Welcome to the Forest School area!
The Forest School concept was brought here from Scandinavia by people from Bridgewater College in Somerset in the early 1990s. They were so impressed by the benefits of woodland learning enjoyed by the children who were accessing nature kindergartens in Denmark, that they decided to set up something similar here, but called it Forest School. The main concept of a Forest School is to provide regular access to an outdoor environment with a minimum project length of 6 sessions to enable the participants to feel confident and to achieve in that environment. Although Forest School sessions will have a structure and a plan, there is also a focus on free play and child led learning within that structure. Trained Forest School Practitioners provide opportunities for children to realise their physical, emotional and social needs within that environment through skills and play-based activities such as den building and woodland craft. This is closely linked to Maslow's hierarchy of needs and enables participants to learn with their head, hand and heart. We have an information booklet designed for schools, please click here for a copy, or download our general information booklet here.
'My child enjoyed the campfire, making hot dogs, games, climbing trees, making dens. What can I say fantastic. It got my daughter out of the house doing something she likes, big well done '- JC (parent of one of Forest School project attendees)
What do we do during a Forest School project?
A simple answer to that is anything and everything! From hunting dragons and telling stories to learning survival skills and exploring the natural world.
Here are some of the things you might do in the woods:
• Learn how to build different types of natural shelters using gathered materials.
• Use man made material to build shelters
• Perform stories and create story spaces
• Create woodland art from bark rubbings to sculpture using hand tools
• Play team building, problem solving and, above all, fun games.
• Learn basic woodcraft skills using a range of hand tools
• Appreciate natural history through tree, plant, animal and insect identification activities.
• Forage for natural foods
• Firelighting skills and fire safety
• Campfire cooking skills
• Free play and reflective time in the outdoors
Here are some of the benefits commented on in research documents and also by settings we have worked with:
• Increased confidence and self esteem in participants
• Improvement in gross motor skills
• Increased understanding of the natural world and seasonal changes
• Curriculum links with Forest School activities
• Increased parent participation in a school project
• Positive atmosphere in school with participants wanting to share their experiences within the school community
• Relationship building within the local community through Forest School celebrations, involving local services such as the police and also local organisation such as Groundworks in projects.
please see our recent evaluation of our Wincobank Forest School project here.
How can we access Forest School?
- Sign up for our Level 2 Forest School Assistant or our Level 3 Forest School Practitioner training
- Already trained but feel you need support, we offer a mentoring service for Forest School Practitioners
- Organise an inset day for your setting
- Wild Wood Activities can run a Forest School Project for you! For more information click here
- Is Forest School suitable for groups with special needs?
- We don't want a whole Forest School project but would like a Woodland Adventure day for pupils
- What about Forest School projects for young people (secondary age)?
- Can you offer Forest School activities at our summer school? click here for more information
Make your setting stand out, contact us to access Forest School training, taster and inset days and Forest School projects.
These people have, see what they have to say!
I really enjoyed those three days of Level 2 training, in fact I was outside all weekend. In Forest School today I decided to let the kids have an opportunity to play with mud , and make Hedgehogs..they all recoiled, saying it looked 'disgusting'!,, but they all eventually joined in, and had a FANTASTIC time...we couldn't get them to stop..Success!! Helen Bowman, Level 2 trainee, Owlerbrook Primary School, Sheffield
Thanks I had a great time and feel I learnt some really useful skills. Jo Buss, Derbyshire
Karen and Jayne really enjoyed the training and it's great to feel like Forest Schools is really taking off at Spire. I'm running a whole school Forest School staff meeting in a couple of weeks- can't wait. Kate Heydon, teacher, Spire Infants School, Chesterfield, Derbyshire