Forest School is a unique educational experience and process that offers children the opportunity to succeed and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland environment.

Children engage in motivating and achievable tasks and activities throughout the year and in almost all weathers. Children will work with tools, play, learn boundaries of behavior, both physical and social, grow in confidence, self-esteem and motivation whilst developing an understanding of the natural world.

The Forest School concept originates in Denmark, originally aimed at pre-school children, where it was found that children who had attended forest school then arrived at school with strong social and communication skills, having the ability to work in groups effectively, generally had high self-esteem and a confidence in their own abilities. These foundations helped them to raise their academic achievements.

At William Gilbert School Forest School sessions are led by Mrs H. Britten who is the Deputy Head teacher, EYFS and KS1 lead and holds a Forest School level 3 qualification. The sessions take place at the local nature reserve in Duffield. Children within reception, year 1 and year 2 currently access these sessions throughout their time in our school.

The children love Forest School and those who have accessed these sessions have very fond memories of their time in the woods.

The sessions are designed to support learning in school and act as a means of deepening their understanding of many concepts and skills in a practical way that could not be achieved in the classroom.

Our Forest School sessions encourage children to

* develop personal and social skills

* work through practical problems and challenges

* use tools to create, build or manage

* discover how they learn best

* pursue knowledge that interests them

* learn how to manage failures

* build confidence in decision making and evaluating risk

* develop practical skills

* understand the benefits of a balanced and healthy lifestyle

* explore connections between humans, wildlife and the earth

* regularly experience achievement and success

* reflect on learning and experiences

* develop their language and communication skills

* improve physical motor skills

* become more motivated

* improve their concentration skills

* consider the impact of humans on our natural environment

* learn how to manage and sustain our woodlands

Typical Forest School Activities

• Woodland art and crafts • Playing team and group games • Whittling • Tree climbing • Den and shelter building • Campfires and cooking • Flora and fauna identification and care • Circle times • Rope skills…knots and lashings! • Tool knowledge and safe use • Physical self-awareness • Developing stories/drama and meeting imaginary characters

What your child will need for their Forest School session

• Children will be required to wear old clothes and will be taught about layering as a way of maintaining the most warmth.

• Children will be required to bring their own warm/waterproof coats and waterproof trousers.

• They will also need hats and gloves in their rucksacks to reduce heat loss on cold days.

• Children will be required to wear wellington boots or waterproof walking boots or shoes.

• Long trousers and long sleeved tops must be worn in all types of weather.

• Children should wear hats in sunny weather.

• On sunny days please ensure children have had sun cream applied. During hot weather sessions children can apply further cream if needed.

• All clothing should be labelled with the child’s name.

• A healthy energy filled snack – no nuts/products containing nuts or chocolate/sweets. Examples include, cheese and crackers, malt loaf, banana bread, fruit.