Forest School at St Mary’s RC Primary school
Our Forest school is used almost every day - all year round.
This is carefully planned in to our curriculum and we aim for 10% of all children's learning to be outdoors.
Early years have their own special wild area where they can widen their experiences; build dens, carry out science investigations , play, climb, run and much more. In Early years children have access to the outdoor area every day.
At St Mary's year two, three and four have five sessions of forest school each year. The forest school is delivered by two qualified forest school leaders who plan the sessions to ensure progression through the year groups.
Year two stay on site in the school forest school and follow a story based programme. Each week a story is told by one of the leaders and then an activity related to the story follows . The children build dens for the forest elves, they make elder bead necklaces and bracelets and they cut a disk of wood to make a medal.
Year three walk off site into a local woodland in Highfield country park. During the walk the forest school leaders teach tree identification. Once on site the sessions are based on wolves. Positive wolf facts are used throughout the programme. The children play wolf games, make bows and use stage one whittling knives to make wands.
Year 4 also walk off site to the local wood in Highfield country park. The tree identification on the walk to the forest is repeated with more information and complexity. The sessions on site involve making shelters in clans, using leaves and flowers to make a Japanese art called happazome and finally a tool use session splitting wood and drilling to make boats.
Every session has a set routine that is repeated for everyone so that the children stay familiar with the rules and routines. As the children revisit forest school each year the activities become more involved and the tool use becomes more complex. Every year group experiences a fire in the last of 5 sessions and the tree identification becomes more embedded. Throughout the forest school sessions three rules make a firm basis that encourage kindness and emotional literacy. The rules are "look after yourself, look after everyone and look after nature."
Years 1,5 and 6 have opportunities to work outdoors too.
Year 1 have the opportunity to work in our school garden and orchard area.
Year 5 and 6 have offsite outdoor activities and Year 6 spend a week at Kingswood outdoor activities centre.