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How we run our Forest School

Our Forest School is run on a rolling programme throughout the school year. Each pupil in the school receives 10-12 sessions (10-12 half-days, once a week) over the course of the school year. Each year group receives their sessions at different times of year, so that all children, as they progress through the school, have access to regular Forest School, in a woodland setting, at different times of year. Here is the whole school programme for 2017-2018.

Forest   School Sessions 2017-2018

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Term   1

 

Year   3

Chestnut   am

Holly   pm

Year   5

Dogwood   am

Whitebeam   pm

Term   2

 

Year   3

Holly   am

Chestnut   pm

Year   5

Whitebeam   am

Dogwood   pm

Term   3

 

Year   R

Ash   pm

Hazel   am

Year   6

Oak   am

Beech   pm

Term   4

 

Year   R

Hazel   am

Ash   pm

Year   6

Beech   am

Oak   pm

Term   5

Year   4

Larch   am

Birch   pm

Year   2

Field   Maple am

Willow   pm

Year   1

Alder   am

Hornbeam   pm

Term   6

Year   4

Birch   am

Larch   pm

Year   2

Willow   am

Field   Maple pm

Year   1

Hornbeam   am

Alder   pm

 

We aim to keep the children in the groups they were in last year. However, with new children joining the school who need to be allocated a group, we may reorganise some groups to keep them balanced. All children will be informed prior to their sessions beginning, and each class teacher will have a current list available.

All new parents will need to complete a medical information so forms will be sent home before you child begins their sessions. Please be sure to return their forms promptly to the office. We will not be expecting existing parents to complete a new form this year, but please complete a new one if your childs medical needs have changed. Thank you. Forms are available to download and print on your child's class page under letters.

Click here to see the whole school year dates -  please note that each set of sessions do not all begin and end with the first and last week of term.

Mrs Stanford is our Level 3 Forest School Practitioner, and she is supported by Mrs Krovina (TA) plus a TA from each class, plus at least one parent. For most groups we need a minimum of four adults for 15 children.

Forest School takes place in a private woodland - Forstal Wood, which is a short distance from school. The children are taken to the woods in the school minibus.

The morning sessions run from 9.15 am - 11.45 am.

The afternoon sessions run from 12.30 pm- 3.00 pm.

Each session begins with the children sitting around the 'fire circle' calmly discussing any changes observed in the woodland from the previous session. We then talk about how we keep ourselves safe in the woods; this is a key part of each session as the children are encouraged to be very much aware of the hazards and risks and how they need to manage them to keep themselves and others safe. They then take responsibility for their own and others safety.

Then the children begin with activities. At times these are generated by the adults (which might include team building games if a group is finding it hard to manage relationships), but more often the children (usually following discussions or observations from the previous week).

Adults in Forest School do not 'teach' the children, but remain in the background unless a child requests help (they have to ask an adult, as well as explain to the adult what it is they need to do). Mrs Stanford as Level 3 Practitioner will, however, instruct the children in lighting fires safely and using tools correctly and safely! The children can earn certificates for these activities.

'When you teach a child something you take away forever his chance of discovering it for himself'  (Jean Piaget)

At the end of each session, the children are responsible for tidying up and gathering the equipment and carrying it up to the bus if it is not needed for the next session.

We are now a couple yeaars into our Forest School journey, and have noted the impact on the children in the classroom. They are becoming more reslilient, independent learners, better at problem solving, and are developing their language skills. They are also developing a greater awareness of risk and we spend time at the end of some sessions thinking about metacognition and how this can be transferred into other areas of their lives. This is done with all age groups, and we never cease to be amazed at the perception of even our very youngest children.

What your child will need for Forest School: 

The children will need to wear clothing appropriate to the weather, but will always need: 

•   Long sleeved top
•   Trousers (not jeans)
•   A long sleeved top/and other layers if weather is cold
•   Wellies
•   A complete spare set of clothes including underwear (+bag to keep them in)
•   A waterproof coat  and waterproof trousers ('all-in-one' waterproofs are ideal for the younger children and are available for older children as well)
•   A water bottle containing water (all other refreshments will be provided)
Waterproofs (if not being worn) and spare clothing need to be in a rucksack as the children are required to walk into the woods and need their hands free in case of trips and tumbles and to help carry equipment.
The sessions will take place regardless of weather unless specific risks are identified i.e. high winds, very low temperatures and flood. In this case we will attempt to run a session within the school grounds.