Forest School

Leader: Mr P Jefferys

The Magic of St Joseph’s Forest School

Forest schools operate on the principle that children of all ages can benefit greatly from the hands on learning opportunities inherently present in a woodland environment. Our school site offers something many other schools are not lucky enough to have, a perfect wood-land setting, allowing our children to learn and experience things with regular visits throughout the year.

“The best classroom and the richest cupboard are roofed only by the sky.”
Margaret McMillan 

The importance of Outdoor learning

Daily access to the outdoors when in an Early Years setting is a statutory requirement for all children. But it is not just essential for children in the Early Years it is essential for ALL children and adults.

Outdoor learning/play is a critical component of good provision and must be encouraged. It is essential for the healthy development of all young children.

Learning outside offers opportunities to build on and extend, skills taught and acquired inside. It also offers the chance to take on new challenges and risks and to investigate in a different way. The physical freedom of learning outside through climbing, exploring, jumping and balancing supports development of the young child’s body towards the finer movements that will be required for such skills as writing. Experiencing the weather, searching for insects, climbing a tree or working on a large scale is learning.

Our Forest School is an inspirational process that involves:
  • Child initiated learning;
  • Integration with the National Curriculum;
  • Time for children to explore, learn and investigate;
  • Fun, imagination and creativity;
  • Focusing on the natural resources around us.
Our Forest School helps to develop:
  • Confidence and self esteem;
  • Communication and social skills;
  • Physical skills;
  • Greater understanding and awareness of the natural environment;
  • Creativity and imagination;
  • Team skills;
  • The ability to develop, recognise and manage risk;
  • Healthier lifestyles by physical and mental activity.
Who will partake in Forest School?

During the 2020/21 school year, all children in Reception, Key stage 1 and Years 3-5 will be visiting and learning in our forest school. Our two qualified leaders will be taking the children out of the classroom setting and entering into a world of adventure and exploration on a weekly basis. 

What will happen during the Forest School session?
  • The sessions will be run at our Forest School site within the school grounds, and will last two hours.
  • The sessions will be run by Ms Hannah Golding and Mr Paul Jefferys (both qualified Forest School Leaders) and they will be supported by a member of staff.

The Forest School sessions will follow a routine that the children will soon become familiar with, including:

  • A group discussion, including the Forest school rules;
  • An activity and time to explore in the woodland;
  • A final get together for reflection time before returning the classroom setting, with a hot chocolate during the cold months.
What to wear?

Boots –walking boots or Wellington boots. Plastic wellies and several pairs of socks are a good idea when the weather is cold or wet.

Waterproof clothing (Jacket and trousers) This is essential in the winter months. There is nothing worse for a child’s learning than being wet or cold.

Long trousers – both in summer and winter, to keep warm and to protect from scratches, bites and sunburn.

Long sleeved top – both in summer and winter, to keep warm and to protect from scratches, bites and sunburn.

Layers of clothing appropriate to the temperature and the season – in winter the children will need at least three layers to keep warm. Example: long johns, trousers and the waterproof dungarees work well for their bottom half, and for the top half, a base layer, fleece, long sleeved top and waterproof jacket is a good mix.

Hat (for sun or warmth depending on the season) and waterproof gloves.
These should be old clothes or clothes that parents/guardians do not mind getting dirty. They will get dirty!

NB: We do carry a few waterproof sets of trousers and jackets, please talk to your teacher if you feel this would be needed.