What is Forest School?

Forest Schools originated from Scandinavia in the 1950’s, the approach promoted outdoor exploration and encouraged children to understand their surroundings. Forest School is an exciting way for children to experience outdoor education in a woodland setting. Forest school sessions are planned and risk assessed however the main ethos of Forest Schools is that it is child led and children are encouraged to lead their own learning.

Why Forest School?

Forest School supports children’s development by enhancing children’s:

  • Independence, confidence and self esteem
  • Communication and social skills
  • Physical skills
  • Understanding and awareness of the natural environment
  • Ability to recognise and manage risk

How will Forest Schools look at St Josephs’?

The forest school sessions will be run on schools grounds near the lower playgrounds.

What do children do at Forest Schools?

During the Forest School sessions children are encouraged to work with others and carry out activities such as:

Shelter and den building, leaf identification, animal tracking, exploring animal habitats, creating natural collages, safe fire building and lighting, woodland crafts, instrument making and knot tying.

How do we keep the children safe?

The forest school teacher (Miss Doxey) is fully qualified and is first aid qualified. The site will have been carefully assessed and the children will be given detailed training for all of the activities and they will always be fully supervised by an adult. Part of forest school is teaching children about risks and how to evaluate them. By allowing children to take these measured risks, we help to prepare them for making choices when they are older and teach them to be actively responsible for themselves, their choices and actions.

Does the weather affect Forest Schools and what clothing should children wear?

Children will attend Forest Schools in all types of weather unless the risk assessment highlights that the risk too great to attend, this would normally be stormy weather.  To make the most of the Forest School experience it is essential that the children are dressed appropriately to ensure that they are kept as warm and dry as possible.  Below is a list of clothing that is recommended for each session:

  • Outdoor shoes (Walking boots/ wellingtons)
  • Warm socks
  • A waterproof coat
  • A jumper/ fleece
  • A t-shirt
  • Trousers

Forest School Policy

“The best classroom and the richest cupboard is roofed only by the sky.”

Margaret McMillan (1925).