will be the main focus for all our Forest School sessions. Therefore years 5 and 6 will have to make sure any dens they make are risk assessed for use by our younger children. This is a great way of really testing the usability of the den. We will look at how to evaluate locations, how to site dens in relation to potential weather conditions and how to build with a variety of materials. Having 4 different year groups involved really helps the children to share knowledge and adds a sense of unpredictability to the challenge, this in turn makes for fun exciting learning.