On the first day of the New Year it feels like a good time to begin writing our blog and of course it has to start with our amazing first term in the woods! Opening Treehoppers’ took a lot longer than we thought and its fair to say we had a few bumps along the way but finally we got there and it has so been worth it. The children who joined us this term have amazed, inspired and delighted us and its been wonderful to see them growing in confidence, forming friendships and just enjoying being in the great outdoors.
As well as getting to know the children we have really got to know the site too. Being there each day has meant we have been able to explore the fields & woodland properly and have made some exciting discoveries with the children. The obstacle course on site - what a gem that is! More things to balance on, more equipment to climb over and under. After we found this it was lovely to see the children inspired to try and construct their own version of an obstacle course when we got back to base camp. Who knew that a wooden log, a plank of wood and an old tyre could provide so much entertainment and for so long!
Having the field to play on as well as the woodlands to explore is brilliant - when we need to run off a bit of steam we can head out to play games. We might bring balls, some bubbles, the parachute, ribbon sticks, ropes or even buckets - to play our new favourite game of duck, duck, goose. The field is also where we go when we need supplies of mud for the mud kitchen - very helpfully supplied by the resident moles.
Of course the field also gives us a very good view of the steam trains going past too. It’s fair to say that watching the Bluebell railway going by has been, and will no doubt continue to be a big hit with the children. When we hear it coming, everything usually stops - so whether we are in the middle of a story, a painting, or mixing up a mud pie it all gets abandoned so we can race over to see the trains! I think a visit to see the real thing at some point this year is definitely on the wish list.
With 32 acres we have a lot of space still to explore though. Although we set up our base camp in a small area of the woods we don’t stay put during the day. That’s the beauty of this lovely space. We have spent several great afternoons going for a wander, looking for birds, searching for animal tracks and poo! We have found deer tracks in the mud, rabbit poo and worm casts. The children soon decided however that the tracks actually belonged to Rudolph and friends. The following day, on the same walk but with different children they came to a different conclusion altogether - they were in fact dinosaur tracks!! Cue a very energetic game of hide and seek from the dinosaurs.
We also tested out some of the indoor space at the Sports Club this term - so have spent time running around the sports hall chasing one another, or playing with the train sets and other toys in one of the meeting rooms. We now know that should we get a day where it might be too windy or stormy to stay out in the woods or we just need to warm up for a bit we can go inside and have fun there too.
I’ve been thinking about the highlights of this term and some of the words that help to sum it up so here goes…..mud, moles, deer, tracks, worms, bugs, hammocks, bubbles, buckets, puddle splashing, diggers, climbing, balancing, jumping, water slides, stories, campfires, popcorn, pumpkin seeds, mud, trains!!! Slightly random I know but hopefully it paints a picture.
So looking forward to 2019 and seeing how Treehoppers’ grows this year. If you are interested in your child joining us in our adventures please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
By Suzanne Mark