Forest School at Godstone Primary and Nursery School
Forest School is a long-term programme that supports play, exploration and supported risk taking. It develops confidence and self-esteem through learner inspired, hands-on experiences in a natural setting. At Godstone Primary and Nursery School, Forest School is offered to children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 (as of November 2022). The sessions take place in our wildlife garden at the rear of the school playground. This is an enclosed natural area with a small pond. All children in Reception get the opportunity to attend once a fortnight on a Monday morning. On a Wednesday morning, Year 1 or 2 attend. Year 1 are offered 3 half termly blocks and Year 2 are offered 2 half termly blocks.
All sessions at Forest School are planned around the needs of the group. Wherever possible, links will be made to learning within the curriculum, giving pupils experiential learning and allowing them to contextualise concepts. Some of the activities that the children may experience include: designing mini-beast homes, environmental art, cooking over a small campfire, den building, creating and following trails, story-telling and using a range of tools… the list is endless!
Lighting a fire
Sometimes during our Forest School sessions, we have a small campfire. An adult is always by the fire circle and the fire will never be left unattended. A fire will not be lit until it has been confirmed to all that our fire safety equipment is in place. When we have a fire during a Forest School session, a ‘fire circle’ will be implemented. This means that logs will be put at a safe distance around the fire. Children are not allowed to enter the fire circle without being invited in by an adult. Children are not permitted to run past or through the fire circle. When they are invited into the fire circle, children will be accompanied by an adult.
In some sessions, we roast marshmallows or cook popcorn over the fire. Children may also have the chance to have a warm drink, for example, hot chocolate, during the morning.
Sometimes during our sessions, we use saws and palm drills. All tools have their own clear code of conduct for correct use. When using the tools children are required to wear protective gloves. A trained adult models the correct body posture/ position to use when using each tool and children are constantly supervised.
We will attend Forest School in most weathers. When it is wet, a shelter is built by an adult so that there is a covered area available. If there are high winds or thunderstorms, the Met Office and BBC Online Weather forecast will be used and a decision will be made if the weather is deemed unsuitable for a session.
Children need to wear appropriate clothing to their Forest School sessions. They will need sturdy boots or wellingtons, long sleeve t-shirts and long trousers. If the weather is wet, they will need to wear a waterproof coat and trousers. If children do not have appropriate clothing, they will be unable to attend Forest School that day.