What is forest school?
Forest school is defined by the Forest School Association as:
“an inspirational process that offers ALL learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees”
Principles of Forest School as agreed by the Forest School community in 2011:
Find out more about the Forest School approach to learning:
Children's Learning Experience
Forest school sessions at St Mary’s give the children opportunities to explore and connect with nature through, creative activities and games. Forest School Leaders, Jane and Freya, provide a nurturing space that supports every child’s wellbeing. The activities offered provide different experiences that can help foster resilience, confidence and emotional intelligence.
At St Mary’s forest school, groups visit the same pieces of woodland each year. This helps children feel a sense of belonging. Each session follows a similar routine, establishing group cohesiveness and safety. There is a clear beginning and ending. The boundaries of the play area and rules for safety and care for each other and the environment are established as a whole group. Forest school builds happy memories for all.
Over the three years that children are taken to forest school the group see how the woodland changes, they develop an understanding of seasonal change. Each season provides moments of discovery that have a positive lasting effect on children’s sense of the outdoors. Children develop a love of nature leading to care and respect for green spaces in the future.
Knowledge and skills learnt are built upon each year through a spiral curriculum, which progresses and revisits to build on and embed understanding.
Forest school leaders, Freya and Jane, work closely with teachers to ensure links to the wider curriculum are made during Forest School units. Plans are developed to enhance pupils knowledge and skills development in Geography, Science, and occasionally History, which build to support their understanding and development of skills in context.
Here are some of the practical activities that we do at St Mary’s Forest school: