Forest School and Garden School

Making a difference. All of our children, all of the time.

Forest School

Forest School is something that we are passionate about. We continue to team up with the Community Environmental Trust (based on Castle Vale), who support our Forest School provision. We use our EYPP funding for this so that all our children will continue to benefit from having access to Forest School every week, which they otherwise wouldn’t have.

We are very privileged to be able to offer Forest School every week. Forest School should be a long-term process of frequent and regular sessions, which is why we highly value our weekly sessions for children.

Forest School provides children with the opportunity to learn in an outdoor environment where they have the right to play, the right to access outdoors, the right to access managed risk, and the right to build resilience. Children learn through play and Forest School provides the opportunity to learn about the natural environment, how to manage risks and learn how to solve problems independently and with others. We love to be outdoors and take pride in all we have to offer. Forest School has been shown  to have a huge impact on children’s communication and social skills, self-esteem, independence, physical development, concentration and motivation for learning. These all form the prime areas of learning and are important skills for children’s lifelong learning.

What will children do in Forest School?

During sessions, children will have plenty of opportunities to climb, balance and jump off natural objects. We have a fallen tree, a climbing frame and a specific tree they can climb. This will help to develop important muscle groups and a strong core which will support their future writing.

Children will explore the natural world around them. They will learn the names of British birds and learn about their habitats. They will learn about different mini-beasts and how to encourage more into our Forest School space. They will learn how to look after and respect our natural environment. Children will help to trim bushes, weed, look after plants and grow new ones. We have chickens at Forest School that the children will help to look after too.

Children will have the chance to use a variety of tools during their time at Forest School.  Children will understand how to use them safely before using them independently, under direct supervision of the Forest School Leader.  Using tools is a fantastic opportunity for children to feel empowered and recognise and manage risks. Children will use saws and loppers with support to help maintain our Forest School space, or to create wood for creations or to provide firewood for a campfire.

Children will experience half termly campfires where they will learn about the safe uses of fire: to keep warm and cook food. Sitting around a campfire is a great social time where children will share experiences with each other and sing songs. With the Forest School Leader, one at a time, children will have the chance to toast their own marshmallows and cook other food items like quesadillas, chips, roasted vegetables and popcorn.

To explore other environments and learn how environments may vary from one another, we go on outdoor visits around the local area such as Pype Hayes Park, Sutton Park and Centre Park.

Garden School

We love Forest School for the freedom of exploration and learning about the natural world. As a keen gardener, I felt it was important that our children have a good understanding of where our food comes from and what goes into the production of food.

Garden School helps children understand the processes of gardening both for pleasure and for produce. It covers all aspects of Gardening from preparing the ground, seed germination, ‘pricking out’, potting on and planting out. We harvest the produce and use it for our lunches and snacks. We think about our pollinators, what they need to thrive and the job they do. We look at life cycles and natural predators. We think about all our wildlife and how we can support it. 

We make compost, look after our animals and keep our garden free of weeds. We talk about how plants grow and how we can provide them with everything they need. We think about how plants produce seed or fruit and when we want to stop this – deadheading flowers for pollinators – or where we want to encourage this – our fruit and vegetables. There are many more things we do – almost impossible to list. You will have to come and visit.