Forest Ranger School
Our Year 1 and 3 classes work with the Chiltern Rangers team of experienced staff, at school, at Priestfield Arboretum and other local woods, to learn to appreciate and enjoy their local environment. Forest school sessions often begin with a story to inspire the children, who then have the opportunity to use natural resources to create art and sculptures, as well as investigating the wildlife living in the local habitats. Many of the activities give the children the opportunity to develop teamwork such as building tunnel obstacle courses and learning to build fires safely. Children learn to do this all carefully, with respect to the wildlife that lives in the areas where they live and learn.
During the Autumn and Winter, classes go out of school to learn to be a junior ranger doing real conservation work on some of the sites that Chiltern Rangers are working on. Children learn about the habitat they are working on and what needs to be done to look after it. They learn to use tools safely such as saws and loppers and work as a team to make a difference to special places. For example Year 1 visited Penn Wood and learnt to use saws to cut down non-native Western Hemlock trees giving space for native flora and trees to grow back. They also had a great time investigating the amazing fungi that lives in these woods.
In the summer months children visit special nature reserves to investigate a wide variety of habitats which might include ponds, rivers, woodland and chalk grassland. Year 3, for example, visit Funges Meadow Nature Reserve and learn to do Kick Sampling in the River Wye, pond dip and investigate the flora and insects living in the meadow.