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Much Birch Church of England Primary School

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Forest School

When does Forest School happen?

We pride ourselves in the fact that all classes (Year R through to Year 6) take part in Forest School sessions

on a weekly basis throughout the year.  This means that the children experience Forest School sessions through the seasons and it is a long term process for the children.


What is Forest School?

The Forest School concept originates from Scandinavia where outdoor learning is embedded and children

spend the majority of their time outdoors.  Forest School was brought to the UK in the early 1990s. 


A UK definition of Forest School was formulated in 2002:


'An inspirational process that offers children, young people

and adults regular opportunities to achieve, develop confidence and self esteem through hands-on learning

experiences in a local woodland environment.' 


Forest School is a long term process for children where they have

regular contact with a local wooded environment over the seasons.  It is child centred where the learning is predominantly

child led and they learn to manage risk.   Careful observations of the children within Forest School sessions mean that

practitioners can help to scaffold the children’s learning.  Independence is promoted.  The children learn the countryside

code and how to care for the natural world.    During Forest School activities the children will be physically active a lot of

the time and will build up their stamina.  The children will grow in confidence, build resilience and perseverance and

over time  their self-esteem will improve which will impact on their emotional and mental well-being.


What happens in Forest School?

During Forest School sessions there will be activities on offer for the children to access but the emphasis will be

on the children choosing what they do.  Some of the activities the children can access may include things like den building,

chopping firewood, building fires and lighting them using flint and steel, whittling, wood crafts, team building games,

bug hunts, making rope swings and flora and fauna identification are just some examples!   Your child will benefit from

these sessions in so many ways, physical health from being outside on a regular basis, improved coordination and fine

motor skills, for example knot tying,  opportunities to be creative, develop their imagination, problem solve and take risks

and improve perseverance.  They will be encouraged to build up their resilience and perseverance which means they will

continue to practise and develop a particular skill until they are successful.


Children will be encouraged to try things out and learn from experience, rather than rigidly following a set of instructions.

This often involves learning to work as a team to get something done, feeling comfortable with asking for and offering help

and learning how to cope with failure or setbacks. All crucial emotional skills to take with them into the adult world. 


All Forest school sessions will be led by a Level 3 qualified leader (currently Mrs Robbins and Mrs Stewart) with

paediatric First Aid qualification (renewed every 3 years). Forest School assistants will have a minimum of

Level 1 Forest School training, or have been inducted by the Forest School leader.   We have three more members of staff

about to embark on their Level 3 Forest School Leader training.


The Forest School site is risk assessed on a daily basis and a member of staff carries out a safety sweep before all

sessions.  All activities that the children do are risk assessed.  There are strict rules around the camp fire and

an adult will always be present whilst the fire is lit.