We offer outdoor learning sessions at Perivale Wood for primary school classes.
The sessions are delivered by our environmental science teachers and forest school practitioners.
All sessions are based on the national curriculum.
Groups can come to the reserve for a half day (two hour) session or for a full day.
A half day session costs £120 and a full day session costs £240.
During your visit you have use of our Bluebell Centre, which includes a classroom for 30 children, a boot room to store any belongings and toilets.
We also cater for SEND groups. Please fill in our enquiry form for more information about our SEND sessions.
Summaries for each session and our booking form can be found below.
Exploring the seasons
Our Early Years sessions use a story as a springboard from which we explore the seasons. This way we capture the children’s imaginations as we explore the woodland environment.
Examples of the sessions we offer are described below, but we can offer tailor made sessions based on other books such as ‘The listening walk’ by Paul Showers or ‘The Gruffalo’ by Julia Donaldson.
At the start of this session we will read ‘Superworm’ by Julia Donaldson and discuss the creatures in the story. The children will then go on minibeast hunt and will identify the invertebrates seen. They will be taught how to handle invertebrates and observe them closely. The children will then have the opportunity to make a wormery which they can take back to their school. The session finishes with a team work activity to build a trap for Wizard Lizard.
The children will listen to the story Bog Baby by Jeanne Willis and will investigate other animals that Bog Baby lives with (pond dipping for tadpoles). In small groups the children will have the opportunity to make their own habitat for the bog baby using the natural materials found in the reserve.
The session will begin with a walk through the woodland to observe the seasonal changes in the wood and to collect natural materials. The children will then listen to the story Dream Catcher by Audrey Osofsky. In small groups the children will have the opportunity to make their own dream catcher using the natural materials they collected on their nature walk.
Years 1 & 2
Year 1: Wild flowers and trees
During this session, the pupils will experience and observe the natural world through the exploration and identification of common wild flowers and both deciduous and evergreen trees. They will use mini microscopes and hand lenses to look closely at different leaves to gain an awareness of biodiversity. The pupils will make their own ID sheet by making leaf rubbings. The pupils will have the opportunity to calculate the age of the oak trees in Perivale Wood and consider the importance of a woodland to animal life by looking for the invertebrates found in our education area.
Year 1: Animals (vertebrates) of Perivale Wood
During this session pupils will have the opportunity to observe some of the birds found in Perivale Wood and discuss their features and adaptations to their environment. They will observe a birds nest and discuss how different species nest in different ways. They will then move on to common mammals found in Perivale Wood, looking at a preserved pipistrelle bat and the skull of a fox. Pupils will discuss whether the mammals looked at are carnivores, herbivores or omnivores. We will then move into the field and look for slow worms (as an example of a reptile) and look in the pond to find frogs and/or newts to discuss the adaptations of amphibians. No fish are found in Perivale Wood, but the features of fish will also be covered.
Year 2: Habitats
During this session pupils will investigate the living things found in a woodland habitat. They will look for signs of animal life during a woodland walk and will spend quiet time in the woodland using their senses to answer questions about their environment. Pupils will discuss the animals and plants found in a woodland habitat and think about how they depend on each other for survival. Pupils will then investigate a log microhabitat to discover the variety of invertebrates that live there. They will consider what the invertebrates eat and create simple woodland food chains as a class.
Year 2: Living, dead or never alive
Pupils will begin the session with a woodland walk scavenger hunt to find natural materials. Back at the Education Centre they will then carry out a series of sorting and classifying activities where they will decide whether the objects they have collected are living, dead or have never been alive. In addition to the objects collected they will also have the opportunity to examine a fox skull and a preserved slow worm. Pupils will then discuss the life processes that are common to all living things and take time to observe some of these processes in a woodlouse as it explores a microhabitat created by the pupils themselves.
Year 2: Forest School Seasons
Ideally the class would visit Perivale Wood each term to learn about the changing seasons in a creative way. For example, the group may search for indicators of each season, take part in a nest building challenge in the spring, use charcoal to draw images of nature, make natural colours from dyes and tannins in the autumn and make wreaths in the winter.
Years 3 & 4
Year 3: Plants – structure and function
Pupils will begin this session in a wild flower meadow where they will identify the different parts of a plant and will
think about and discuss the function of each of those parts. There will then be a teacher led discussion about the requirements of plants for life and growth and this will lead into an investigation into how light levels affect the number of plants that grow. The number of plants growing in the meadow, with lots of light, will be compared to the number of plants growing in the woodland. Pupils will use random sampling methods and quadrats to collect their data.
Year 3: Life cycle of flowering plants
Perivale Wood is an important site for bluebells and this session is especially wonderful during the bluebell season in April and May.
Pupils will look closely at a flower to identify the male and female parts. They will then go into the reserve to look at a range of wild flowers and will try to identify the different parts of the flowers. This will enable them to gain an understanding of biodiversity. Pupils will examine pollination and seed formation and will spend time looking for and identifying a range of pollinators in the reserve. Finally, pupils will look for examples of seeds found in the reserve and will try to work out how the seeds are dispersed.
Year 4: Living things and their habitats
During this session, pupils will have the chance to collect important scientific data for a national bug survey hosted by OPAL (http://www.opalexplorenature.org/). They will learn how to classify invertebrates into groups based on their common features and will use a simple key to identify invertebrates in the field. Pupils will carry out an investigation to compare the diversity of invertebrates in three different habitats (woodland, long grass and a man-made environment). This will develop their knowledge of scientific methodology, e.g. fair testing, and improve their practical skills. The results will raise questions about the positive effects of nature reserves and the negative effects of urban development on invertebrate species.
Year 3 and 4: Den building
In this fun, hands-on activity, children will use team work, communication skills and lots of creativity and imagination to build mini-shelters from outdoor materials. The pupils will learn how hazel is coppiced at Perivale Wood as an example of woodland management. They will use the hazel stakes from coppicing to make their dens. They will work in teams to create, present and peer review mini-dens. They will practise teamwork, cooperation and communication skills. Many challenges will be presented to the group during this session including the ‘waterproofing test.’
Year 5: Life cycles and reproduction – Animals
During this session pupils will observe and compare the life cycles of a frog, butterfly, blue tit and grey squirrel. Pupils will explore the differences between these life cycles and observe these animals in the wild. The session includes pond dipping to find amphibians and using sweep nets in the meadow to find a variety of insects.
Year 5: Life cycles and reproduction – Plants
Perivale Wood is home to thousands of bluebells, which flower in April. During this session pupils will investigate the life cycle of the bluebell in this beautiful setting. They will identify the male and female parts of the bluebell flower and learn about how pollination occurs. They will learn about how bluebells carry out both sexual and asexual reproduction and will compare the differences between both methods of reproduction.
Year 6: Living things and their habitats
During this session pupils will begin by building on their learning about grouping living things in year 4 by looking at the classification system in more detail. They will focus on the species found in Perivale Wood and will complete activities to decide into which group these species should be classified. The work of Carl Linnaeus will be discussed. Pupils will then examine the classification of invertebrates in more detail and will devise a key that will be used to classify unknown invertebrate species into an invertebrate group. The class will then carry out an OPAL Biodiversity Survey which looks at the biodiversity of invertebrates in a hedge. The OPAL Biodiversity Survey provides an opportunity for pupils to carry out a scientific survey where the outcome is not known (it is not a ‘fair test’ style of science practical). It is an opportunity to be part of a groundbreaking national survey that makes a real contribution to our wider knowledge. The data collected will be used to determine the condition of the hedge investigated. Suggestions for classroom activities building on the field work done at the reserve will be available.
Year 5 and 6: Woodland survival
Over one or two full day sessions the children will be introduced to the ancient woodland and discuss the idea of a ‘nature reserve’ covering health and safety, looking after themselves and their friends and respecting the natural environment, always keeping living sustainability in mind. Covering aspects of taking a trip in the outdoors we will look at the triumphs and pitfalls – shelter and safety. We will learn to learn to categorise different types of woodland yummies (and forage in the right season) learn how to find our own water, purify it and make it safe. Also, we can incorporate the science of fire and practical fire making, eating outdoors, as well as natural navigation methods and compass use.