This half-term we have been blessed with long, sunny autumnal days which have given an abundance of acorns, chestnuts, blackberries, and apples. We began our term by looking at the life cycle of an acorn and the shared ecosystem of the oak tree, with birds and mammals.
The children thoroughly enjoyed looking for blackberries in the wider school grounds, this was a race against the birds! Our activities included making blackberry playdough, which had an amazing texture and vibrant purple colour, some children opted to make some fabric flags using their own homemade blackberry paint.
By week three, the children noticed the vast amounts of sweet chestnuts dropping from the trees on the Saplings site, this delicacy encouraged some friendly squirrels to venture in. To give the squirrels some variation in their diet the children decided to make some squirrel feeders using apples and bird seed, they went on to create their own little squirrel models using clay and pinecones for a bushy tail. One fine morning we stumbled into the orchard; the children were thrilled! We picked some apples and made vegan apple cake in the Dutch oven on the fire.
On one of our damper mornings, a group of children noticed the cobwebs on the fence glistening in the morning sun, this inspired us to make some cobwebs using chestnuts, string, and sticks. As the leaves on the maple trees and acer began to crimson and following a windy day the book ‘Leaf Man’ inspired us to collect a basket of natural resources to make our very own Leaf Men, leaf puppets and leaf paint brushes.
Our final week this term has been about celebrating pumpkins, as the pumpkin patches are ready to harvest. We have explored the insides, scooped out the seeds and cut the flesh to make pumpkin puree on the fire, this has been a vital ingredient this week in our Dutch oven pumpkin porridge, pumpkin pancakes and vegan chocolate brownies cooked inside a pumpkin. The children have used palm drills to drill holes in the pumpkin and filled them with thin sticks to make pumpkin hedgehogs.