Welcome to Forest School
What is Forest School?
Forest School is a holistic, child-centred approach to education with the ultimate aim of improving our children’s wellbeing, engagement, confidence and independence. Forest school enables our children to excel in all areas of their development, including their social, physical, intellectual, communicative, emotional and spiritual development (SPICES). Furthermore, Forest School develops our children’s love and understanding of the natural world, and desire to use it responsibly, protecting it for future generations.
Regular, long term and practical sessions in a woodland setting, give our children time and space to direct their own play and learning, truly supporting their individual needs, wellbeing and risk awareness as well as developing a deep sense of self. It is fully inclusive regardless of age, race, gender, or ability and everyone is welcome to attend.
What will my child be doing at Forest School?
A wide variety of practical experiences will be offered in Forest School. By the time our children are 11 they will have had opportunities to experience:
- The wonder of weather changes and the different seasons
- Exploring and caring for our woodland and its wildlife
- Regular mindfulness activities, building a toolkit to help understand and regulate emotions
- Exciting games promoting communication, team work and enjoyment
- Building dens and shelters for play and intended purposes
- Using a range of tools for craft and building
- Lighting, maintaining and extinguishing fires safely
- Using fires for different purposes such as cooking, making charcoal or candles
- Using ‘Kelly Kettles’ to boil water for hot drinks and cooking
- Climbing trees and challenging themselves physically
- Free play time to direct their own learning, developing their imaginations, at their own pace, supporting intrinsic motivation
Children will acquire new skills as they are ready for them so that experiences remain challenging and exciting, whilst being safe and controlled.
Is Forest School safe?
Schools nationally have an excellent safety record thanks to the robust procedures we are required to have in place before we can offer sessions. Forest School sessions may only be delivered by a qualified Forest School practitioner. Mrs Stone is a qualified and highly experienced Level 3 Forest School Practitioner and will be delivering all Forest School sessions. In addition to this, Forest School can only be run with higher than usual adult-child ratios. We are required to maintain a ratio of 1:8 or better at all times. To make this possible, Mrs Singleton will be joining us and sometimes extra members of staff will join the group.
What does my child need to wear?
An important part of the Forest School experience is that children experience the outdoors in all weathers. We believe there is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothes and we will be going out, regardless of weather conditions with the exception of gale force winds and thunderstorms. Therefore, it is essential that the children are dressed appropriately. Please see the kit lists below. If you are struggling to provide this kit or have any questions, please have a chat with us as we do carry a small amount of spare kit or can point you in the direction of where to buy it.
Where is Forest School?
Vernon Park Primary Forest School runs predominantly from base camp in the environmental area (fenced woodland on the slope at the back of school). Activities may extend to in front of the fenced area when appropriate or may be off the school site if a field trip has been planned. Forest School allows children the freedom to practise their skills and explore and understand a woodland environment within established boundaries.
When will my child take part in Forest School?
Children from Years One to Six have access to Forest School every academic year. Two year groups per term will have weekly sessions that are 1 -2.15 hours long. To see the dates for your child’s year group, please see the letters page on the website.
Children in EYFS have regular access to outdoor learning in our environmental area through their ‘Muddy Mondays’ and when special events take place in the forest such as the Christmas and Easter trails.
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