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Northmead Junior School

Northmead Junior School

Forest Schools




What is forest School?

Forest Schools' roots reach back to the open-air culture, friluftsliv, or free air life, seen as a way of life in Scandinavia where Forest School began. It arrived in the UK in 1993 and has grown from strength to strength since then. Forest School is a child-centred inspirational learning process,, that offers opportunities for holistic growth via a connection to the outside world. Many studies have shown the benefit of connecting with nature in childhood. It has been shown to calm children and relive anxiety. Forest school helps and facilitates more than knowledge-gathering, it helps learners develop socially, emotionally, spiritually, physically and intellectually. It creates a safe, non-judgemental, nurturing environment for learners to try ideas out and take risks. Forest School inspires a deep and meaningful connection to the world and an understanding of how a learner fits within it. Our approach to risk means that learners constantly expand on their abilities by solving real-world issues, building self-belief and resilience. At Northmead, children spend the whole afternoon outside in our woodland area. Typical activities include the use of tools such as whittling knives, bow saws, secateurs, loppers and hand drills. Children will learn how to safely sit, collect wood for and build a camp fire, with the session culminating in the sharing of food cooked over the fire.


Who takes part?

At present, we are running forest school sessions for Year 4 in the first half of the academic year and Year 6 in the latter part. The sessions are planned by Miss Lewis- a Level 3 trained Forest school leader, and Mr Lewis who is currently In the process of gaining his level 3 qualification – they are supported by teaching assistants and volunteers.


Aims of Northmead Forest School

During the sessions, the children have the chance to develop;

· Personal confidence and self-esteem

· Communication and social skills

· The ability to assess and manage risk

· Gross and fine motor skills

· Problem-solving

· Motivation and concentration

· A deeper understanding of the natural world and environmental issues

· Enjoyment of the outdoors


Why teach forest school? 

At Northmead we believe in giving children a broad curriculum, full of experiences which engage and excite them in their learning. We have always maintained that children learn best through first-hand, active sessions which make use of a variety of resources, including our own school grounds.

Through our 'Learning to Learn' initiative, we are using an approach to help children to become better learners through creating an ethos in our school which cultivates the skills and attitudes associated with life-long learning.

“The best classroom and the richest classroom is roofed only by the sky.”

Marget McMillan