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Bligh's Lane Nursery School, Bligh’s Lane, Derry

Forest Schools


We started our journey in Forest School in November. Our decision to participate was to complement our developing outdoor area here at Bligh's Lane  but also felt being outdoors was essential to children's well-being and development.

Forest School is a way of facilitating and nurturing children's learning through the provision of hands on experiences in an inspirational, natural outside environment. It accommodates a range of learning styles, gives the freedom to explore multiple senses which is vital for encouraging creative, diverse and imaginative play.

The Forest School also complements and strengthens our bid to achieve Eco School status.


Session 1 - Topic - Autumn

The children were introduced to the Forest Schools program and enjoyed a walk around the beautiful woodland area whilst engaging all of their senses to help them complete a sound map. They could be heard engaging with each other, using wonderful rich language and new vocabulary. They particularly loved making clay hedgehogs to take home and of course seeing & feeding the chickens! The children also responded so well to animal/home matching activity. Overall, the first session was such a valuable experience for all the children. It was wonderful to be immersed in our natural environment and we are privileged to be part of this program this year.  

Look out for our next session which is coming soon!!


Session 2 - Topic -Winter/Birds!

Today, we went back to the wonderful grounds of The Playtrail to take part in Day 2 of the program. The focus for today was Winter Birds/Animal Homes/What they might eat?/Making bird feeders and many other fun-filled activities! Today the children learned all about binoculars which they hadn't much previous experience of and once again added to their store of rich and growing vocabulary as they lay in their 'Hammocks' and took in the sound of the birds singing and beautiful nature all around! They especially loved getting their hands dirty as they made clay birds using a wide range of resources including colourful feathers!! Lots of great activities and ideas to take back to our Outdoor Classroom! We will also make bird feeders as part of our planned activities on 28th January as we participate in the 'Big Bird Watch' - and join our partners in our First Shared Education session this year.  


Session 3 - Bug Hunting/painting with natural resources!

On our third visit to The Playtrail, the children enjoyed lots more fun activities which heightened all of their senses and instilled in them the love for learning outdoors! The wee faces tell the story of a fun-filled day and ideas which we will certainly transfer to our very own outdoor learning space! We took part in bug hunting,identifying bugs, painting with pine leaves and small twigs, time-out at hammock resting stations, bubble making, Yoga and breathing exercises followed by hide and seek among the woodland trees and shrubs! The children were immersed in an environment which lent itself to rich language and wide vocabulary centered around the natural woodland all around!  


Session 4

The children visited the Playtrail for the fourth time in our six week program. Once again the children explored their natural environment and became familiar with their woodland surroundings! Activities included whittling, bug hunts, bird spotting, sawing wood on workbenches and creating their own leaf imprints on clay which they could take home! We were sheltered from the wind in the amphitheatre where beautiful umbrellas hung down to create a wonderful array of colour in the outdoors!  The children also particularly enjoyed listening to the echo of their own voice which resulted in cheers and faces of awe and wonder! Lots of new skills were once again developed as the children become more and more comfortable and at one within their natural environment!

Session 5 - Pond Dipping

An exciting morning was spent at the Playtrail today as the children participated in a range of activities including, pond dipping, bug hunting, creating their very own bug creatures and adding natural resources including small leaves and twigs etc. The children worked in small groups to gently scoop the tadpoles into their nets! Most impotantly they placed them into cool water trays and then back into their natural habitat - 'The Pond'. The Creation Station was also extremely popular as children made their own ninja headbands to take home alongside their individual clay minibeast/bug! Lots of descriptive language could be haerd at all activities and laughter and awe and wonder on indiviaual faces as they participated in activities they had not experienced before!!!  


Sessio 6 - Toasting Marshmallows!!

The Forest School Leader Emma treated the children to an extra surprise this morning on our final visit to The Playtrail! The children were shown how to make skewers from long sticks by whittling the end to a point. One by one the children sat by the Forest School Leader and carefully held their long sticks, complete with a marshmallow on the end, and held them over the embers of the fire. A treat of toasted marshmallows follow by a chocolate biscuit was enjoyed by all!! Lots of sticky fingers and marshmallow lips all around!! 

March 2023

A fun filled morning with Emma was had by all today as we learned about the life cycle of the frog and saw some real frogspawn!! We saw the signs of spring and enjoyed being outdoors in all weather in such a beautiful setting!!