The Forest School concept originated in Scandinavia from the Friluftsliv culture (i.e. the Nordic concept of getting outdoors). Although a relatively new movement in the UK, Forest School is based on a rich heritage of outdoor learning that stretches back to the 19th century.
Forest School is a long-term process of frequent and regular sessions in a woodland or natural environment, rather than a one-off visit. Planning, adaptation, observations and reviewing are integral elements of Forest School.
Forest School takes place in a woodland or natural wooded environment to support the development of a relationship between the learner and the natural world.
Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners.
Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.
Forest School is run by qualified Forest School practitioners who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice.
Forest School uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for development and learning.
As per the FSA's ethos and principles, our Forest School offers pupils regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands on learning experiences in a natural woodland environment. Through their engagement in Forest School, we also hope that pupils will start to foster a life-long relationship with nature and gain a greater respect for and appreciation of the natural world.
Pupils in Years 1 to 6 are given the opportunity to attend Forest School for three morning or afternoon sessions each term. By continuing throughout the academic year, Forest School enables pupils to observe seasonal changes. Forest School offers a range of experiences, including the use of fires and tools by pupils who can demonstrate a level of responsibility and follow instructions.
Our Forest School is led by Miss Hopkins and Mr Rees who are both Level 3 qualified Forest School practitioners and supported by Miss Williams.
Expect to get muddy in the forest – Remember “There's no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing" (Wainright, 1973)
Long sleeved tops and trousers
Layering your clothing when heading outdoors is key to being comfortable and protected from the elements:
Bring sun protection (i.e. a hat and sun cream) if necessary
For safety reasons, pupils with unsuitable clothing might not be allowed to participate in Forest School sessions
We have been successful in securing funding from The Edward Vinson 1957 Charity Settlement and also a Local Schools Nature Grant. This has enabled us to buy a supply of waterproof jackets/trousers and wellington boots that are available for Forest School (if necessary).
Pupils taking part in morning sessions should come in to school wearing their Forest School clothes and will change in to their school uniform afterwards. Pupils taking part in afternoon sessions can wear their Forest School clothes all day (pupils should wear shoes in to school and change in to their boots after lunch).
Our on-site provision was fenced and developed over 2017-18 so that September 2018 marked the first full year of this fantastic resource being available to all of our pupils.
The development meant clearing skips full of rubbish, removing some of the brambles, opening up pathways and planting some saplings and shrubs.
After the site was fenced some trial sessions were run for our Year 6 class, to help us understand how best to use the space and apply the Forest School ethos.