Last night we launched our brand new Night Time Forest School sessions for older children, which was so much fun! After picking the children up from school and getting kitted out in our warm clothing, hi vis and head torches we headed out into Hackney Marshes for the climbing trees. We roamed via the canal, the stone circle and the filter beds. Along the way we listened for birds and heard a blackbird making a warning call, we’re lucky one of our staff members is also an ornithologist so has been teaching us how to recognise different bird songs.
The weather was on our side, no wind, mild and only a few spots of rain. For snacks we had hot chocolate with banana & blueberry cake which the children ate perched high on the stones at our own mini Stonehenge in Hackney, known as the stone circle.
We put new boundaries and rules in place whereby the children were each given a number and when we called, “numbers”, the children responded with their allocated number so we knew everyone was with us and safe. We decided upon a hyena warning call, that if made, by the Forest School Leader the children learnt they had to respond immediately by returning to us.
One of the children correctly predicted that it would get dark between 4.45pm and 5.00pm. We checked and it was fully dark at 4.50pm. Each week it will get darker earlier so it will be interesting to track this over the course of the sessions. On the marshes we got a great view of the skyline of Stratford light up and a few fireworks too.
We stopped by a container filled with water and when we shone our torches we spotted lots of mini beasts in the water including a water boatman.
Tree climbing took on another dimension in the dark. We also walked very quietly through the wild spaces hoping that we would come across some wild animals, perhaps a fox. The children’s imaginations were fired up and one child was convinced he saw a wild boar!
At the end of the session the children decided what they wanted to do over the next few weeks to include cooking on the fire, roaming further into the marshes and playing games on site. We can’t wait for next week!