Forest School

At Muxton, every child becomes enthralled with their Forest School experience! All year groups have a dedicated block of sessions each year which is linked to other areas of their learning. We believe that providing this regular experience of working in an outdoor environment not only develops children’s independence and investigative and team-building skills but also enhances their sense of awe and wonder in the natural world around them.

The Best Kind of Classroom

This is the best kind of classroom;
No walls, just sky and trees.
This is the best kind of classroom;
No radiators, just a gentle breeze.
You can learn well here, as birds sing, about your place
In the scheme of things.
This is the best kind of classroom;
It’s a journey through time and space
From the smallest seed to the largest tree
This is a forest and a learning place to be
This is the best kind of classroom
Where the seasons
Don’t happen in books
Where the learning is watching and thinking and talking
Any everyone notices, everyone looks.
By Ian MacMillan

What is a Forest School?

Based on a Scandinavian idea, it involves children and young people (3-18) working with a qualified Forest Leader on a frequent and regular basis in a local woodland setting. Fortunately, at Muxton Primary School, we have developed our own Forest School site on our school grounds and have access to a designated area within the Granville Country Park.
Children attending Forest School sessions follow their usual curriculum, but in an outdoor context, using teaching and learning strategies which raise self-esteem, develop confidence, independence, language and communication skills.

How does it work?

Children and young people become more confident in their own natural and made environments, and acquire a deeper understanding about environmental issues, both locally and globally. Forest School provides ways for meeting the Early Years Foundation Stage and the National Curriculum learning objectives whilst developing practical life skills and encouraging child initiated learning, which is observed and assessed.
Many children benefit from and prefer a practical element to their learning and achieve greater levels of success in this context than in a traditional classroom environment.
Parents and carers, particularly male role models, are more likely to involve themselves in projects of this sort, and become engaged in their children’s education.
All children benefit from opportunities to demonstrate a wider range of knowledge and expertise – especially important for those who do not often ‘shine’ in the classroom.
Forest School is particularly successful in motivating children who, for a range of reasons, struggle in the classroom environment.
At Forest School sessions, children learn to assess and manage acceptable risks within a defined area. Sessions have additional physical, social and health benefits for children and young people. Improved behaviour and motivation is evident back in the classroom and has an impact on effort and achievement.
Sessions last for approximately one and a half hours and children can bring along a drink and a healthy snack.

What to wear at Forest School

When your child is at Forest School, they will be out in all weathers! Obviously it is up to parental discretion as to what clothes you send for your child to wear whilst attending Forest School sessions, but the following information may be useful.

Recommended Forest School kit list:

– Wellington boots
– Warm, thick (thermal if possible) socks or two pairs of thinner socks.
– Thick trousers or tracksuit bottoms for both girls and boys
– Layers for the top of the body
– Vest
– Long sleeved top or T-shirt
– Fleece or wool jumper
– A waterproof jacket and trousers
– Hat, gloves and scarves – very important to keep out the chilly winds!

– Sun hat
– Sun screen
– T-shirt or light cotton shirt with sleeves to protect the shoulders.
– Light cotton trousers (shorts and skirts are not suitable for woodland)
– Socks and trainers or wellingtons (sandals are not suitable for woodland)
– A waterproof coat

All Forest School sessions are led by Lianne Sainty, who is trained to OCN level 3 in Forest School delivery.

Some interesting quotes from children

‘At Forest School I learnt not to be scared of spiders.’
– Jasmine Cass –

‘My favourite thing at Forest School is finding out about new things.’
– Shannon Webster –

‘Playing in the mud at Forest School makes me feel happy.’
– Thomas Wall –

Some useful websites for further information

Forestry Commission
Outdoor & Woodland Learning
Field Studies Council
Nature For Schools