Outdoor Learning

Autumn 2022

This term 1C, 2H, 3C, 4G and 6G have been out at forest school and in the garden.

During the hot, dry summer the school garden, which was planted up in June, has produced lots of vegetables and flowers.  Well done to all the summer classes who planted, weeded and watered- you were amazing and kept everything alive! Its been a successful growing season.  The apples and pears were given out to parents and carers after one of the curriculum meetings.

We now have a new gardening club from year 5 for this year.  They harvested corn and dahlias recently.  We are currently working on the Level 3 RHS school gardening award.  Morrison's supermarket have donated some spring bulbs through their Community Champion scheme which have been planted by the main entrance and in one of the beds.  We have also been given a donation from Tesco.  We are holding a KS2 pumpkin design competition- the winner gets to carve a pumpkin!

Composting is underway.  We use the fruit waste from breaktimes and shredded paper from the office.  We have just had our first wheelbarrow full of compost that we can now use to add to the raised beds.

In the Forest School area we have been working on clearing brambles to make an area for a tight line to balance on.  Year 6 have put a roof on the shelter and learned how to use an electric screwdriver.  They have started willow weaving to make willow platters.  4G did some fabric dying with blackberries.  3C made felt acorns using wool.  Gradually the children have been learning how to use some tools- a hand drill, saw, secateurs and loppers have been used.  Year 1 and 2 have made great choices about getting ready themselves, choosing activities, sharing resources and learning new skills. 

All the usual child-led activities are there too:  hammocks for viewing our lovely trees; bug pots to get down with nature; binoculars to see things greater than ourselves; books to support us in understanding more about wildlife; natural craft materials, wool, string, wood, clay to be creative with.

Thanks to all our parents and carers for sending in Forest School clothes. 

Please get extra layers and hats and gloves ready as winter approaches!

Best wishes,

Ms Byram






Summer term 2022- a wonderful term of new discoveries!

This term classes N, RB, 3C, 4S, 5A came out for the first half of the term and N, RK, 1H, 3H and 6G came out in the last half term.

We have caught lots of butterflies ranging from orange tips, meadow browns, six spot burnets, large skippers, small heaths to ringlets- all classes from Reception to Y6 managed to catch one or two or more.  We used our ID books and charts to identify them.

Find out more here...

Butterflies- Wildlife Trust

Butterflies- Butterfly Conservation Trust

Can you see the ones we found?

We have found some different wildflowers this Spring too- buttercups, daisies, dandelions, cuckoo flower, clover and herb Robert.

Find a wildflower spotter sheet for this month here

We have also found molehills on our site which means moles are living under the forest school area- very exciting!

Find out about moles here

Our school garden has had a makeover too.  We have 6 new raised beds and have planted pumpkins, marrows, dwarf beans, peas, broccoli, broad beans, sweetcorn, sunflowers and dahlias with lots of different classes. The pear, apple and plum trees and the strawberries have some fruit on them too. Everyone has helped to water and care for the new plants.  Thanks everyone!

We have also started a gardening club for 12 Year 5 and 6 pupils.

We have been awarded the RHS School Gardening level 1 and 2 awards.

Read about the RHS school gardening awards here

Have a wonderful summer! Try to get out whenever you can.  Wear sunscreen and a hat if its hot.

Can't wait to hear all about your adventures in Autumn term...and we'll see if the pumpkins have grown.

See you soon!

Ms Byram




April 2022  Spring is in the air- even though it has snowed this month! 

Last half term RK, 2W, 4D, 5W and 6GA came out into the woods.  Everyone has enjoyed having a warm drink during the sessions in these colder winter months.  March had us tricked and was warm and sunny!  We added some hammocks and a work bench to the outside area.  In the last month we've seen the first bees, butterflies and flowers come out.

Reception read several great stories- Stanley's Stick and Superworm and made their own creations from sticks, clay and wool.  They had their first chance to hunt for bugs and treasures in the woods.  They planted flower seeds and potatoes as the weather got warmer.

2W planted sweet peas- I wonder if they have grown at home?  They learned Nordic weaving to make friendship bracelets. They learned how compost is made from our fruit peelings and apple cores. They enjoyed den building and games.

4D talked about and searched out habitats.  They looked at and learned the names for Spring flowers.  They were keen to feed the birds and remembered to do that every week.  They used potato peelers to make journey sticks and enjoyed a fire and on their last session.  They learned how to be safe round the fire and how to toast a marshmallow to make a s'more.

5W were fantastic at learning 'The Lost Words'.  This is a book of nature words that have been pushed out of the dictionary due to lack of space.   They know that they are now the keepers of this knowledge so the words 'magpie', 'heather', 'kingfisher', 'bramble' are safe in their hands.  They made clay Mayan dieties, learned square lashing and reef knots to help them put up the hammocks, they used nails, saws and loppers safely and planted sweet peas.  They can see a magpie nest from their classroom window.

6GA branched out further (get it?) and created a wildflower bed- fingers crossed that the flowers grow!  They learned how to break pallettes and use the wood to build bug houses.  They also created a wooden house on the site which can be used as a reading den, hideout or a bird hide.  They used a battery operated screwdriver, a short saw, hammers and nails.  Developing a high level of concentation and tenacity will really help them in secondary school.

Its been a fantasic half term with lots of new learning for all. 

Every group who finished their Forest school sessions for this year had a fire and toasted marshmallows with extra staff from school joining us for those sessions.

Next half term Nursery, RB, 3C, 4S and 5A will join me outdoors.  See you in the Spring woods with warm clothes and sunhats- you never know what the weather will do!

Ms Byram


January 2022  Brrr! It's winter!

This half term Reception B, 1C, 2H, 5A and 6G have been out in the woods.

Reception are learning to get warmly dressed and look after their clothes.  We have done nature trails, played games and explored the woodland.  We've listening to nature based stories- Stickman- we made stick people afterwards and Super Worm- afterwards we tried to find minibeasts that are surviving in spite of the winter cold.

1C have planted daffodils looked at how compost works in the garden, heard about migration, worked on laying a new path- finding out how to use spades and wheelbarrows, they also heard the story and made Stickmen using prunings from the apple trees.

2H have played lots of games, done litter picks and scavenger hunts learning new words like log, branch, twig, pole, stick- language can be so complicated!  They have also helped us to lay more of the path.

5A have been really interested in building dens and swings, making wands, independently using the wheelbarrow and spades as a group.  They have built on their knowledge of knots and have learned and talked about the processes around frost, ice and dew.

6G have been working on Habitats- making yoghurt pot bird feeders; reassembling the bug hotel; using loppers to clear overgrown bramble; making minibeast houses; fixing the path; learning more complicated knots for their den building; learning to fold tarpaulins in teams and we have fixed the willow dome together.

...and we've only had 3 sessions.   We go out whatever the weather so many thanks for sending in warm clothes.  I can offer some tracky bottoms, sweatshirts, hats and gloves if children forget (as well as waterproofs and wellies) but I really don't have enough for everyone.  Thanks for your support.

Please remember that for morning sessions your child can come to school wearing their Forest School clothes.

Ms Byram

October 2021- Autumn

This half term 4D, 3C, 6GA, 1C and 2H have enjoyed time outside.  We always have den gear, bug hunting kit, binoculars, books and ID cards, craft materials, games to play.

1C and 3C did some weeks looking at mapwork and starting orienteering then did some Forest School weeks. 1C are getting better at dressing quickly, putting on waterproofs and wellies when needed- all important independent skills. 3C have played lots of listening games and activities.

4D did some Stone Age fabric dying with blackberries and have been great at independent learning- den-building and working as small teams.  They are the class who had most people ready each week, wearing their FS clothes.  Well done that class!

2H found treasure in the woods to support their Little Red Riding Hood topic, they planted bulbs and sorted seeds.

6GA have had the most choice in their activities and have been learning to accept responsibility for deciding on their task and respecting resources.  They have been really creative thinking about Halloween crafts.

All classes have looked at the plants, fruit and veg in our school garden.  We had tomatoes, courgettes, a tiny pumpkin, pears, plums and apples to look at.  We have sorted seeds for next year, planted some daffodil bulbs in the playground planters.

Everyone has had the chance to use tools such as palm or hand drills, loppers and scissors.  There has been lots of creativity with clay, wool, sticks, cones and conkers.  One lovely boy brought in a huge bag full of conkers for us all to use in our sessions.  Thankyou!

The great news is that each class will get a chance to do a second series of Forest School sessions, later in the school year.

In Autumn 2- 1H, 2W, 3H, 4S and 5W will have their turn at Forest school.

We have had to throw out some old wellies this half term.

If you have any that you could donate to school please send them in.

Thankyou for you continued support.

Ms Byram



June 2021- Summer is here

Over the last term every class that hadn't had Forest School sessions earlier in the year (due to Covid restrictions) made it out into the woodland.  6G and 3H came out in Summer half-term 1,  2W,  3D, 4S, 4A and reception in Summer half-term 2.

We have been blessed with great weather.  Every class that has come out has had breathing space to play, build dens, make crafts mindfully, catch bugs and start using tools. Thankyou to all families for sending children in with the right clothing, hats and suncream.

Every class in school has a pot of painted-lady caterpillars

Have a look at this video to see what will happen.

Painted lady butterfly life-cycle

Reception and Year 1 havehad  duck eggs hatching.

Have a look at this video to see what will happen.

Ducklings hatching

I've had lots of help with the garden and planters from many children, especially 5W.  We have weeded; laid new paths; planted bedding plants, lavendar, tomatoes, courgettes, a pumpkin and strawberries donated by Fadi's Dad in Reception.  Hopefully we can pick some veg before the end of the year and dig up the potatoes in Reception/ Nursery.

There are lots of videos below that you can use to carry on Outdoor Learning if you are inside for a few days.

Enjoy your summer!

Ms Byram


March 2021-  Happy Spring!  The clocks have changed so we all have longer daylight to play outside in the evenings.

In the 4 weeks we have been back in school class 1C and 5C have had outdoor sessions.  We have been planting flower seeds, finding minibeasts and den building and learning new games and team games.

Just before Easter the Reception children planted some potatoes.  Have a look at the photos above.  Some children thought they didn't like potatoes but then they realised that potatoes can be used to make chips and crisps!

If you want to grow your own potatoes- just get an old potato from Mum or Dad (ask first!) and put it in the soil about 10cm deep, cover the leaves with more soil as it grows.  It takes about 12 weeks for them to grow under the soil, then dig them up.

We hope to grow lots more after Easter when the last frosty nights are over.

Enjoy the warmer weather everyone.

Ms Byram


Jan 2021

I hope you will still go out for a daily walk or spend some time in your garden in this third lockdown.  It will cheer everyone up and keeyou fit.  If it snowed near you take a look at the animal track spotter sheet below.  You might see people, cat, dog, bird, fox, squirrel or hedgehog tracks locally and in larger spaces like parks you might see badger or deer tracks.  Its fun working out who made footprints on the ground, was it a child, woman or man who made the prints? did they have  a dog with them? were they running? do you think their feet are smaller or larger than yours?

What a busy end it was to 2020!  Nursery, Reception, Year 5 and Year 6 planted over 100 trees in the last 2 weeks of term.  Well done!  We planted hedging- Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Crab Apple, Dogwood and Dog Rose and we also planted some Oak, Hazel, Rowan and Silver birch on the school field.  We hope they will help to dry the ground, making it less boggy and make the area usable all year round for the children.

Check out the tree information sheets below.


We have bought a whole new set of waterproof trousers and dungarees to replace our worn out ones,  We have also bought some larger wellies to avoid sharing as we continue to quarantine waterproofs and wellies that are borrowed during this time of Covid 19.

Get your hats and gloves ready and enjoy time in the woods in 2021!

Ms Byram


PS.  All the earlier videos are still available...

Check out the Stone Age Outdoor Learning Experience video- Year 4 Autumn term

Conkers and bramble videos to help you identify them.

Do you like Harry Potter?- make a wand, a mobile or a God's eye using sticks and wool.  See the videos below.

Do you keep spotting new flowers, insects, birds and trees when you're out?  With your parents permission you could try the inaturalist app- you take a photo of the plant, bird, tree or animal, send it to the app and it'll suggest what it might be.  There's also a link to Wildlife watch identification pages below- do you have a bee buzzing round your garden?  Look at the bee sheet and discover what kind it is.

PS Here are some apps and links to find out about things you might see or hear outside...

To see ladybirds grow up https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ws_D5nXOAJg

To see the frog life cycle https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmlaclb3K2o 

An intro to the inaturalisapp https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xENz1xRu0wI 

A link about identifying insects, birds, plants and allsorts of things! https://www.wildlifewatch.org.uk/spotting-sheets

A link about birdsong  https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/bird-songs/

An app to help you spot trees https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/trees-woods-and-wildlife/british-trees/tree-id-app/

A link to help you spot butterflies  https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/wildlife/identify-garden-butterflies

A fun quiz about insects https://www.dkfindout.com/uk/quiz/animals-and-nature/take-insects-quiz/

Contact us

Crosslee Primary School

Crosslee Road


Manchester, M9 6TG

0161 795 8493