"The best classroom and the richest cupboard are roofed only by the sky"
Our woodland learning sessions take place on a Tuesday, throughout the year, and we follow The Forest School Ethos. This ethos is very much child led, taking inspiration more from the children’s interests and ideas, rather than having a predetermined set of activities. It is the leader's job to facilitate and introduce skills needed for them to follow their interests. We do sprinkle in activities though, sometimes seasonal, or linked to the children’s learning in school. Woodland Learning is led by Mrs Helen Moxley who is currently undertaking her level 3 Forest School Training.
What to wear?
- Wellies or walking shoes (not school shoes)
- Waterproofs (trousers and jacket)
- long sleeves and trousers (Even when it is hot!)
- Jumpers, hats, scarves and extra socks in winter
- Sun hats and sun cream in the summer.
What is Forest School?
Forest school is an inspirational process that offers ALL learners regular opportunities to achieve, develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees.
(The Forest School Association)
Forest School is an approach to education that makes use of the outdoor environment to create a unique learning vehicle. It believes in children's right to play; the right to access outdoors in a woodland environment; the right to access risk; the right to experience the natural world around them; the right to experience a healthy range of emotions, through all challenges of social interaction, to build resilience that enables continued and creative engagement with peers. The nurturing environment encourages children to develop a positive relationship with the outdoor, natural world. The ethos of a Forest School is based on a fundamental respect for children and the encouragement of their curiosity in the world.
Playing outdoors allows children of all ages to develop self-confidence, independence and self-esteem. They also become aware of limits, boundaries and challenge in their play.
When children are used to playing outdoors, they are more likely to:
- try new activities
- engage with others
- solve problems
- explore the natural environment
- make friends
- show resilience
Forest School activities
As Forest Schools are child-led, there is no set programme for activities. We look at the interests of the learners, their learning styles and the type of activities that are likely to be particularly beneficial to the group. Although activities are centred around play, every activity will provide a learning opportunity and may be repeated if the children want to develop their ideas further.
These could be one of the following:
- Art and creative activities – This could include using natural products such as leaves, sticks and mud for artwork. Learners could also make their own paint or dyes.
- Growing plants, flowers, fruits and vegetables.
- Bush craft and survival activities – This could include building shelters and foraging.
- Use of tools – Learners could use tools such as knives, hammers, saws or fire. (level 3 award needed before this can be taught)
- Outdoor curriculum – This could be outdoor activities designed around English, Science or Mathematics.
- Outdoor food – For example, foraging and cooking on campfires.
- Outdoor play – This could include a mud kitchen and den building.
- Treasure hunts and trails.
- Memory activities.
- Tree activities – This could include discovering the height and age of the tree, building a bird’s nest, identifying tree species, and decorating trees.
- Animal activities – This could include identifying insects, creating habitats, animal tracking, bird surveys.
- Sensory activities – Activities that focus on some or all of the five senses.
We do things that are not possible indoors
We can be relaxed and inventive
We move around in a bigger space
We experience the wonders of nature