Forest School is a child-centred learning process which offers opportunities for holistic growth. Its 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 an inspirational education approach to learning. Stepping away from the constraints of the traditional four walls of a classroom allows children the time and space to initiate their own learning. This approach turns the institutionalised lesson plans on their head and focuses on the process of learning rather than the content - 'how' we learn rather than 'what' we learn.

At Forest School children develop through their experiences in the woodland; developing the child as a whole, in an enabling environment. Through regular pressure free practical activities, children develop in such areas as resilience, confidence, self-esteem, imagination and independence.

Forest School allows the child's full capacity to be respected; allowing them to use tools, explore, investigate, assess risks and on occasion, sneak worms and beetles into their pocket. There are no ceilings to their learning, no ability groups, no discrimination, no tests and most of all, no pressure.

It is the adult's role to lead by example, observing the child initiated learning and being the catalyst to further their possibilities. Forest School allows the opportunity for children to access an unlimited learning potential.

Quality Forest School is delivery which holds to all six key principles that shape and govern the Forest School ethos. There are many forms of outdoor education and all have enormous value, however, Forest School is unique in its reach, delivery and effect. These six principles are:

  • Forest School is a long-term process of regular sessions, rather than one-off or infrequent visits; the cycle of planning, observation, adaptation and review links each session.

  • Forest School takes place in a woodland or natural environment to support the development of a lifelong relationship between the learner and the natural world.

  • Forest School uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for being, development and learning.

  • Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners.

  • Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.

  • Forest School is run by qualified Forest School practitioners, who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice.

At St Stephen's each class will have the opportunity to take part in Forest School sessions with our qualified Level 3 Forest School Leader, Mrs Lomax. You will be informed when your child is timetabled for the outdoor sessions and will need to come to school dressed appropriately with layers and a waterproof jacket and wellies or walking boots during cold wet weather.

Please take a look at the gallery below to see what our children get up to and why they come home dirty...............

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