Forest School

Forest School at St Chad's

Forest School is becoming an established part of the St. Chad's Primary curriculum. All our children have the opportunity to flourish and develop through their time in Forest School and we see the benefits in our children every day. They love this space to learn, develop and grow.

Forest School is a method of working outdoors with children, young people and adults, using the natural environment to promote social and emotional development. It is an inspirational process that offers all learners regular opportunities to develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees. These learning experiences also help to develop communication and practical skills, as well as a greater understanding of the world around us.

Forest School is a unique form of outdoor learning. It has six guiding principles.
1.    Forest School is a long-term process of regular sessions, rather than one-off or infrequent visits; the cycle of planning, observation, adaptation and review links each session.
2.   Forest School takes place in a woodland or natural environment to support the development of a lifelong relationship between the learner and the natural world.
3.    Forest School uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for being, development and learning.
4.   Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners.
5.    Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.
6.   Forest School is run by qualified Forest School practitioners, who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice.
Why do Forest School?

Forest School develops:

·       Confidence and self-esteem
·       Communication and social skills
·       Physical skills
·       Natural motivation
·       The ability to recognise and manage risk
·       Greater understanding and awareness of the natural world
When will my child go?

Your child will participate every week fortwo half-terms each year. We operate each session in  class groups. In addition, we run a weekly Nurture Group each term for up to 8invited children.

We are looking forward to starting our after-school club soon, which will run from 3:10pm - 4:10pm.

In Year 4, our outdoor learning offer is enriched with an outdoor educational residential to Nell Bank in Ilkley. This is built upon further by a residential visit to Robinwood in Year 6.

What will my child experience?

Your child’s learning will be led by them, with the support and  guidance of a qualified Forest School Leader and your child's class teacher. They will have opportunities to gather natural materials and create art, construct structures, play imaginative games and play in mud.

At the right age and stage, children learn to use tools such as saws, secateurs, hand drills, hammers and knives for whittling, carving and managing the woodland. We learn to light and manage fires. Our children love to cook outside and, of course, toast marshmallows.

The children use ropes, tarps and hammocks, play games, work in teams, relax on their own and learn about nature and their place on the earth.

Forest School learning is child led and adult facilitated. The voices we hear in our outdoor classroom are the children's. The  role of adults is to keep children safe but enable them to make their own choices.

Does Forest School run in all weather?

The seasons are there to be enjoyed. Weather is part of the Forest School experience; however, we take safety very seriously. Sessions don’t run in very high winds or if the wind chill is too low. As long as children are dressed in warm layers and have waterproofs and wellies they can enjoy the experience. In summer months we enjoy time in the shade and take plenty of water.

Will my child be safe?

We have a thorough risk assessment in place and use a dynamic risk/benefit assessment for each experience to ensure risk is managed. Children are taught how to use tools safely and are supervised by an adult during use, but we don't remove every risk. Children learn to recognise and take supported risk.