Forest School does not refer to a physical school building. Forest School is an approach to outdoor learning and living that we have embraced and embedded since 2012 at Northbourne.
Forest school is an inspiring process, a specialised approach to outdoor learning that aims to develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning in woodland environments. It is a perfect vehicle through which to embed our school vales of being communicative, independent, collaborative, inquisitive, resilient and emotionally intelligent.
It is our aim for Forest School to play a central role in developing our pupils’ learning behaviours and character. It nurtures and enriches essential real-life skills that equip our pupils for their learning today and for years to come.
Forest School has become widely used in a short space of time across the UK. Its roots lie in good Early Years work, Woodcraft Folk, Scouts & Guides, Scandinavian education and other approaches such as the Reggio Emilio approach to learning.
Pupils at Northbourne CEP School benefit from weekly, half-day Forest School and Outdoor Learning sessions. All Forest School sessions are led by our fully qualified Level 3 Forest School Practitioner and take place in our dedicated Forest School areas, which are set within the natural woodland that surrounds the school. We currently have over 2 acres of outdoor learning space that the children benefit from.
Forest School is based on the process of learning by doing. The Forest School ethos gives our children the opportunity to investigate and learn from different outside environments’ with lessons taking place throughout all of our British seasons whatever the weather. This helps to develop our children resilience, keeping them curious, enabling them to work in teams, yet be individually creative. It encourages them to look after their surrounding natural environment and gives them a greater sense of the world around them.
Children are also given the chance to look at a range of new skills, from growing and preparing vegetables and cooking on the ‘campfire,’ to making shelters and dens. Children also learn how to use a range of tools, starting with hand drills and hacksaws in Reception, all the way through to bow saws and whittling knives in Year 6.