Forest School

Vision and Philosophy

In St Anne’s we celebrate the uniqueness of individuals within our whole school community and empower them to achieve their dreams & 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 environment changes. The children’s interest along with the varied natural resources in our woodland are used to stimulate creative thinking, problem solving and skill development, all in the guise of play. Most of our activities are child-led, but of course some activities are planned by the practitioner.

 

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.  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 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! 

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St Anne's Catholic Primary School
Monastery Lane, Sutton, St Helens Merseyside WA9 3SP