Forest School

1st July 2022

Next year will be a very exciting time for all the pupils in Birchwood Primary School as we are rolling out Forest School sessions to every year group. Each session will be co-ordinated and led by Mrs Smith, and supported by the child’s class teacher and teaching assistants.

1. What is Forest School?

Forest School is a method of working outdoors with children, young people and adults,vcusing the natural environment to promote social and emotional development. It is an inspirational process that offers all learners regular opportunities to develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees. These learning experiences also help to develop communication and practical skills, as well as a greater understanding of the environment. For more information see the Forest School Association website at www.forestschoolassociation.co.uk

2. How can Forest School help my child’s learning and development?

It is proven from research that learning that takes place in the outdoors is very powerful and memorable as all the senses are involved. Forest Schools helps children develop through a child-led approach and teaches them how to assess risks for it is proven from research that learning that takes place in the outdoors is very powerful and memorable as all the senses are involved. Forest Schools helps children develop through a child-led approach and teaches them how to assess risks for themselves.

3. What happens during the Forest School session?

The children are requested to bring a plastic bag clearly labelled with their Forest School clothing and once the class teacher has checked that all the children have the correct attire they will get dressed for their afternoon session.  Each session begins with a talk through the safety rules for working outdoors and about respecting each other. For every session we have a lesson plan which includes a variety of small group activities linked to their year’s curriculum progression. The children move around a variety of activities throughout the session and are given opportunities to gain many important skills.

 Activities include:

  • Den building
  • Fire lighting
  • Cooking over a fire
  • Whittling
  • Chopping wood
  • Knot skills
  • Woodland furniture building
  • Natural art
  • Growing and Woodland management
  • Weaving

 4. What tools will be used in Forest School?

 In Forest School the children use a range of real tools including:

  • Palm drills
  • Sheaf knives
  • Bow saws
  • Flint and steels to light fires
  • Loppers
  • Peelers
  • Ropes
  • Bill hooks
  • Kelly Kettles

Each activity is carefully planned and children are only allowed to progress their tool skills when they have shown their understanding of the risks and have reasonable competence. Not all sessions include tools, but many will. Children develop the skills they need through well led and safe instructed sessions. There will always be First Aiders available in session in the rare occurrence of an injury.

5. If it’s cold or raining will Forest School still take place?

Forest School takes part in all seasons except very extreme weather conditions. We are very fortunate in having our wonderful Forest School area. If weather conditions are poor the Forest  session will take place between the Forest School area and the actual classroom inside the school.

6. I have no waterproof clothing or wellies for my child!

If you do not have all the correct clothing for outdoors then we do have some spare items in Forest School including a range of wellington boots and jackets so please speak to the class teacher. We make sure all children are wearing the correct clothing before we go outside. No child will be permitted to go outside if their clothes are not suitable for the conditions.

More questions?

If you have any further questions or concerns, however small, please speak with Mrs Smith who will be happy to discuss these with you.

Request

As this is a new venture and we hope to be able to give every child the opportunity to be able to access this we are asking parents if they could donate any spare outdoor coats, jackets, hats and wellies to school. We have a limited stock, but with your help we can have spares for emergencies. Any donations that can be spared will be gratefully received and used for years to come. As this is a whole school approach we will need donations for all sizes from 4 year old's to 13 year old's to cater for all of our children regardless of their size.

Thank you

Mrs Smith