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What is Forest School? 

Forest School (FS) is an innovative educational approach to outdoor play and learning.

  • 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. (Taken from Forest School Association)
Forest School

Forest School sessions at Western Downland

The view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life . . . .  the belief that cherished qualities can be developed creates a passion for learning” (Dweck, 2006)

Children are offered regular opportunities to achieve and develop through hands-on, child led learning experiences in our outdoor areas.  An individual approach is taken to each child’s learning journey and they are encouraged to explore and discover through engaging, motivating and achievable activities. This in turn provides each child with an opportunity to develop intrinsic motivation and sound emotional and social skills.

Through Forest School sessions children learn how to handle risks and to use their initiative to solve problems, co-operate with others and develop resilience as well as expand their knowledge about the natural environment around them. They understand boundaries of behaviour; both physical and social, establish and grow in confidence and self-esteem, becoming self-motivated and independent learners.

The development of these aptitudes, along with embedding skills taught in the classroom and scaffolding new understandings as they emerge, support each of our children to reach their personal potential.