Forest School

What is ‘Forest School’?

The forest school ethos takes on a holistic approach encouraging learning through play and exploration; Children learn about the natural environment, in the natural environment, whatever the weather. They learn how to handle risks and to use their own initiative to solve problems and cooperate with others. At a Forest School children have the opportunities to build dens and shelters, light a fire and use woodworking skills to create and build objects from the woodland around them. They use full size tools; learn the boundaries of behaviour, both physical and social, establish and grow in confidence, self-esteem and motivation. They also learn respect for themselves and others, as well as learning about and respecting the world around them and the environment. Research on Forest Schools has demonstrated that such learning has a very positive effect on children’s self-esteem, general behaviour, awareness of own safety and the safety of others.

What Children learn at Forest School:

  1. They learn to work and play together.
  2. They develop their communication and socialisation skills.
  3. The tasks are carefully chosen and broken down into small steps to enable the children to experience success. This boosts their self-esteem.
  4. They learn to transfer learning from school to the forest and back again.
  5. They learn to enjoy themselves.
  6. They learn to observe environmental change and thus learn about the forest environment.

Safety at Forest School

Safety is paramount. Risk assessments are key to a successful Forest School. Risk assessments:

  • assess the risks of the environment - fallen trees, holes in the ground –
  • assess the risks of equipment –use of tools, barbecues etc.
  • assess the unique risks associated with each child – escaping, dyspraxia, epilepsy etc.
  • assess the risks of anything we make e.g. shelters or seesaws

Risk assessments are not there to prevent risk taking – there are risks in a Forest School – indeed part of the whole ethos of Forest School is that the children learn to take sensible risks -but the risks need to be managed risks.

Research shows that in today’s health and safety culture, children take a different type of risk, online. Forest School provides children with opportunities to identify their own limitations, make informed choices and take on reasonable, managed risks outdoors under the supervision of a qualified Forest School leader.

One last thing to note, it is great fun!

We are so lucky to have such a wonderful location. We fully embrace our local environment by visiting it, learning about it, learning how to respect and care for it, learning how to look after ourselves and each other and staying safe when out and about. Below are some examples of the things we love the most and what we learn about during our Forest School Sessions:
Using technology to record the first signs of Spring.

Investigating bugs and mini-beasts.

Reading and understanding signs in the environment.

Finding and using natural materials to create pictures.

Enjoying hot chocolate and cookies in the Autumn sunshine.

We love the Bluebell woods in the Springtime.

Climbing and den building.

Learning how to care for living things in the environment.

Learning how to find information to learn new things.

Working as a team to build and test out dens.
Learning about woodland animals in the forest.

We love seeing the pigs during Pannage season in the forest.

Burley piglets during Pannage season.

Using writing skills to record what we find.

Looking for signs of Fairies.