Respect is one of our school values and is practised in all areas of Woodland School. When we enter our Woodland School site, we always knock on the gate and ask the living things if it is OK for us to enter. This is our way of showing respect to all the living things that we share the space with. Sometimes we hear birds respond, sometimes we hear the trees rustle, and occasionally, if listening really carefully, some children claim to hear all sorts of other creatures reply, from frogs and toads to fairies and pixies! When we leave the woodland area we make sure that we thank it for allowing us to stay.
During our Woodland School sessions, we make sure that we are showing respect to each other, living things and the environment. We show respect to each other by listening carefully and helping each other. The children always have a choice of taking part in a ‘Respect Our Area’ activity. This might include preparing sticks for the stick store, removing leaves and unhelpful weeds from the pond, or maintaining a specific area of the woodland. This helps the children to take ownership of the woodland by helping to care for it. In addition to this, over the course of the school year, we find time to think about the challenges facing our environment and reflect on how we can do our bit to help.
Our reception children in Panda class and Polar Bear Class have been learning how we show respect to our woodland area. They have learnt that we don’t pick things unless an adult says we can (but only if it helps us with our learning). We think about leaves on plants as being a bit like hair on our heads. They have also been learning how to show respect to bugs when they are bug hunting. They thought about how the bugs would feel to be removed from their homes. They decided it was important to always return bugs to where they were found. We talked about handling them with ‘gentle hands’ and that sometimes a paintbrush can help us gently move them into a pot so that we can view them better. We have been talking about showing respect and kindness to each other and all living things.