Forest School

Forest School is fundamentally a child-centred approach to learning using outdoor spaces and wooded areas to enrich learning for each child. It offers a unique educational experience that is designed to build self-esteem and self-confidence through hands-on learning opportunities. The child-centred philosophy of Forest School gives students the freedom to explore their environment, plan activities and develop their independence and problem-solving capacities.

God makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.  He restores my soul. Psalm 23:2

During Forest School children will engage in motivating and achievable tasks throughout the year and in almost all weathers. They will work with learn within agreed safe boundaries, learn how to manage risk, develop their social skills and use tools to achieve their goals. Adults plan discovery activities and then facilitate independent learning rather than overtly directly children. Through careful observation they will be able to scaffold learning for individuals to challenge and extend their conceptual understanding and build a wide range of learning skills. 

Outcomes of Forest School include: 

  • Enhanced self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Development of personal and social skills
  • Learning how they learn best and what is more of a challenge
  • Effective identification and management of risks
  • Solving a range of practical problems, both individually and in groups
  • Working together and contributing to an effective team
  • Improving fine and gross motor skills
  • Using tools to create, build and manage their environment
  • Pursuing their own interests and building new knowledge
  • Embedding a deep understanding and empathy with their natural environment
  • Improved motivation and concentration
  • Learning how to manage failure and develop resilience
  • Improved language, communication and negotiation skills
  • Making decisions and overcoming challenges
  • Sharing learning and celebrating their achievements with their peers
  • Taking responsibility for their outcomes and becoming successful independent learners

Forest School ties directly in with East Claydon’s curriculum and learning philosophy.  It exemplifies and develops a growth mindset, building essential skills that pupils can use when back in the classroom. This creation of a ‘can do’ attitude has been proven to improve outcomes across the curriculum, as well as increasing children’s motivation to learn.   

Forest School shares the same practical, immersive and hands-on approach as Expeditionary Learning and will be integrated with all of our learning expeditions so that it enhances and enriches the curriculum for all.   

Forest School will evolve to meet the needs of children of different ages and interests.  For pupils in Reception it will offer extended opportunities for free choice and learning through play. Children will be encouraged to choose their own activities and explore the woodland in ways that make sense to them as individuals.  As pupils get older their range of skills will be extended and longer challenges will be set that link with each half term’s expedition. They will be able to utilise their skills and work together to tackle these challenges in ways that make sense to them. In all activities, learning will be child-led and effectively scaffolded by adults working with them so that they can achieve their goals and celebrate their successes together. 

Forest School Handbook Summer 2019