Here at St Anne’s we celebrate the uniqueness of individuals within our whole school community; and empower them to achieve their dreams and aspirations. We believe that children develop most when they are ‘learning by doing’, when they are given responsibility, work in teams, take acceptable risks and think for themselves. Forest School builds on a child’s innate motivation and positive attitude to learning, offering them the opportunities to take risks, make choices and initiate learning.
The Forest School learning environment provides opportunities for children to develop self-esteem, self-confidence, to form positive relationships with others, to develop a growing awareness of their emotional needs and the needs of others, to learn to cooperate and work with their peers and adults and develop strategies in order to take risks within the boundaries of safety. The setting allows the children to engage with the natural environment.
Forest School is about exploring and experiencing the natural world through practical activities. The children go out in all weathers, all year round, exploring and learning from the four seasons and environmental changes. The children’s interest, along with the natural resources in our woodland, are used to stimulate creative thinking, problem solving and skill development - all in the guise of play.
Principles and Criteria for Good Practice
1: Forest School is a long-term process of frequent and regular sessions in a woodland or natural environment, rather than a one-off visit. Planning, adaptation, observations and reviewing are integral elements of Forest School.
2: Forest School takes place in a woodland or natural wooded environment to support the development of a relationship between the learner and the natural world.
3: Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners.
4: Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.
5. Forest School is run by qualified Forest School practitioners who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice.
6. Forest School uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for development and learning.
Our first visit to Forest School this year with Year 5/6. What an amazing morning setting up camp, ready for our future sessions.
A boundary walk was completed, ensuring our safety and camp rules are followed whilst at Forest School. The campfire circle was cleared and the new fire pit set up. The children have amazed us with their ability to follow rules, take ownership of our camp and show pride in what they have achieved. All of our children showed they are worthy of achieving all SCORE Values.
We are excited to return next Wednesday, where more clearing and the reinstating of our tyre swing will be done.
A huge warm welcome to our Forest School Ambassadors, Hannah and Billy.
Please feel free to stop and ask Billy or Hannah any questions you may have about Forest School. They are more than happy to help.
Our recent Pupil Voice has shown that all children in our three classes, Reception, Year 3/4 and Year 5b enjoy going out to Forest and they know how to keep safe.
Here are just some of the children’s comments:
“I love hot chocolate. Running around. Making best friends in Forest School. I love Forest School.”
“I love playing with Finley, picking up the wood and running around. I like the fire!”
“I love the hot chocolate and doing the mini beast hunt!”
“I love lighting up the fire and sitting around it.”
“I love hunting for worms.”
“I like playing the fox chasing game.”
My favourite activity is playing on the tyre swing.
I like climbing trees.
It reminds me of camping.
I love playing with my friends, watching Miss light the fire and at the end having our hot chocolate and biscuits, then talking about what we have enjoyed.
Putting the tarp up to keep dry.
Using a hammer and nails to add to our wood store.
It makes me feel great.
I feel happy and safe.
I feel happy and excited at Forest School.
I feel happy because I get to use different tools. My favourite activity is using the flint and steel to make my own fire.
I love Forest School, because I get to make fires.
I love the adventures at Forest School and making dens.
I feel excited, because love trying new skills.
How to keep safe:
Don’t go too high in the tree and check the branches of the trees to make sure they can hold you.
Never cross the fire circle, unless you are invited.
Don’t turn your back on the fire.
Use the tools safely, following the rules we have been taught.
Tools I have used:
Bowsaw, flint and steel, axe, lobbers, hand knife and mallet
Skills I take into class:
I learn about nature which I use for my writing; and how to listen carefully.
It helps me feel better and gives me life skills.
It teaches me all about nature and how to use my skills in class.
It helps with Science and Geography and how to keep safe.
Using different techniques.
It helps me calm down.
My son absolutely loves Forest School. He loves the routine and knowing that he will be going. He loves going outside although he doesn’t like getting muddy! He puts his all into it and he likes the tasty snack too! He has since come out of his shell and now likes to get muddy! He would love to keep doing it!
My son loves going to Forest School. Mrs Furneyo, those photos have brought a tear to my eye. I’m so proud of him.
He loves the outdoor learning and is always so excited on the days he has Forest School! He absolutely LOVES the hot chocolate too! Thank you for making learning so much fun!
Laughing so much at my son sat in the mud. It is so typical of him. He loves Forest School.
I would just like to take this opportunity to say thank you to forest school. My child loves Forest School. She has told us all about the campfire and hot chocolate.
My son has told me all about Forest School. It looks like lots of fun. Thank you for giving my child these experiences.
My son looks forward to this activity and enjoys the outdoor and freedom to learn in a unique and empowering way. I like that the weather is not an obstacle to this activity and it is to be embraced and noted along with the seasons. The use of tools and group activities it’s a life lesson that is to be encouraged. Last but not least, plants and wildlife the planet our world my son is learning to love and that truly is life learning.
It is brilliant to to be getting ready to visit our Forest School site again after such a long break. I am sure there are many things we will need to get ready and I am so happy to be taking Year 5/6 and our Nursery children out.
Another fun day of learning for Reception at Forest School. The children have been making their own campfires, swinging, being ninjas and sliding in the mud. They have been amazing today and are becoming very independent learners. Keep making us proud! Both me and Miss Pilak joined in with the hot chocolate today. It was delicious!
Another wonderful day today at Forest School. After setting up our camp fire, the children wanted to use the flint and steels to create their own fires. They used all of the SCORE Values today and Warren was our chief fire starter. We loved seeing him helping others, which is a beautiful attribute to possess. Well done Year 5b!
It is getting really cold outdoors now and the children enjoyed helping to gather wood, to help keep warm around our campfire this week. Lots of running and chasing games too!
Y 5 had an amazing afternoon at Forest School, from making their own chocolate Bannock Bread, to creating their own bow and arrows! Lots of life and mathematical skills involved in today’s session, without even realising the learning that was taking place! I’m sure the children will be writing about their experiences today, as they always do. We are so very proud of the children achieving all SCORE Values today! This is why we love Forest School! ðŸŒ³ðŸŒ²
What an amazing morning Year 3/4 have had at Forest School. The children were set a number of challenges today. To listen to and follow a set of instructions, and to set up our base camp ready for the colder weather. They listened carefully to my instructions and as you can see, they all contributed to the task of setting up our tarpaulin, which on a windy, wet morning can be a bit of a struggle. The lighting of the fire was against us today, but we finally managed it and had a lovely, warm campsite to sit around for our hot chocolate and biscuits. We were so proud of all of our children today and they achieved all five SCORE Values! Keep up this excellent work children. Thank you children and of course Miss Grice!
In Reception, we have been measuring the longest and shortest in class and today at Forest School, including ordering more than three objects. The children amazed us, when they counted out their marshmallows, including adding one more.
The children heard a tale about the different people who lived in the ancient 'Sutton Woods’. It is a story, which has been passed down through the generations. They heard about how the big people thought that the little people were taking over their habitats and threatened their very existence. Therefore, the big people decided to destroy their small village and wipe them out. I wanted to encourage the children to create new habitats for the ‘little people’ in the hope that they would return.
The children took this challenge on board and created their own small habitats.
Reception also had a circle hunt and used their counting skills to count natural objects and matched them to the numeral. They amazed us with their outstanding attitude to learning.
Year 3/4 have had a wonderful morning at Forest School, with the children finding a new tree to climb! Some of the children wanted to use a flint and steel to make their own fires. They showed outstanding resilience when trying to make their own fires! Well done children!
This week, Year 5b spent most of Wednesday at Forest School. We had a 'You Choose' morning, where the children decided which activities they would like to participate in. From den building, climbing 'our' tree, making a bow and arrow, using flint and steels, to cooking marshmallows to eat with their chocolate digestive (smores).
In the afternoon, we decided we needed more fresh wood, so we went to coppice some trees. We used the bow saw and the hand saw for this task, then the children then dragged the cut trees back to our camp. The children achieved all SCORE VALUES this week. Well done Year 5b!
Year 5b have created their own Pic Collage to show what they have been doing this week. I set them a challenge to find different varieties of leaves on our Forest School site and our school grounds. I gave them a tick sheet and a Google map, to show them where they might find them. Well done Year 5b!
Even though I was not in school for this week’s sessions, the children still had an amazing time at Forest School. I set them the above challenges and they amazed me with their talents! I even had a Zoom Meeting with Reception while they were at Forest School!
Take a look at the PicCollages Year 5b created, after their session. I love their Goldsworthy Art too!
Reception not only made their own Leaf Kebabs, which showed how good their fine motor skills are, but they were counting the apples they harvested from our apple trees, which were on the KS1 playground. Miss Pilak has been drying them out for us to use in class. What a Superstar!
Our Reception children have had an amazing time at Forest School this week, where they have been looking for forest treasures, following our Fire Circle rules, following our Tool Pit rules (Finley even used the bow-saw to cut come fire wood), watched while we lit our campfire for the first time and obviously enjoyed hot chocolate and biscuits!
Year 5B and Year 3/4 have enjoyed exploring our site, gathering more wood for our store, finding a new climbing tree, using our tyre swing for some strenuous exercise and remembered some of their old knotting skills to make a huge picture frame! A great session children!
This week, Year 5b made their first visit to Forest School since Spring. There was lots to do, because we had not been out to our site since before lockdown.
Some children did a boundary check, including a Risk Assessment, to ensure that the site was safe for everyone to use.
Some children wanted to stay behind, to help build our fire. For some children this was the first time they had been into the fire circle to help. They were able to easily follow our campfire rules and once the fire was lit, some of the children wanted to use the flint and steels, to see if they could start a fire using these. Rhys managed to do this and then proceeded to help other children, which was lovely to see.
The children used their resilience and commitment when trying this out. It is never easy to start a fire using the flint and steel, but it’s always fun trying!
Some children were clearing away any rubbish and ensuring our woodpile was still intact.
A very productive day and we can’t wait to return next week!
Half of our Reception Class visited Forest School for the first time this week and had an amazing time. From following our campfire rules, a boundary walk, using our tyre swing, climbing, hiding to our 'One, two, three where are you?' and exploring Forest School for small creatures; they were brilliant! We are all looking forward to next Friday's experience.
Keep checking on ClassDojo and here to find out information and to see what we have been learning, whilst outdoors.
As Spring is now upon us, I know that for some of us our days will not be the same. Even though the sun is shining and new life is starting to grow, I wanted you to know that I am thinking about each and every one of you and I know that my days will certainly be a little emptier without some of your smiling faces.
Keep safe, keep busy, enjoy the sun on your faces and most of all, keep smiling.
'In times of uncertainty, let nature be your refuge'
I have shared a number of links, where there are a variety of activities to enjoy outdoors. They can be accessed by everyone (including adults). Please send me pictures through our ClassDojo. I'm waiting...
Lots of rope skills today, with some of the children helping to make a ladder using rope and sticks. Some of the children loved climbing it and could see to the bottom of our field! Other children made a rope walk, but needed a buddy to help them cross it. We are looking forward to creating more climbing areas.
Linked to our Come and See topic 'Growing', our Reception children were on the hunt to find lots of new plants growing. We even found a bee and they wanted to keep it safe in our wooden triangle.
Sean-David has been asking for a hammer and some nails to build 'something' at Forest School. This week he decided to make an extra wood store. What an amazing acheivement Sean-David! He achieved all of our SCORE Values in one session!
Lots of bird watching this week. We were very surprised to find a dead bird, which we think our local fox had tried to bury. Some of the children were very brave and wanted to hold the bird (with gloves of course).
Due to high winds, Forest School was cancelled. It didn't stop some of our children enjoying an activity linked to the Forest. They heard the story about the Ancient Forest People, who lived in the trees! Obviously, they had to make their own Forest People...
Lola received our Forest School Award this week, for her spirit of adventure and natural curiosity!
This week the children were busy putting their knotting skills to the test, by building a huge den. They wanted to climb and jump from our rocks! Lola found a cut log and wanted to know what the circles were. Obviously she had to count them to see how old the tree was!
This week was led by the children's desire to stock up on our wood pile. Tool skills and safe use of the tools was taught, with the children putting these skills to good use. From sawing, to using the axe to split the wood, we now have a good stock to draw upon to keep us warm for the cold days of winter. Nieve and Sean-David helped to move the fire back (to allow the area to recover) and moved our seating area to its original spot, which now means we will be fully covered if the snow decides to fall! Sam wanted to use his knot skills to make a coat hanger. What an amazing day!
From Reception to Year 5, the children have been learning new knots. They have made swords, swings and are getting ready for den making next week. Team-work, climbing and using the iPad to take our pictures has shown that the children are excellent learners! These skills are essential for Forest School.
Now that Winter is here, the children have been learning how to keep warm. After helping to make our camp fire, the children wanted to make their own small fires. Using flint and steel, dry wood and 'fluff from my dryer', they were able to start their own fire. What a great achievement! We also had a discussion about growth and decay, after finding fungi near our seating area. Even though our old climbing tree is behind our new railings, the children still found a new tree to climb. Such commitment and resilience!
We have been coppicing (cutting down trees) and we will use the wood to make poles for a new tepee. We have used tools and now have some spare wood for our campfire. It was lovely to see our children achieving our SCORE Values. Keep up this excellent team work!
Year 3/4 and 1/2 have been busy planting some new saplings and shrubs, which I had applied for from the Woodland Trust https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/plant-trees/schools-and-communities/ . This is the third time I have applied for trees over the last 6 six years and now our Forest School is growing into a small woodland.
They have loved taking ownership of our Forest School site and can't wait to see how our saplings grow.
Reception came out and decided to find their own sapling.
Last term, I set a challenge to the whole of our school. I gave each class seeds, compost and instructions to grow a spectacular plant (received from RHS Campaign for School Gardening ). They not only had to grow the plant, but they had to tell me what its spectacular feature was. I wanted the class to present their findings to me in whatever way they wished. I was amazed at their dedication and presentation skills.
The plant was the Mimosa Pudica, which is a sensitive plant. The children who managed to grow the plant found that the plant responds to touch and the leaves will close when touched.
Here are a few pictures of their research and findings:
The winners were Mrs Higgins Year 3/4 class from last year. They not only presented their findings to me, they were able to show me the plant moving when touched. Tyler took the plant home over half term, to ensure it was watered and kept in the sunlight.
Well done to everyone else, especially Mrs Pimlott's class from last year, who created some amazing pieces of artwork and Lower Keystage 2 who used this challenge as part of their Science topic.
Our Year 3/4 boys who came out to Forest School last year were given a challenge to grow fungi. They were given a fungi kit (which we received from Grow Wild) and had to carefully follow the instructions.
It took a lot of resilience to grow the fungi, because of the different conditions it needed to grow. Here are the fungi once grown. It may not look like our usual mushrooms, but it tasted exactly the same. Well done boys and Mrs Maguire for taking this challenge on!
Welcome to our first term at Forest School
Reception have enjoyed a session learning our Forest School rules. We completed our first boundary walk, checking that we are safe while we are there. We can all follow our campfire rules; "Never cross the fire circle!" and we love hiding and returning to Mrs Furneyo when she calls, "One, two, three, where are you?" Watching our campfire being lit was amazing and of course we made hot chocolate and had chocolate biscuits. Miss Grice came along to help us too.
Last year we made some wonderful memories at Forest School.
Year 3/4 helped Reception create a bug hotel. It's amazing. I wonder who will live there?
Our campfire is the perfect place to sit around and chill with friends, whether it's a cold, frosty day, or a sunny day where you can swing in one of our hammocks.
We love to climb at Forest School, whether on our large rocks, or in our climbing tree. It's always an adventure!
Reception love climbing and making 'fairy dens'. Of course, we had hot chocolate!
Year 3/4 this week used the axe and mallet to chop kindling, an essential skill to enable us to light a fire.
They climbed trees, made dens, fixed our rope swing and of course found a dead hedgehog! We talked about hibernation and rigor mortis, which was an unexpected topic, but one that obviously took their interest.
A frosty day found us making slides, using the flint and steel to light fires and investigating our surroundings.
We made our own tree cookies to show that we belong to Forest School. We used the hand saw and hand drill, then decorated them.
Miss Pilak modelled the 'respect position' with Rhys around the campfire.
Today Year 3/4 had fun making dens and using their sticks as imaginary fishing rods and spears.
Year 3/4 have been setting up our 'Tool Pit', where we can safely use tools whilst at Forest School. The bow and hand saw were used for cutting wood for our fire, which is an essential part of Forest School. Well done!
Reception had another amazing day. They took a boundary walk, learnt the camp fire rules, collected treasures and ended the session with hot chocolate and biscuits!
This week, a group of Year 3/4 boys enjoyed a session at our Forest School. I was overwhelmed by their ability to listen to and follow our 'fire camp' rules. They showed great strength and determination when collecting our fire wood; and managed to achieve all five of our SCORE Values.
Well done boys!
Reception and Nursery enjoyed a day at Forest School and are looking forward to our future sessions!