Forest School

Our vision is that ‘our school will give each person a chance to grow like a mustard seed. Our knowledge and skills will be rooted in Christian values as we grow and flourish from tiny seeds to big strong trees. Like the tree, we will provide help and support to others’. Delivering Forest school sessions to every child, following the 6 principles and its own ethos, supports us as a school in our vision to help and support others through dynamic and inspirational learning opportunities.

One of the Forest School principles; to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners lends itself directly to our vision and values and the learning behaviours we promote at Alburgh with Denton. This approach to child development and learning recognises the connection then of mind, body and spirit. Developing spirituality is about developing a person as a whole, developing their sense of worth and helping them to understand their place in the world. We want our values as a school to inspire our children how to act and be, providing time for reflection and to see spirituality in many ways, particularly through a sense of awe and wonder and showing care for nature and living things.

What is Forest School?
Forest School is an inspirational process, that offers ALL learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a natural environment - taken from the Forest School Association website.

Forest School is run by a Level 3 qualified Forest School Leader and works with small groups of children with a high adult to child ratio. It is ideally run on a long term basis (weekly) for a minimum of 6 weeks. Forest School is a child led programme where children get to learn about and manage risk, allowing adults to make observations in order for them to scaffold their learning carefully.

Forest School can be planned to link in with topics being taught back at school, offering more independent activities and free space to think, play and develop. Forest School allows children to be children and to be able to play in order to develop their self esteem! Forest School involves an understanding of how children learn and supports them to build confidence, resilience, independence and creativity.

Forest Schools originated in Europe in the early 20th century as a way of teaching about the natural world. By the 1980s it became part of the Danish early years programme. It is a long-term child-led, educational process that promotes, observes and explicitly supports the social, emotional and physical development of children, young people and adults in an outdoor, preferably woodland, environment - taken from the Forest Education Initiative website.

Forest School at Alburgh with Denton:
At our school we are very lucky to have Level 3 trained Forest School Leader - Kelly Francis. She has completed the training, practical assessments and observations to be qualified to run Forest School sessions. She has also undertaken an Outdoor First Aid qualification alongside this.

We were very fortunate to have a wonderful piece of woodland offered to us to use just a short walking distance from the school, which has proved perfect. It is Miss Francis' responsibility, alongside Mrs Goodhew (Head Teacher) to ensure the site is safe to use and that all safety procedures and risk assessments are undertaken regularly and adhered to.

H has loved Forest School, it is the most I ever hear about school! Having been to a forest school session I can see that it is a fantastic ‘fun’ learning opportunity. They are solving problems, working in teams, learning to discuss things and role-playing without realising it.

Comment from Parent

As a parent helping out at Forest School I have seen how the children enjoy being outside and having the freedom to play and work together.

Comment from Parent

A has really grown up in the last couple of weeks, his attitude and mannerisms have changed. He's a lot more confident and talks about Forest School and what he's done, as normally we struggle to get him talking about class work.

Comment from Parent

Every Monday morning S is excited about going and when I pick her up from school she is always 'full' about what she has done. I've definitely seen a more confident S when in groups since Forest School.

Comment from Parent

It is fun learning. It has helped me do better knots. Miss Francis helped us. It makes me feel happy. It is nice because everyone gets on well and it should carry on.

Comment from Child

E has built dens with people in his class that he doesn’t naturally play with. They have had to co-operate with others and discuss things rather than argue on the football pitch! It allows the older children to learn through play like they do lower down the school.

Comment from Parent