At Christ Church we are fortunate to be able to offer Forest School activities on our spacious school grounds – which include allotments, gardens, woodland and even our own orchard of apple, plum and pear trees.
Our Forest School activities take place in all weathers and all seasons. We expect all children and adults to be dressed appropriately as – in keeping with the philosophy of Forest School – “there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing”!
Children at Christ Church follow the usual curriculum in Forest School, but just adapted for an outdoor context. This approach is consistent with the ethos of the Early Years Foundation Stage framework, which requires all nurseries and schools to promote children’s sense of well-being and development by providing plenty of opportunities for them to play and learn outdoors.
Activities are put together in small manageable steps that we scaffold (show and tell) in relation to what the children are to do next. This allows children to develop the skill they are learning at their own pace and level. We find that children of all abilities and from all backgrounds enjoy and learn at Forest School. As outdoor learners, Christ Church girls and boys grow in self-esteem and develop resilience and confidence as they pay attention to what others have to say and then explain their own ideas, thoughts and feelings.
Yes, we use real tools from time to time. This is always supervised and in an appropriate context. And, yes, our members of staff are First Aid trained – just in case.
But it’s not all about using saws and axes, searching for minibeasts, making dens and toasting marshmallows over a campfire! A wide range of activities are on offer and much of the learning is child led, allowing the children themselves to explore, investigate and interact with the world around them by using their own ideas and imagination. Forest School learning also encourages children to work in collaboration with others. Children learn to assess and manage risks, and work as a team to solve problems. Positive experiences of outdoor learning like this have proven physical, social and health benefits, and bring children closer to each other as well as to nature – just some of the reasons we value Forest School learning at Christ Church.