- 'This is the best kind of classroom,
- It's a journey through time and space,
- From the smallest seed to the largest tree,
- This is a Forest and a learning place.
- This is the best kind of classroom,
- Where the seasons don't happen in books,
- Where learning is watching and thinking and talking,
- And everyone notices, everyone looks'.
- From 'The Best Kind of Classroom' by Ian Macmillan
What is forest school?
Forest school is a child-centred approach to learning in the outdoor environment. It is a program that supports play, exploration, leadership, turn-taking and supported risk taking – as well as many other things. It helps the children to develop confident and self-esteem through hands-on experiences in a natural setting. The forest school ethos’ approach to risk means that children are constantly expanding their abilities by solving issues, building self-belief and resilience.
Forest School at Calcot
Welcome to Forest school!
Forest School is the place where magic happen as imaginations, self-confidence and vocabulary continue to grow. The amazing memories and adventures that take place in Forest School will always be something that the children carry with them into the rest of their education. In Forest school all children are given the opportunity to access, experience and enjoy learning while working in the outside environment. We take the “classroom” outside and use the beautiful surroundings, weather and sounds to enhance their learning visually, orally and sensually. This holistic approach encourages children’s imaginations, build’s self-esteem and creates the desire to understand, learn and respect the natural world around them. The children are in a safe environment where they can succeed, create and use Maths and Literacy skills without them even realising it! Through exploration and discovery the children are able to enjoy and self-initiate their own learning. Children are able to take calculated risks in a controlled environment. They learn cause and effect and what may or could happen. They are given the opportunity and responsibility under supervision, to use tools and help be part of a team, creating a fire to keep them warm and cook food.
We are very lucky at Calcot Schools to have our own on-site forest school area where children in Foundation Stage, Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 have the opportunity to visit weekly. Year 2 do this on a half termly rota
What sort of activities will my child be doing?
Activities are usually linked to the learning that the children are covering that term. Typically these may include:
Design Technology - Building dens and bridges that are suitable for them to sit in and walk on, whittling wood, making wooden disks
Science – learning about the seasons, habitats and animals that live at our forest school site. The children will have opportunities to make bug hotels and animal habitats. We also have a vegetable patch where children will be able to plant, water and watch different plants grow.
Literacy – Story telling around the fire, following instructions and creating story maps with natural objects.
Maths – Data handling, Measuring, Shapes and Problem Solving
Art – creating 3D pictures or sculptures out of clay or mud, colour matching and creating art from natural resources.
ICT – following algorithms (a set of instructions to solve a problem)
What are the benefits of Forest School?
There are so many benefits of taking part in Forest School. These include children:
- 1. undertaking practical physical activities which encourage them to be more active and help to develop gross and fine motor skills
- 2. starting to understand and appreciate the natural world and environmental issues
- working together to complete challenges, take turns and problem-solve: How can we make a big den?
- 3. developing communication and learning new vocabulary
- 4. becoming resilient, independent, enquiring and creative learners
- 5. learning to assess risks and make informed decisions: Will the branch be sturdy enough to take my weight? How do I use a mallet safely?
- 6. learning maths skills: How many big sticks will I need to build a den?
- 7.developing imagination and creativity: What shall I put in my ‘magic’ potion?
- 8.learning in different ways – Forest School can appeal to children who are less engaged in the classroom, and can improve behaviour, motivation, concentration and confidence
- 9. enjoying better levels of mental health and well-being.
What does my child need to wear on Forest School days?
You will be notified by your class teacher/parentmail of which days your child will be visiting the forest school site. On those days, your child does not need to come to school wearing their school uniform.
Please send your child in with, clothes appropriate for the weather (long sleeves that cover their arms and long trousers must be worn) that you do not mind getting dirty and a pair of wellington boots in a named carrier bag.
Calcot Infant School will be holding open mornings over the next couple of months to enable prospective families to view the school and get a taste of what our amazing school can offer.Read more
Our schools were inspected in 2023 and both schools were recognised for their excellent drive to provide children with an exciting, broad and balanced curriculum. It was commented upon that as pupils move through the school, there is a wealth of opportunities to enrich their lives, including lunchtime, after-school clubs, arts and sporting events.Read more