Forest School

Forest School

Spring Grove School offers regular Forest School sessions to all children from Giraffes to Prep 6. Sessions take place at a woodland site close to school. Our Head of Forest School, Mrs McCullough, is a qualified teacher and Forest School Leader and has wide experience both in the classroom and in the woods. She says: “The best parts of our Forest School sessions are witnessing the wonder in the children’s eyes as they find something new or interesting, the excitement as they run off up the hill and the calmness as they settle into the slower pace of the woodland classroom.”

SG Forest School was set up in 2016, and has won many awards since then including the Woodland Trust’s Green Tree School Scheme’s Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards.

 

What is Forest School?

Forest School is a programme originally developed in Scandinavia in the 1950s that concentrates on delivering education in an outdoor environment. Studies carried out have concluded that children who experience learning in an outdoor setting are more balanced, more socially developed, have deeper concentration levels and better coordination. Today, outdoor learning has shown to increase attainment and endurance levels in pupils. It is also shown to improve self-esteem, confidence and communication skills.

Forest School gives learners the chance to:

  • Engage in child-led learning and play-based learning
  • Get in to the ‘flow state’ where they are completely involved in what they are doing
  • Use their adults as facilitators rather than teachers
  • Take part in opportunities rather than activities (apart from following the rules, they can do what they want!)
  • Move from adult-led learning to child-led learning
  • Learn some life skills (such as how to dress appropriately for the weather, listening to the needs of your body, being around fires safely, lighting fires etc).

Watch our Forest School ‘thunderstorm’ performed in a recent Eco Assembly by the whole school.

How do the Children Benefit from Forest School?

  • Life skills
  • Increases resilience and self-esteem
  • Find ways to succeed that they can’t in a school environment
  • Long periods of fresh air
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Social skills
  • More freedom to move their bodies how they need to!
  • ALL children have more time, freedom and space (which reduces the number of incidents that happen)
  • Impromptu storytelling and singing around the fire.

 

Beach School

In the Summer term we make the most of our location near to a wide range of beautiful beaches to take the children to an all-day session of Beach School. Activities range from rock-pooling to beach clean-ups, and these sessions are always much anticipated and enjoyed by all – particularly when the sun shines!

I love Forest School. The rest of life is so busy and stressful. Forest School is much more relaxed and good for my mind.
Prep 6 child
In a discussion with pupils, Forest School was seen as another place to reflect and spend time with nature.
ISI Inspection report 2023

Links to the Curriculum

While both Forest and Beach 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.