Forest School

Forest School is an inspirational process that has been evolving in the UK since the early 1990’s. Sessions at Chiltern School have a structured format but children are also allowed to direct their learning, following their own interests. Forest School is run by Sally Davidson who is a qualified Level   3 Forest School Practitioner. Sally and the Learning Support Assistants are there to provide inspiration, stimulate, scaffold and observe learning. Through exciting and stimulating sessions, children learn about themselves, others and the world around them. Play at Forest School allows children to encounter and experience risk in a safe and supported environment. This may be through climbing a tree, using unfamiliar tools, making fires or just working with someone that they do not always work with.  Children will always be encouraged to help identify and access their own risks. Children engage in motivating and achievable tasks and activities throughout the year and in most weathers. This allows them   to observe the changes to seasons, experience different weather conditions and develop a relationship with nature that they will take with them through their adult lives.

Forest School at Chiltern School

Here are some photographs to give a flavour of our fun, motivational and inspirational daily sessions! Enjoy!

Making shelters and rope ladders offers the students opportunities to work on their own or in teams.

The children are developing team building skills, co-operation, communication skills, empathy and increased understanding of the woodland world around them.

At the end of each session, the children are offered the opportunity to reflect on their experiences. They pass around the ‘talking stick’ and share things they have learnt or enjoyed  with their peers in a safe and supportive environment. On cold days, they also enjoy a hot chocolate and a biscuit!

Through mud play and other sensory activities the children explore the ‘stuff of the earth’, how materials behave and what they do. Curiosity, fascination and the pleasure of finding things out are fundamentally important to their learning and development.

The hammocks are a popular choice. They provide many opportunities for self- regulation, communication, turn taking and sharing with a friend or two!

The students are introduced to tools and fire in a controlled and progressive way so that they learn about managing risk for themselves.  They will learn to ensure the safety of both themselves and others by learning simple safety procedures under the close supervision of the Forest School leader, Sally and the support staff. 

I can sense the energy of the teaching staff. It feels like the kind of school where my child will thrive rather than stagnate/plod along.