Wednesday, 17 October 2012

once upon a time in the woods...

... there lived a host of very small people, who made their homes in the trees, used suction boots to climb up high and adorned themselves with clothing in many fine fabrics and colours...  They lived in little groups with their families and friends and had great adventures in the woodland with their friends the birds...  They also have some wonderful friends in the shape of Oak Class at Dunkirk Primary, who have been incredibly inspired by Roald Dahl's book "The Minpins".

As autumn gets underway there are so many treasures to be found.  Things have been really busy recently; I've been busy developing my website Stories Under Stones, really busy with developments on the allotment space at Dunkirk Primary School and planning new projects in several places. 
At Dunkirk I'm working with all year groups exploring a host of different aspects of the curriculum using the school allotment and the natural world as we make many different things.  We've been finishing work on the wildlife-friendly pond; once we had lined it we were delighted when a combination of heavy rain and our rain-collecting systems meant we could fill the pond immediately with rain water.  The pond has been planted up and the children are absorbed in watching the space to see what will visit and set up home there.  Its been a wonderful point of discussion, observation and reflection.
We've also made more potions, watched endless mini-beasts, made an insect hotel and frog homes and lots more.
When we returned to school in September we were delighted to find so many plants in full flower and really pleased we had thought through a set of different plants to bloom at different points! The space has been so incredibly busy with bees, dragonflies, butterflies, other insects and birds of many kinds.   As autumn now takes hold we are noticing so many signs of wildlife and watching the changes that take place as the seasons change.  We've found nibbled hazelnuts, signs of birds-eating blackberries, leaves eaten by insects and interesting feathers and tracks.

 As part of explorations with ways of collecting rain water, we've made a set of rain-gauges, which were put to very good use in the vast downpour that took place recently (the downpour that helped to fill the pond!).