Bewley primary’s Forest School was set up in September 2018.
A Forest School is defined as ‘An outdoor education delivery model in which children visit natural spaces to learn personal, social and technical skills. It has been defined as “an inspirational process that offers children, young people and adults regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence through hands-on learning in a woodland environment’. Wikipedia 2018
The Forest School was set up to achieve the following aims:
- To provide an outdoor environment to enable children to maximise their learning potential in all areas of the Curriculum particularly in developing key Science knowledge and understanding.
- To help each child build self-esteem, confidence, independence and self-control and interpersonal skills.
- To develop a positive disposition to learning through the completion of small, achievable tasks.
- To meet the needs of children with all learning styles
- To develop social and team working skills
- To enable children to be independent, self-motivated and considerate.
- To provide an opportunity for individuals to develop, to learn and to enjoy themselves.
- To provide a safe and non-threatening environment in which children can take and manage risks, make choices and initiate their own learning.
- To help children understand, appreciate and care for the natural environment.
- To provide ways of developing practical life skills in an outdoor environment.
- To develop a secure, happy and welcoming environment.
- To provide stimulation and varied learning activities appropriate to the child’s needs and stages of development.
The Forest School area has its own mini-woodland for children to explore, a herb garden, mini-beast hotels, a wildflower meadow, den-building poles, a log circle seating area, a bird hide and feeders as well as a pond which is ideal for studying mini-beasts and life cycles. This is addition to a greenhouse, planting equipment and many other resources to support all areas of the Curriculum.
All staff have received training on how to use the Forest School effectively in all areas of the Curriculum and most have been trained on the safe use of Fires. Ideas and suggestions for maximising the Forest School’s potential for learning are shared within school. We also have a
‘Level 3 Forest School’ teacher in school every Wednesday who is available to support and advise teachers in delivering Forest School sessions.
Each class is allocated a weekly session to use the Forest School. It is the responsibility of the class teacher to decide which curriculum area they will cover in their sessions. Photos of learning are shared in school and are displayed in corridors and on Twitter.
There are thorough Risk Assessments in place to ensure the safety of both children and staff. These are regularly updated and it is the responsibility of the Class Teacher to check the area prior to using it adhering to the Risk Assessment. Any issues should be dealt with accordingly and reported to Forest School lead if necessary. First Aid kits and relevant medication must be taken out to the Forest School and it is expected that a minimum of 2 adults attend each Forest School session.
To use the area, children must dress accordingly and wear wellies or have a spare pair of shoes that they can change into. Suitable outdoor clothing appropriate for the weather must be worn.
Children at Bewley Primary School are confident and successful learners. They show improved communication and social skills able to work in groups and express their own ideas and thoughts whilst listening and valuing the thoughts of their peers. Leadership skills are developed and children are able to assign roles and negotiate in small groups.
Children display a positive attitude to learning and are motivated to learn in all areas of the Curriculum.
Children are aware of their natural environment and show improved knowledge and understanding in Science in relation to plants, animals and living things. They are able to take risks and manage their own health and safety whilst living healthier lifestyles and developing physical skills.
Useful website links for parents to access:
The following websites have some great outdoor learning ideas that you can try at home: