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Pre-prep outdoor learning and forest school

Part of our outdoor learning ensures that we instil a sense of responsibility in the children for their environment and sustainability, discussing how we look after the natural world around us and discussing aspects like recycling, use of plastics, saving energy, collecting water, etc. The children will explore nature, learning about trees, follow the seasons, understand plant growth, explore minibeasts and find the biggest puddle to jump in (weather dependent of course)!

We apply the six forest school principles which are:  

  • Sessions are delivered on a long-term basis: forest school needs to be regular, so we take the children our weekly 
  • Sessions are risk-aware, not risk-averse: we suggest meaningful activities which nurture the instinctive human ability to learn through overcoming a risk, challenge, or problem. We also teach the children how to safely use tools like knives and axes for whittling or chopping wood, and how to light and safely be around campfires.  
  • Forest school is invested in the holistic development (emotional, spiritual, intellectual, social, physical, communication and language) of the participants. 
  • Forest school should take place in a natural wooded environment 
  • Forest school should be run by a qualified forest school practitioner 
  • Forest school is learner-cantered with learner-based outcomes 

Frequently asked questions

How are the sessions structured?

We plan and suggest activities, such as making bow saws, fire lighting, identifying animal footprints, or cooking. But these evolve as the children explore the forest environment. We are reactive and respond to the children’s questions and imagination 

What areas of learning are covered? And how does it relate to the curriculum?

Learning in the woods and outdoors is limitless and almost everything we do can be linked to the curriculum. Just a few examples include year 2 children, during their topic on The Great Fire of London, built their own timber houses in the woods, and then we lit fires to burn them down! Reception children’s work on minibeasts lends itself perfectly to building bug hotels during their sessions, and year 1’s science topic on changing materials gave us a great excuse to melt sugar over their forest school fire and dip in apples for delicious toffee apple snacks! 

How often do the children get out there?

Every week, whatever the weather!  

So what happens if it’s bad weather?

We keep a close eye on the weather. We try to continue with the session regardless of the weather as changes in the forecast can offer exciting opportunities for now explorations. Such as building a den or shelter in the rain! The children are equipped with protective clothing including waterproof coats, trousers and boots. 

However, session will be cancelled in very strong winds measuring six on the beaufort scale. Or in lighting/thunderstorms, very icy conditions, or flooding. In these situations, we will deliver something indoor.  

Is it for all age groups?

Yes it is! Children can enjoy skill-building, helping others, teamwork and personal challenges. This complements the ethos of our school and support our aim to develop character in our pupils.