Forest School

Education and exploration of nature in Chetwynd Park Estate





What is Forest School?

Forest Schools in Britain take their inspiration from an educational concept originated in Denmark in the 1980’s. It stems from practice in Early Years Education in which children learn from and about the natural world in the outdoor environment.  At SS Peter and Paul Catholic Primary School we have been running Forest School sessions for all pupils for over 10 years now.  To find out more about Forest School please visit the Forest School Association website, link below

Quality Forest School is delivery which holds to all six key principles that shape and govern the Forest School ethos. There are many forms of outdoor education and all have enormous value, however, Forest School is unique in its reach, delivery and effect. These six principles are:

  1. Forest School is a long-term process of regular sessions
  2. Forest School takes place in a woodland or natural environment to support the development of a lifelong relationship between the learner and the natural world.
  3. Forest School uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for being, development and learning.
  4. Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners.
  5. Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.
  6. Forest School is run by qualified Forest School practitioners, who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice.

Forest School’s learner-centred approach interweaves with the ever-changing moods and marvels, potential and challenges of the natural world through the seasons to fill every Forest School session and programme with discovery and difference. Making each session and every experience a valuable one.

Where are we going?

We have kindly been given permission to use an existing Forest School site on the Chetwynd Park Estate close by our school.

When are we going?

Each class will be informed of their day.

What will we do whilst we are there?

There are many planned and unplanned activities that may take place during our Forest School sessions. Children are encouraged to follow their own interests and make their own choices but skills such as classification, sculpture, team building activities and using tools will be taught. Forest school sessions will be used to complement and enhance much of our classroom learning.

What are the benefits of Forest School?

We know that there are wide reaching benefits of children spending time learning in the outdoor environment. 

Forest School Therapy:

The therapeutic benefits of time spent outdoors in nature helps develop…

  1. Emotional well-being: Time spent outdoors proven to help relieve stress and anxiety.
  2. Self-confidence: Overcoming challenges and taking risks such as tree climbing/ropes courses.
  3. Self-regulation: (Control thought and behaviour); Reflecting and adapting when something is not going well. For example, encountering a mini raft that doesn’t float, requires making adjustments to improve it.
  4. Concentration: Staying focussed on an activity, such as bird spotting or constructing a wooden bird feeder.
  5. Self-esteem: Child led group activities or projects often allows them to contribute their ideas, consequently increasing self-worth. For example, designing a bridge.
  6. Stress management: Sensory engagement during calming activities such as nature walks, bird spotting and insect identification.
  7. Emotional coping mechanisms: Children are given opportunities to talk about their worries and fears during fire circle time. Child led activities give opportunities for independent problem solving.
  8. Self-efficacy: (Child’s belief in their ability to accomplish a task): Child led tasks provide opportunities to succeed without external guidance.
  9. Emotional reactivity: (Ability to manage emotions when upset) The unconstrained nature of Forest school may allow children to compose themselves and harness their emotions.
  10. Social skills: Children are given the opportunity to mix with peers.

What will we need?

We will be getting muddy! Even if your child’s Forest School sessions are taking place during the summer term your child will still need to wear; a waterproof, a long sleeved top, long trousers (waterproof trousers where necessary) and wellies or outdoor shoes. Please keep an eye on the weather and ensure your child is appropriately dressed for a morning outdoors. Children arriving without the necessary clothing may not be able to take part in the Forest School session.

Who is taking us?

Mrs Lambord has received Forest School training and has an outdoor first aid qualification. The site and any activities have been thoroughly risk assessed and there will be other accompanying adults (school staff and volunteers) with a ratio of at least 1 adult to every 8 children.