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Our Fantastic Forest School

We are very fortunate to have an area of woodland on the school grounds as well as access to the nearby Millennium Woods. Each class has a dedicated day of Forest School provision on a rolling programme, led by Miss Richardson - our qualified,experienced and very enthusiastic Forest School teacher.  Please also see our newsletters for weekly Forest School updates.

Forest School is outdoor, nature-based learning which supports play, exploration and supported risk taking, whilst focusing on the holistic development of the child. Forest School is linked to the Scandinavian open-air culture of ‘Friluftsliv’ and has grown in popularity for many reasons including its positive impact on wellbeing, encouraging an alternative to electrical devices/screen time, as well as a shift in mindsets as a result of the recent pandemic.

Forest School provides opportunities for children to develop skills which are sometimes difficult to teach in a traditional classroom - which can then be transferred back in to the classroom. It ties in with many areas of the national curriculum from maths, science and geography, through to art, history and design technology and allows children to approach their learning in a different way.

Forest school activities and experiences are wide ranging – they are linked to the seasons, the weather, the children’s interests, a calendar event or a class topic. Over just the summer term, we lit fires using a flint and steel, cooked a variety of ‘stick’ food, climbed trees, build a bug hotel, made a swing, built a variety of dens, cut wood with a bow saw, drilled holes with a hand/palm drill, hammered nails in to wood and used stamps, whittled sticks, tie-dyed and painted with natural materials, built a wattle and daub structure, made charcoal and natural soap, played team games, completed teambuilding activities, sang campfire songs, hunted for and identified bugs, used hammocks and slacklines, aged trees, identified tree and plant species, dug holes, created mud kitchen masterpieces, made seed bombs to create a wildflower area, made bird feeders, completed a variety of craft items using natural materials ….. to name just a few of our activities!

As a result of our varied activities, the benefits of regular Forest School provision are also wide ranging:

  • Physical exercise from games, tree climbing, construction activities etc.
  • Creativity from nature-based craft opportunities and open-ended activities
  • Fine motor skill development from tool/equipment use
  • Communication, teamwork and relationship building
  • Respect for and connection to nature
  • Resilience and self-confidence from trial and error
  • Exposure to new experiences
  • Appeals to a variety of learning preferences
  • Wellbeing from spending time in an outdoor environment and from the child-led approach

 “Children cannot bounce off the walls if we take away the walls.” Erin K Kenny

Safety underpins all of our activities and experiences – the children are fully briefed at each session, taught how to use equipment and carry out activities in the correct manner, are closely observed and encouraged to assess risk and self-manage their own and each other’s activities in order to keep themselves safe. In addition, all activities are fully risk assessed and Forest School has its own comprehensive set of policies and procedures which are available upon request.

The woodland is shaded and is home to a variety of plants and insects. Forest School takes place in all weathers (with the exception of high winds or lightning) and as such your child will need to be equipped at each session with the following items to keep them safe and comfortable, in order to take part:

  • Wellies
  • Waterproof coat (with a hood) and waterproof trousers
  • Long sleeved top
  • Jumper/fleece
  • Trousers/leggings (not shorts)
  • Spare socks
  • Water bottle
  • Suncream and sunhat (when weather requires it)
  • Hat/gloves (when weather requires it)
  • A plastic bag to transport wet/muddy things home in

(NB Please use old clothes where possible)

Children should wear their Forest School clothing into school and bring their wellies with them in a separate bag to change in to. A spare set of clothes are advised, should the children get particularly wet/muddy.