What is Forest School?
Forest School is a unique approach consisting of regular sessions in wooded environments throughout the year that give young people increased contact with, and knowledge of, the natural world. The ethos and process of Forest School enables the holistic personal development of young people and benefits their physical and mental wellbeing. We believe our Forest School sessions help children develop their communication skills, social relationships and physical confidence.
We are very lucky to be on the edge of some amazing broadleaf woodlands containing a rich diversity of nature. With the kind permission of the landowners we use nearby Tin Woods on a weekly basis to deliver our Forest School curriculum. Our Level 3 trained Forest School Leader in EYFS and KS1 is Claire Linden and in KS2, Jade Jones. They work together with school staff and volunteers to ensure all children have weekly well-planned and resourced activities that develop their physical, social & emotional and core curriculum skills. This involves 'risky play' such as tree climbing, but it is assessed for the risks and benefits and is obsrved by adults. We go out in all weathers apart from thunderstorms or high winds, the children love the mud on rainy days!
We are delighted that in March 2017 we became the first Primary School in the UK to gain 'Recognised Provider' status from the Forest School Association and we have successfully renewed this in 2018, 2019 and 2020 (see current certificate here).
The Forest School Association that we subscribe to have 6 core principles and to achieve our status as a recognised provider we agree to uphold these. They are:
Principle 1: 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.
Principle 2: 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.
Principle 3: Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners
Principle 4: Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.
Principle 5. Forest School is run by qualified Forest School practitioners who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice.
Principle 6. Forest School uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for development and learning