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Forest School

It [Forest School] develops confidence and self-esteem through learner inspired, hands-on experiences in a natural setting.

The Forest School Association: Professional Body for Forest School in the UK.


Forest School Lead:

Miss Potter

Forest School: Intent

At St Michael’s, we aim to provide a nurturing space that supports our children’s wellbeing by providing and implementing positive outdoor, child-led experiences in a natural setting. Forest School is an inspirational process that offers all learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through practical learning experiences that will support them through their lives.

Forest school allows the children to be free exploring their environment. It gives children to opportunity to take ownership of their learning and make their own decisions. The children are encouraged to take risks and this is an important part of child development. The impact of forest school is it will promote independence, confidence, self-esteem and team work therefore the children will form positive relationships and develop their social skills.

The children will be highly motivated and engaged in their learning as they are able to explore the natural environment. They will learn to respect the environment and living things as well as each other. The outdoor environment is enabling and empowering to all students and they can all reach their full potential academically and holistically.

What is Forest School?

The Forest School Association

The process helps and facilitates more than knowledge-gathering, it helps learners develop socially, emotionally, spiritually, physically and intellectually. Watch this 5 minute video for a quick summary of Forest School.

Progression in Skills at Forest School

Early Years

  • Introduction to rules/boundaries/format of sessions.
  • Promotion of independent learning opportunities/skills.
  • Introduction of basic real tools – hammers, mallets, trowels and forks.
  • Introduction of basic shelter building with support.
  • Safety procedures.
  • Promotion of free exploration.


Year 1

  • Re-enforcement of rules and boundaries.
  • Continuation of the use of basic tools, larger ropes and independent cutting of string.
  • Introduction to basic knots.
  • Supported construction of tripod structures on a small and large scale.


Year 2

  • Re-enforcement of rules and boundaries.
  • Continuation of the use of basic tools, larger ropes and independent cutting of string.
  • More sophisticated use of knots for attaching to structures, trees etc.
  • Independent use of tripod structures.
  • Introduction of lashing and frapping techniques to make frames.


Year 3

  • Re-enforcement of rules and boundaries.
  • Continuation of the use of basic tools, larger ropes and independent cutting of string.
  • More sophisticated use of knots for attaching to structures, trees etc.
  • Lashing and frapping frames and dual structures – attaching hessian using knots.
  • Introduction of bow saw and peeler – 1:1 support.


Year 4

  • Re-enforcement of rules and boundaries.
  • Continuation of the use of basic tools, larger ropes and independent cutting of string.
  • Continued more sophisticated use of knots for attaching to structures, trees etc.
  • Further extend lashing and frapping techniques on a smaller scale at an independent level.
  • Introduction of hack saw/loppers/secateurs/whittling using knives 1:1 support.


Year 5

  • Secure rules and boundaries and encourage a Forest school buddy system.
  • Use tools and larger ropes independently.
  • Introduction of fire safety and cooking over a camp fire.
  • Introduce knowledge about the wildlife within our school grounds and how to look after them.



Year 6

  • Further knowledge about fire safety and fire lighting to an independent level.
  • To introduce peer mentoring into EYFS for den building / willow weaving.
  • To cook over a campfire and help one another.
  • Look more in-depth at wildlife on school grounds and look after them.

Curriculum links Forest School to build and extend knowledge:

English – Children will use descriptive vocabulary to describe woodland objects and plants, though sensory games. All of these sessions used speaking and listening, key literacy skills such as exciting vocabulary which then permeates all areas of learning. They will talk and share ideas about how we can help to look after the planet.

Science –  Children will observe the growth and decay of plants/flowers. We will plant bulbs and watch them grow. Children will have to look after the plants and forest school. Children can look at different habitats and identify some in the school grounds. They could explore how animals are grouped into vertebrates and invertebrates and how vertebrates are further grouped into: birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles and fish. We will be consolidating this learning by finding examples of each and learning more about the animals and insects that live in our immediate environment. We will be looking at different materials and we will consider these and their properties when turning the gardens into sensory gardens.

Geography- The children will discuss different weather patterns linked to the seasons. Children will collect, analyse and communicate with a range of data gathered through experiences of fieldwork that deepen their understanding of geographical process. use simple fieldwork and observational skills to study the geography of their school and its grounds and the key human and physical features of its surrounding environment

Maths –  Children will problem solve and take ownership of their own learning. Children will measure lengths of sticks and consolidate 3D shapes when making the bird house. Children can order objects by length, size or width. Counting using 1:1 correspondence. Children can use natural materials such as twigs and stones to count out, add and subtract.

Art and DT – The Forest Schools curriculum gives all children the opportunities to cut wood and shape it safely using a range of tools. They will learn how to use a hand drill, peeler and loppers. They will also learn how to lash pieces of wood together and how and why we tie different knots. The children will collect leaves, twigs and sticks and create pictures on canvas and make self-portraits using the items. Children will make ‘forest friends’ using clay, forest materials and eyes. We will paint using the leaves and twigs and make marks in the mud. The bird tables and nest-in-boots will provide an opportunity to apply these skills, as will sculptures for the gardens.

PSHE – We will nurture a deeper bond with nature and consider how much joy it brings us, and how we in turn should respect and look after our planet. The children will be responsible for looking after the plants and flowers as well as making bug houses and look after insects. This will allow the children to take turns and work together as a team, which will ensure the children create positive bonds engaging in activities together. We will build dens and make communication friendly spaces. In developing the sensory gardens, we will consider all children and all needs and how we can create spaces that provide experience for multiple senses. In addition, the infrastructure and design will be improved so that every child can have positive learning experiences. We will seek feedback and make improvements.

The Wildlife Trusts: 30 Days Wild

This June, we will be taking part in The Wildlife Trusts ’30 Days Wild’ annual nature challenge. We want you to do one wild thing a day throughout the whole month: for your health, well being and for the planet. That’s 30 simple, fun and exciting Random Acts of Wildness.

I have attached fun filled activities below and I will be putting up daily challenges on twitter.

Lets have fun getting WILD!

Forest School Activities

Resources: Forest School

Just click a button below to View any document, you will then have the option to Download or Print the file. You can access all of our policies and reports on the website. Please contact the school if you would like any paper versions of our documents.

Design a Bird

The Wildlife Trusts


Make your own Bird’s Nest

The Wildlife Trusts