At Churchfields, we have our own Forest School. Mrs Miller is our qualified Forest School Leader.
Forest School is a unique method of Outdoor Education that allows children to develop confidence, independence, self-esteem and awareness and knowledge of the natural environment. This fully supports our vision which stresses 3 key principles using the acronym ACE. These are Aspiration, Citizenship and Excellence.
“Churchfields’ pupils are happy at school, they develop into inquisitive, ambitious learners who are inspired by their education. Churchfields’ empowers it's pupils to discover and achieve their full potential; each and every child is valued, supported and challenged. Pupils leave with the best level of achievement possible. They have a sense of inner confidence, a thirst for learning, and the skills to succeed on their educational journey and seize opportunities in their life beyond.”
This is achieved by setting small achievable tasks. The child is never put in a position where he/she will fail, so success is attained. It is a child centred and child led programme that provides the opportunity for the children to use their personal learning style to complete their chosen tasks.
Aims of Forest School
- To provide children with experiences that encourages an appreciation, awareness and knowledge of the natural environment.
- To learn to respect and care for their own local environment.
- To abide by rules and set standards of behaviour, to work cooperatively in groups and to respect each other.
- Develop children’s self-esteem and self-confidence through the setting of small achievable tasks.
Environmental Considerations and Conservation
One of the principles of Forest School is to promote environmental awareness and encourage sustainability. The children are taught about respect and responsibility for the world around them. Both the children and adults are encouraged to respect their environment and to be aware of conservation issues of the wild area around them.
The aim is to promote respect for wildlife, which will be achieved through detailed session plans, evaluation and careful reference to our Woodland Management Plan and Ecological Impact Assessment. If appropriate, reclaimed, recycled and sustainable resources will be used to maintain and develop our Forest School site.
Encouraging children to care for the environment is an essential part of Churchfields Forest School. In order to encourage the children to look after the site we will always leave it tidy and never damage anything growing in it. We will only collect things that are on the ground and leave the area as we found it when we leave. The Forest School Leader will monitor the site so that it does not become overused and an alternative area will be found and risk assessed if necessary.
Routines and Procedures For Forest School
During the session - Children participate in a variety of activities which are totally inclusive, thus catering for all ability levels. They are taught a variety of woodland skills through practical hands on activities. They also learn how to light fires safely. The children learn the care and safe use of a wide range of tools. This is a tightly supervised activity on a 1:1 ratio of adult to children. It is introduced gradually and in small steps. Children are encouraged to listen attentively to instructions and to take responsibility for their actions. This is achieved by games that also encourage respect for the environment.
Plenary - The children sit at base camp, cleanse their hands and drink cocoa (cold weather) or orange juice (hot) with a biscuit. (Water will be an option and the needs of each child taken in to account). Children discuss their session, if they wish, sharing their view, findings and opinions.
Back at school children will remove wellies out doors or standing on sheeting (if very wet), before entering the classroom, changing back in to their school uniform.
After the session Equipment will be washed and stored as appropriate. Waterproofs will be dried and hung on rails. Flasks and water containers will be emptied and cleaned out. Tools (if taken) will be cleaned and locked away in the Forest School shed. The essential equipment Backpack will be put away and any items used replaced.
Cancelling Forest School
Forest School may need to be cancelled in extreme weather conditions, e.g. high winds (over 30mph), imminent thunder storm, or blizzards. Adapted classroom activities will take place instead.
Forest School may not be able to go ahead if there are not enough adults to accompany us. If no replacement adult can be found then the session will be cancelled. The session may also be cancelled if the Forest School Leader is unable to attend. Campfires cannot take place without a Qualified Forest School Leader – Level 3 Forest School Practitioner.
Forest School Clothing
Winter Clothing –
Children require as a minimum:
• Thermal underwear Vest
• Long sleeved t-shirt(s)/shirt(s)
• Long trousers or jeans
• Warm hat and scarf
• Gloves (not mittens)
• Wellies or hard shoes
• Warm socks, tights (more than one pair will keep feet warmer).
NB – Children will not be wearing their school coat for these sessions. In very cold weather, please supply extra layers of clothing and/or an old jacket in their kit.
The general rule is to wear lots of layers which keeps in the heat and can be removed if needed.
Summer Clothing –
• Sun hat
• Sun cream applied before session
• Lightweight long sleeved top
• Lightweight long trousers
• Wellies (preferred) or hard shoes/old trainers
It is advised that children should have sunscreen applied at home before they come to school, but if a top up is required, please send in a bottle with the child’s name clearly written on it for them to apply before a session.
Churchfields Forest School will provide an all-in-one suit for every child to be worn over these clothes.
Handbook for the Forest School (PDF File)
Churchfields_Forest_School leaflet (PDF File)