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Bottesford Primary School

Bottesford Primary School

Forest School

Our fantastic Forest School is run by Mrs Halliday who is a qualified Forest School Leader. She is supported by her amazing team.  Our Forest School is located at the back of the school playing field where we are fortunate to have a variety of established broad-leaved trees for the children to play in and around.   We currently hold two sessions each week for children with SEND needs as part of our extra-curricular activities.  We are also rolling out the sessions to every child in school to allow each pupil to benefit from the Forest School ethos and methods of learning.  

What is Forest School?

Forest School was started in Scandanavia in the 1950s where there was an emphasis on caring for nature and practising woodwork.  In 1993 some students from the UK visited Denmark and began creating what is now known as The Forest School Approach to learning.  The Forest School Approach is a holisitic method which has the child at the centre. It is led by a level 3 trained practitioner who plans for the individual child, following their interests and motivations and encouraging exploration.   This ensures that the child is at the centre of the learning experience.  Time is allowed in each session for reflection and the children are encouraged to take time to think for themselves about how they can further their forest school journey. 


Why is Forest School important? 

The Forest School Approach has a focus on holistic development of the whole child: mind; body and spirit.  It follows the SPICES model of holisitic development.

S - Social:  Being outside wih others and learning to communicate with others to work as a team to achieve a goal or solve problems.

P-Physical:  Working on gross motor skills by climbing trees and not tripping over the forest floor.  Developing fine motor skills by, for example, hammering nails to make a den.

I-Intellectual-problem solving:  Identifying flora and fauna, thinking of how to develop our own learning.

C-Communication:  Talking as part of a group or to our partners about our feelings or what has been enjoyed. Developing communication skills by working as part of a team.

E-Emotional:  Talking about our feelings and working through problems, learning from our mistakes and actions.

S-Spiritual:  The overall concept of Forest School Approach: sharing experiences with others, improving self-belief and giving a feeling of belonging.

During our sessions, children are encouraged to take reasonable risks including using tools and lighting fires under the close supervision of a qualified level 3 forest school leader. We will also have fires on colder days and use them for a base for the day or to cook on.


How will my child benefit from Forest School? 

There has been a lot of research into the Forest School Approach and its benefits to children, including their mental health and wellbeing. Forest school has the learner at the center of everything and this can be really beneficial to the learners self-esteem and their feeling of worth.  Sarah Blackwell found that “the forest school provision was... useful to students self-esteem, confidence and well-being; those same outcomes shared by and advocated in the Every Child Matters agenda (Dfes, 2004)” (S. Blackwell, The Arcimedes Forest School Model). Forest School fosters resilient, confident, independent and creative learners by;

•Resililence-we go outside in all weathers (as long as its safe). We talk about things that haven’t gone so well and what might work better next time.

•Confidence: we plan small achievable tasks based on the children’s interest but also we also build on the children’s individual knowledge of the forest by taking pairs to do little tasks -something that they wouldn’t always choose to do but something achievable they can feel proud of to build confidence.

•Independence - the children get dressed for Forest School by themselves, and are encouraged make their own choices about suitable clothing. They make their own hot drinks using an air pot and a ceramic tea set. The children help to set up dens and hammocks, filling up bird feeders.

•Creative learners - the children are encouraged to make their own things and create things in their own way, including making swings!


What does my child need? 

Please provide your child with:

  • waterproof coat and trousers
  • waterproof boots.
  • warm layers of clothing
  • thick socks and hat and gloves.
  • Please be aware that clothing will get very muddy and may get ripped!
  • We will provide a snack and hot and cold drinks for your child - depending on the weather


How can I help at home?  

  • Allow your child to take appropriate risks, let them climb the tree or balance on a log.
  • Talk to your children when out for a walk about what you can see, different birds, trees and plants.
  • Downalod an app to help identify plants and mushrooms. (The Woodland Trust has some great identification tools too).
  • Encourage your children to treat all living things with care.