Welcome to Forest School
At Churchfields we have our own Forest School and 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.
Aims of Forest School
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 whole 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. 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
Preparation - The Forest School Leader will do a sweep of the site prior to each session. The Forest School Leader will check that the backpack contains all essential items. The Emergency Action Plan is kept in the top of the backpack and all adults are aware of this and their roles in case of an emergency. First Aid Kit, inhalers, wipes, spare hats and gloves (for both children and adults) are kept in the backpack. The tool bag, water containers and other equipment will be taken as appropriate. The Forest School Leader will carry the rucksack to the site. Waterproofs will be taken to the classroom prior to session. Spare wellies are kept in the Forest School shed.
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 or juice with a biscuit or raisins - water will be an option and the needs of each child taken into account. Children discuss their session, if they wish, sharing their view, findings and opinions.
Back at school, children will remove wellies outdoors or standing on sheeting (if very wet), before entering the classroom and changing back into their school uniform.
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 -
NB – Children will not be wearing their school coat for these sessions. In very cold weather, please supply extra layers 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 –
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.
Thank you for your continued support.
Handbook for the Forest School (PDF File)
Churchfields_Forest_School leaflet (PDF File)