Welcome to Harlands Community
Primary & Nursery School

Forest School

What is Forest School

Forest Schools have developed from the Scandinavian education system, it takes on  a holistic approach to learning in a natural, wooded, outdoor space.  Children are given the freedom to play, explore, be curious and imaginative through positive outdoor experiences. 

What should we wear?

It is really important that your child is warm and dry during Forest School sessions.  Children will get muddy, so should bring into school an old set of clothes to get changed into before their Forest School session.

In cold weather children will need: long sleeved t-shirt, warm trousers, thick socks, warm layers – sweatshirt, jumper, fleece, warm hat, gloves, waterproof trousers and jacket and wellington boots.

In warm weather:  light cool clothing – long sleeved top, light weight trousers, wellingtons or other sturdy boots, sun hats, full waterproof gear may be required at times.

What if it's raining?

‘There is no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing’

 Forest School sessions will go ahead in almost all weathers as long as the children are warm and dry and wearing suitable clothing.  Forest School sessions will only be cancelled if high winds, thunderstorms or very bad weather deem it to be unsafe.

How do we keep children safe?

The health and safety of all participants is central to everything within a Forest School programme.  Forest School Leaders are fully trained in emergency first aid and risk assessment.  The site and activities are carefully assessed and the children are given appropriate training for all activities..

Part of Forest School is teaching children about risks and how to evaluate them.  So the children will be taught about how to light, fuel, cook and make drinks using a fire and how to use a range of tools.  These activities will be introduced as the children in the group are ready for them and will be carefully supervised by an adult. 

By allowing children to take these measured risks, we help to prepare them for making choices when they are older and teach them to be actively responsible for themselves, their choices and actions.

What benefits will my child get from participating in Forest School?

Forest School supports the holistic (whole) development of the child:

Emotional Development – the reflective environment allows children to explore and describe their feelings as well as to regulate and express them. 

Social Development – Forest School gives a feeling of being part of something and creating common experiences; everyone having rich and varied shared experiences of success and failure is very powerful in bringing a group together. It gives children opportunity to read peers, to empathise and to support. There is chance of self-discovery about how our own behaviours affect others and sharing and working together.

Intellectual Development – the child led approach allows children to develop their own learning in areas of interest and motivates and helps develop a thirst for learning.  The environment and ethos facilitates multi-sensory, real life, hands on and problem solving activities.  It also helps develop understanding and knowledge to care for green spaces and wildlife

Physical Development – Forest School enables children to be more in tune with their bodies; it helps the development of fine and gross motor skills and increases stamina.

Spiritual Development – connecting with nature gives a sense of awe.  Understanding the world and place we are living in and making connections all helps develop our spiritual being.

The development of communication, sharing, negotiating, risk assessing and problem solving all help build children’s confidence and resilience.

All these skills that develop the self can be transferred into life and learning.

Who runs Forest School?

Mrs Brown is a fully qualified Level 3 Forest School Practitioners and will be leading the Forest School sessions.  They will be joined by the class teacher in each session.

When and where will it take place?

Forest School sessions will take place during the school day. 

Foundation and KS1 children use the natural woodland area on the school site for their sessions.

We are very lucky to have permission to use local woodland around the school such as Boothland and Nightingale Woods and these are used for the KS2 sessions.

So, your child is going to Forest School...

What is a Forest School session like?

A Forest School session lasts around 2 hours. All session are child led and driven by the children’s interests and motivations. Sessions are flexible and adaptable to ensure they meet the needs of all children.

Sessions may be made up of a range of activities such as games, natural craft activities, team building challenges, den building, tool use and lots lots more.  Every week a fire will be built and lit by the children and hot drinks will be made.