Forest School

What is Forest School?

Forest school is defined by the Forest School Association as:

“an inspirational process that offers ALL learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees”


Principles of Forest School as agreed by the Forest School community:

  • FS is a long-term process of regular sessions, rather than a one off or infrequent visits; the cycle of planning, observation, adaptation and review links each session.
  • FS takes place in a woodland or natural environment to support the development of a relationship between the learner and the natural world.
  • FS uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for being, development and learning.
  • FS aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners.
  • FS offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.
  • FS is run by qualified Forest School practitioners who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice.


Find out more about the Forest School approach to learning:


Children's Learning Experience

Forest school sessions at St Cuthbert’s give the children opportunities and experiences to explore and connect with nature through creative activities and games. Our Forest School Leaders, Jane and Freya, provide a nurturing space that supports every child’s wellbeing. The activities offered provide different experiences that can help foster resilience, confidence and emotional intelligence.

At St Cuthbert's Forest School, groups visit the woodland in Fog Lane park for certain weeks of the year. This helps children feel a sense of belonging to nature and their local community.  Each session follows a similar routine, establishing group cohesiveness and safety.  There is a clear beginning and ending. The boundaries of the play area and rules for safety and care for each other and the environment are established as a whole group. Forest school builds happy memories for all.

Over the five years that children have Forest School sessions, the group see how the woodland changes, they develop an understanding of seasonal change as a first-hand experience.  Each season provides moments of discovery that have a positive lasting effect on children’s sense of the outdoors. Children develop a love of nature leading to care and respect for green spaces in the future.  

Knowledge and skills learnt are built upon each year through a spiral curriculum, which progresses and revisits to build on and embed understanding.

Forest School leaders, Freya and Jane, work closely with teachers to ensure links to the wider curriculum are made during Forest School units. Plans are developed to enhance pupils knowledge and skills development in Geography, Science, and occasionally History, which build to support their understanding and development of skills in context.

Here are some of the practical activities that we do at St Cuthbert’s Forest School:

  • Opportunities for knot tying
  • Making dens
  • Climbing trees
  • Using tools to make things such as bows, boats, musical instruments, wands
  • Demonstrating building a small fire including what a fire needs and fire safety
  • Identifying trees
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