Forest School

Welcome to Forest School at The Hawthorns Primary School

Forest School is an established part of our school curriculum.

It follows the six principles of the Forest School Association (FSA)

(Click HERE to find out more about the FSA)

Principle 1: Forest School is a long-term process of frequent and regular sessions in a woodland or natural environment, rather than a one-off visit. Planning, adaptation, observations and reviewing are integral elements of Forest School. 

Principle 2: Forest School takes place in a woodland or natural wooded environment to support the development of a relationship between the learner and the natural world. 

Principle 3: Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners 

Principle 4: Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves. 

Principle 5: Forest School is run by qualified Forest School practitioners who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice. 

Principle 6: Forest School uses a range of learner-centered processes to create a community for development and learning. 

History

Forest school has its roots in Scandinavia and has become recognised in many different UK settings as a valuable tool for learning. 

At the Hawthorns

Our Forest School is led by Mrs. McKay, a qualified teacher, who is also a qualified Level 3 Forest School Practitioner. 

It takes place out doors in almost all weathers in a dedicated area of our school grounds.  It even has a unique curriculum which makes it different from other equally valuable forms of outdoor learning. 

It is organised so that pupils from Y1 to Y5 follow a half term of weekly two-hour sessions.  EYFS have a more general introductory shorter session.   One session follows the next.  The groups are smaller, usually half a class and we often invite parent volunteers to help us.  This means that we can do some really exciting activities such as campfires and tree climbing. 

The FS curriculum is as wide as possible and although carefully prepared for is often initiated and led by the pupils.  Each session is linked and skills and learning are gradually developed.  Pupils are taught traditional forestry skills, to appreciate the natural environment and to become responsible for their own safety through controlled risk taking and learning together.  Fire is an integral part of Forest school and the campfire session is always very popular. 

At the Hawthorns we draw links with our school curriculum through our Aspirational Qualities of collaboration, creativity, curiosity, independence, kindness and resilience.  These link well with principle 3 of FS. 

The Setting

Our Forest school has its own area at the back of our school field.  It is always outside but we do have a simple tent for shelter.  Next to the entrance is a purpose-built fire pit with seating.  The Forest school area is managed sympathetically with the natural world in mind and native wild plants and small creatures are nurtured.  

Once pupils are confident with their Forest School skills they are able to visit the open woodland outside our grounds taking with them our shelter kits and ropes to use in a different setting.  

We hope you enjoy viewing the photo gallery below.