Forest School

Forest schooling is an ethos driven rather than an activity based approach to learning. We recognise the importance of the holistic development of the child.

In order to develop holistically children must be given positive opportunities to:

  • Play and Explore with what they already know.
  • Learn actively though perseverance, enjoyment and concentration.
  • Think creatively and critically by having their own ideas, making links to prior knowledge and by having opportunities to make their own choices.

At Forest School we do this together, in an outdoor setting, meeting the individual needs of the child and inspiring them to be confident lifelong learners. This year we will be developing our school grounds to include a new designated forest school area. We hope that this will encourage many different types of insects and animals to build habitats here. We also use the open space on Kingsdown Avenue.

Whilst undertaking Forest school sessions the children develop:

  • Bush craft skills such as; fire lighting, cleaving wood and sawing timber
  • Creative skills utilising the natural environment and resources available to them
  • Specific scientific knowledge such as the difference between flowering and non-flowering plants and animal and leaf identification
  • Children also develop communication and team work skills.

By allowing children to freely choose their own activities children are able to become engrossed in things that interest them and undertake a deep level of learning. By managing their own risks in all they do we are equipping children with the tools needed to thrive in challenging and potentially dangerous environments.

Forest School Sessions are led by Mrs. Khan and Mrs. Smith who are both Level 3 accredited practitioners and many other members of staff support during these sessions.

Read more about Forest School at St. Mark's:


Forest School and outdoor sessions begin in Reception. Here’s some children in Reception looking at seasonal changes.

What our Reception children said about Forest School:

  • "I like learning outside."
  • "We worked together to look at how the leaves had changed."
  • "I like Forest School."

Year 6’s focus for the half term was to develop their communication, team work and resillience skills. They used bow saws in pairs to create small wooden disks and small pieces which they put together to make christmas trees. These were then sold at the Chirstmas Fair.

  • "I love it when we used the bow saw. I would like to do more tool work."
  • "My skills when using a bow saw are really improving."
  • "I enjoyed collecting leaves and jumping in the puddles."

During Year 4’s Forest School sessions we focused on: communication, resilience, empathy and problem solving. We played team games which involved listening skills, built bug hotels, built a fire, used clay to create green men and used classification keys to identify bugs we had found.

  • "I loved sitting around the fire."
  • "I liked building the bug hotels – it was interesting and fun!"
  • "I liked building the bug hotels because I like bugs."
  • "I loved the bug hunt. I found a scorpion and an earwig."