“A friendly, creative environment for learning together”

About Forest Schools

Forest Schools originated in Sweden in the 1950’s and spread through Scandinavia and Europe. The Forest schools concept was established in Denmark for pre school children (up to 7 years) in the 1980’s. In the 1990’s some of these forest schools settings were visited by interested early years professionals from Britain and Forest schools was born in Britain.

A study in Sweden found that children going to Forest School in a countryside environment were much happier than children in urban kindergartens. Children were more balanced and socially capable. They were healthier because by being outside they were not exposed to as many viruses and bacteria. They also had better immune systems.

When the Forest school children started school they had stronger social skills, were able to work in groups, had high self esteem and confidence in their own capabilities. Forest schools provides opportunities outside for children and adults to develop life skills such as independence, self awareness and social communication skills which help individuals grow in self-esteem and confidence. They also gain confidence in their own capability. This way of learning is particularly suited to kinaesthetic learners. By being outside in a woodland environment they have space to get up and move about and have a “hands on” approach to learning whilst physically interacting with resources.

Forest School is becoming more widespread across Britain as teachers and practitioners see for themselves the impact it is having on children who have been involved in Forest School settings.

Forest School Leaders includes teachers, early years specialists, youth workers, woodland owners and craftspeople. Forest Schools use a different range of woodland settings to meet the needs of client groups and evidence has been compiled demonstrating positive outcomes on children relating to an increase in self-esteem, an ability to work with others, learning about the outdoors, developing a sense of ownership of the environment, providing motivation to learn, and increasing knowledge and skills.

Forest School at Stannington Infants

Our Forest School started in September 2010. We have two Teaching Assistants qualified as Forest School practitioners; Anne Simpson level 3 Practitioner and Michelle Platts level 2 assistant. Each class has a block of 5/6 sessions:

Y2 – Autumn term Y1 – Spring term Foundation – Summer term

After three years in school all our children will have visited the woodlands in each season.

Our Aims

To establish positive relationships with adults and their peers, building trust and understanding.

To prepare the children for their experience in the forest and to negotiate rules and boundaries.

To have a basic understanding of what happens at Forest School.

The Forest Site

The first three sessions are held in the school garden. The last two sessions are held at Ingeldene a small private wood owned by Mr and Mrs Simpson. Ingeldene is 7 acres of mature woodland and meadow with an oak, ash and silver birch canopy, holly, elderberry, hawthorn shrub layer, brambles and bracken field layer. Bluebells grow in parts of the woodland but not on the Forest School site.

Dates and Times

Sessions started in September 2010 to present and run weekly in term time only. Each session runs on a Friday 9.00 -3.20.

Forest School Activities

Foundation Stage

Year 1

Year 2