Forest School is all about child-led learning. Activities are planned but these can often go off on a tangent. Outside there are many distractions, good distractions, and today was a perfect example of this.
Planning to teach children how to safely build a camp fire started well but quickly changed to a completely different activity when one pupil noticed a hedgehog snuffling along the grass in the distance.
Hedgehogs are in decline and it is estimated that they will become extinct in our lifetime. A very sad fact. The children today were very lucky not only to see a hedgehog but to see a hedgehog in the day, as one pupil pointed out, they are nocturnal. This hedgehog curled up into a ball initially (its defence technique) but despite all the noise and excitement, it quickly gained confidence and was quite happy to be the focus of this afternoon’s Forest School lesson.
The camp fire activity was of course abandoned and instead the children decided it was far more important to build a cosy habitat from sticks and leaves for their new found friend to hibernate in. We discussed what animals need to survive. The stick den would provide the shelter, two children went on a mission to fill a yoghurt pot with water for it to drink and the rest discovered that slugs and earthworms were its favourite thing to eat so they went in search of these.
The children had a hands on experience today learning about animals and their habitats. I am sure that this experience is something they will remember for a long time and I am certain they had no idea just how much they were learning from it. It sparked a lot of discussion and conversation between the pupils and at the end of the lesson we shared what they had learnt from their experience…
Hedgehogs are nocturnal.
Hedgehogs are very prickly.
Hedgehogs roll into a ball as a form of defence.
Hedgehogs need water to survive.
Hedgehogs hibernate during the winter in piles of sticks and dead leaves.
Hedgehogs love to eat earthworms and slugs but are not too keen on berries or fruit.
And science aside, hedgehogs are extremely cute!
The children discovered that hedgehogs love to eat slugs just like this one…
The children created shelters for the hedgehog from sticks and dead leaves…
The children provided water for the hedgehog, something that all living things need to grow and survive…
This video footage shows how this hedgehog sparked so much discussion and conversation amongst the children. Press the PLAY BUTTON and enjoy!…
The children also spotted a frog in the school grounds…