The road goes ever onwards

Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of June,
Over grass and over stone,
And under mountains in the moon.

J.R.R Tolkein-The hobbit

Sunday saw Alice and myself escaping out the house to escape paint stripper fumes. Amy has been working hard stripping paint off the stair bannister. We’ve tried to avoid Alice being around it. We headed off along one of the footpaths through the new housing estate that brings us out into the countryside. The crops were being harvested today. A great amount of dust and wheat shreds were in the air.

The side of the path has a number of the largest buddleia bushes. The peacocks who were absent a few weeks ago are now swarming all over it.

From here we explored a bridleway I’ve not ventured down yet. It runs alongside one of the caravan parks and is quite well kept in comparison to other around.

A number of speckled woods departed as we came along.

The bridleway took us out back along the coastal edge. The path took us down past a boat club. Along the path are a number of objects diving crews have brought ashore.

We stopped the pram to let a ground beetle cross our path. It seemed to be in more of a rush than us.

The sun was out bright and the sea was looking spectacular.

Flamborough Cliffs looking good today.

We walked as far as the pram would safely go before returning back along the coast path back to town. On the way saw a distant rabbit hopping back into the hedges as it saw us.

Alice had a run around on the grass along the coast edge before heading for the park. She was in a very sociable mood today chasing other families shouting hiya and waving bye as people went past.

Alice discovered a stick. She’s starting to realise why this is one of the most popular toys of all time. She engaged in some mark making on the path, running and waving it around and bashing other sticks. An excellent toy available in a range of sizes and limited colours. She carried it most of the way home before dropping it as we got back to our street.

We fitted in a quick go on the swings before leaving the park. She’s becoming a bit of a thrill seeker enjoying going higher and higher.

As a teacher I get these long periods of time off for the Summer and it’s lovely being able to spend time like this with Alice. She’s really starting to develop rapidly now. Her understanding is improving daily and her desire to communicate and interact. She loves getting out and has started fetching her shoes and going to the door to show her preference. We’re lucky that we have so many wonderful places to explore around us. I hope everyone had as pleasant Sundays as me and Alice.

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30 days wild: day 16-den day

Today has been Save the Children den day. We took part at school as my first stay and play as EYFS coordinator. Before the kids came in we got out the kit. We had lots of tarps and curtains. We got the crates out and tables out.

We have dividers designed for splitting areas inside up. We assemble these into frames for the children to use as a starting point for dens.

 

We covered the picnic table with a tarp and set up a pop up tent for the lazier children.

 

One of the other teachers had come up with the idea of having knot examples.

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We just aimed to provide enough of a starting point for the children to take it and build a den with a degree of independence.

The children and parents were wonderful working nicely together and coming up with lots of different dens.

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Using the room dividers worked well as a frame for the dens. The kids were able to use these and pegs to make decent dens with just a small support.

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The parachute made for a big den for lots of children at once.

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The mud kitchen ended up covered.

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This was a pop up football goal put to better use.

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The most solid award goes to a den built by one of the older brothers who came. He was great with the kids and helped build a whole run of dens.

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Both kids, staff and parents have had a great morning. I think a lot of the parents were a bit disappointed to see their dens dismantled at the end of the day. We had some really positive feedback, which is nice to hear. A lot of prep goes into these days, so it was good to see it appreciated. Many of the parents were talking about carrying on with dens at home. This was lovely to hear and hopefully means moreover more children outside.

30 days of wildlife 2017: day 14-lunch in the wild

Today is just a short update as Alice is ill with a fever, so only managed a few wild acts at work. It has been a baking hot day today, so I decided to take my lunch outside in the outdoor classroom rather than the stuffy staff room.

I did a bit of weeding with the kids in the garden area. The weeds and potatoes have come back strong after the holiday. So we got some dug out and some seeds put down and compost scattered over. We’ve got some night scented stock, poached egg plants and alyssum. The night scented stock and alyssum are good for insects, so hopefully draw in some more life.

We got Alice to sleep despite her fever, but, expecting a bumpy night with her waking up several times.

School update

Today is the start of the half term holiday, but over the last week I’ve made a bit further progress with my F2 (reception year) playground.

I’ve painted one of the planters smartening it up a bit.

The kids have got the message not to climb through, so the bamboo has been removed. The flowers have taken well now.

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The music area has had some bunting added for decoration.

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Next to the music area the TAs have started to tart up the stage by adding curtains. I’ve seen some good performances over the week.

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Between the trees the TAs have added some mobiles.

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Within the garden the first two plots are dug over and planting has started. The soil is pretty poor and becomes clay at a spades depth, so will need to look at the children collecting the leaves from our trees for mulch come Autumn.

I’ve planted a dwarf apple tree in the corner as the children often play at planting their pips. I thought it would add to our discussions of the seasons with the blossom and fruit. In Ben Law’s woodsmen he pushed the message of the importance of planting fruit trees ready for a less carbon reliant world, so thought I’d make a start.

I’ve also gone for lavender and rosemary, as they are drought tolearant for if the garden is neglected. I used some potting grit to help with the drainage as that’s often an issue for both. I’m not sure I’ll keep them in the current positions, but wanted them in the ground.

In the middle plot I’ve gone for an acer variety that’s meant to stay small. Again like the apple tree it will help add seasonal interest for discussing with the kids. It’ll be a few years though to get it to a decent height.

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A hydrangea and bedding plants are adding some instant colour. The bedding plants should self seed for next year hopefully.

The last plot is still a wilderness, but it’s bringing in lots of bug life for now. Step by step making an area the kids and staff can be happy to be in. Lots more to go, but from a month ago it’s moving on.

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Den day green lighted

Den day has been given the go ahead at my new school. Den day is organised by Save The Children to raise awareness of children living without shelter. Many children across the world live without a stable home. As bad as the situation in the UK can be we are largely looked after so it is important to teach the children about their role in helping worldwide.

I’m going to be looking through this a lot over the next month.

We will be inviting parents in to help us in the building if dens. I’m delighted that our first stay and play session will be a largely outdoor affair and supporting a worthy cause.

If you feel moved to give a donation we a virgin money donation page. Any donation of any size will be appreciated.

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/dendaythorpepark

So now onto building den supplies. We have lots of tarps, curtains and fabric. We’re going to need to save boxes. We have lots of milk crates. Hopefully we’ll have a great day of teaching the children about global issues and have some fum den building. If you have any den building ideas please comment. 

Our space to work in.

Planters

A bit more progress was made with my F2 (reception year) outdoor area. We have several unused planters scattered around. The one we’ve worked on today has largely been used for an assault course with them enjoying climbing over this one. While I appreciate the benefit of climbing we have a wealth of areas they can climb and few areas with flowering plants.
With the children’s help this has been dug over. They’ve enjoyed breaking up the hard earth with the forks. Then we added a layer of new compost and then a few plug plants. The forget me nots have a good flowering period and hopefully will reseed naturally. Then we’ve erected canes to discourage the climbing over.

The planter could do with a lick of paint to tidy it up. But its a nice little step towards encouraging insect life and improving the feel of outside. I’ve talked more, with the kids, about what the plants need to thrive. They will be involved in the maintance which will help build their knowledge of biology. Just a quick job, but it improves the feel of the area, that it’s cared for.

RHS school gardening

Just a quick plug for the RHS and the super work they are doing promoting gardening in school. 

You can sign up at: https://schoolgardening.rhs.org.uk/home

Through registering you get a welcome pack of advice and chances to gain more rewards. There are competitions to give your school gardening a target or focus. There are useful guides for identifying flowers, pollinators, parts of mini-beasts. Lots of useful resources for teachers. 

My new units garden area is a mess of weeds in the planters and strawberry plants growing on the path. So my first step is going to be clearing. My outdoor job for next week isn’t a gardening job. I want to put some mini-beast identification sheets up around the bug hotel. I’ve found a few children digging around it and want to extend it further. As little effort as a of w posters and magnifying glasses will be I reckon it will draw a lot of children back in to investigate. We have a lack of evidence for the world and some mini-beast hunting and gardening will help build up our evidence.