What is Forest Schooling and why are we doing it?
Forest schooling is an approach to learning that takes children into the great outdoors, whatever the weather, to explore the natural environment. Forest schooling is a nature-based outdoor learning programme that focuses on holistic development and growth in children. Children will spend a full afternoon outside in the ‘forest’, this will give your child opportunities to develop a deeper understanding of the world around them.
Children learn through playing in the mud and the hands-on forest school approach gives them plenty of opportunities to do just that. Being child-led, trained practitioners monitor the children but encourage exploration and discovery and support them to take risks. Forest schooling activities develop confidence, self-esteem, imagination and physical ability as children are allowed to test their limits in the natural world. In a woodland environment, learning experiences are based on what activities a child wants to engage in at that particular time. Doing this on their own, supervised by a forest school leader, the child builds problem-solving skills, independence, and resilience as they try things out.
Where will your child go to experience Forest Schooling?
We are so lucky to have a large wooded area within our school grounds at Headlands! Therefore, we don’t need to ‘go’ anywhere – our school ‘forest’ begins just beyond the Reception outdoor play area.
When will it happen and who will lead these sessions?
These sessions are timetabled during the school day. Each year group will have the opportunity to experience forest school for half a term - one afternoon per week:
Autumn 1 - Year 3
Autumn 2 - Year 1
Spring 1 - Year 4
Spring 2 - Year 2
Summer 1 - Year 5
Summer 2 - Year 6
You will receive a letter in advance of your child beginning Forest school session so you know what to expect.
Reception and Nursery will access Forest School throughout the school year.
The sessions will be led by Miss Smith and Mrs Claughton, two members of Headlands staff who have attended Level 3 Forest School training. The class teacher, and any support staff who are linked to the class, will also be present to support these sessions.
Will the children really be ‘outdoors, whatever the weather’?
Yes! Therefore, we are asking you provide the following clothing for your child to change into:
- Outdoor shoes – walking boots or wellingtons
- Warm socks (longer socks are preferable with wellies)
- A warm coat – preferably waterproof
- A jumper or fleece
- A T-shirt
- Waterproof over-trousers (if possible)
- An extra layer of clothing depending on the weather
Forest school clothing should be sent to school in a bag, labelled with your child’s name, on the day they have Forest School. Please ensure all clothing is labelled with your child’s name. Your child will come home in their Forest School clothing at the end of the session and they will bring their school uniform home in their Forest School clothing bag.