Spring Grove School currently offers regular Forest School sessions to all children from Reception to Prep 6. Sessions take place at a woodland site close to school.
During the first year of Forest School, Spring Grove School earned the Woodland Trust’s Green Tree School Scheme’s Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards. The scheme rewards schools for completing environmental projects and encouraging outdoor learning.
In November 2017, Spring Grove School achieved two ‘firsts’ after being recognised as the first independent school in the UK, as well as the first setting of any type in Kent, to be approved by the Forest School Association (FSA) as a recognised Forest School Provider. This outstanding recognition came following a rigorous review of Spring Grove School’s Forest School provision and programmes in line with the FSA’s six core principles.
More recently our Head of Forest School, Mr Paul Curnow, was awarded Inspiring Outdoor Educator of the Year by the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom – a fantastic recognition of the quality of learning provided by Forest School at Spring Grove.
What is Forest School?
Forest School is a programme developed in Scandinavia in the 1950s but it is based on a rich heritage of outdoor learning going back at least to the 19th century. It concentrates on delivering education in an outdoor environment. Studies carried out have concluded that children who experienced learning in an outdoor setting were more balanced, more socially developed, have deeper concentration levels and better coordination. Today, outdoor learning has shown to increase attainment and endurance levels in students. It is also shown to increase self-esteem, confidence and communication on skills.
“Forest School is an inspirational process, that offers ALL learners regular opportunities to achieve, develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees.”
Links to the Curriculum
While Forest School always includes a significant element of play, many links can be made to more conventional lessons:
• English—story telling, learning new words through identifying flora and fauna, using nature in poetry, developing language through exploration, developing communication through team work.
• Mathematics—measuring trees, sorting, counting and producing data for mini beasts, shapes in nature.
• Science—food chains, pond and woodland mini beasts, life cycles, methods of creating fire.
• Art, Design and Technology—photography, natural art, working with clay and mud, willow sculpture, making dens, campfire cooking, using tools, making boats.
• Geography—maps, looking at different woodlands and environment and seasonal changes.
• History—history of local woodlands and nature areas.
• Physical Education—walking, tree climbing, obstacle courses.