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Summerlea CP School Growing thoughtful learners and independent thinkers

Forest School

Forest School at Summerlea

This is what Year 5 have been saying about Forest School:
" I really loved Forest School, I could do it everyday"
" The best thing about Forest School was whittling."
" I liked being able to choose what to do."
" Something I learned at Forest School was to have the courage to do things I have never done before."

A parent / carer guide

What is Forest School?

Forest School is a place where all children will be given the opportunity to experience and enjoy learning in an outside ‘classroom’ enhanced by the natural elements of the changing seasons, weather and a natural woodland environment. The Forest School approach is a holistic one underpinned by specialised learning theories. It offers ALL learners the opportunity to develop their self-esteem, emotional resilience, confidence and ability to assess and manage risks as well as teaching them a range of new skills and developing a respect for nature.

What happens on a Forest School day?

The children will arrive  in school wearing their Forest School clothes.  They will register with their teacher and participate in  an outside session during the morning.  Each session begins around the fire circle, where we talk through the safety rules for working outdoors and about respecting each other. For every session we have a lesson plan which includes group activities linked to the term’s topic.

The children move around a variety of activities throughout the morning.  Finally, they return to the fire circle for the close of the session.

After the session, the children can change back into their school uniform.

Activities may include:

· Problem solving

· Trust games

· Whittling

· Learning to use tools such as saws and drills

· Fire lighting and fire safety

· Art work

· Music Storytelling and writing

· Shelter building

· Tracking skills and sensory exploration

· Learning about plants and animals …

· … And more!

What if it is cold or raining?

Forest School goes ahead in most weather—there is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing! Please see the clothing list on the following page.

Forest School would only be cancelled in adverse weather conditions, (thunder, lightening or high winds) or due to staff absence.

What does my child need to wear?

  • Outdoor/play clothing – they will get muddy – we encourage it!!

  • Warm clothing (lots of layers, including extra pairs or thick socks)

  • Hat, scarf, gloves (we go out in all weather)

  • A waterproof coat  / waterproof trousers (we sit on damp logs and the ground)

  • Wellies are ideal if not, outdoor shoes or old trainers

  • Long trousers



If the weather is hot:

  • Sun cream protection

  • Sun hat (preferably one that offers protection to the back of their neck)

  • Sensible sturdy close toed shoes.

  • Covered legs (no shorts)

  • Spare socks

  • Wellington boots

  • Waterproof clothing Jacket

If you are unable to provide all the correct clothing for Forest School, please speak to your child’s class teacher.  We do have some spare items that can be loaned to children. We will make sure all children are wearing the correct clothing before we go outside.   Children will not be permitted to go outside if their clothes are not suitable for the conditions.

What are the benefits of Forest School?

Forest School covers all aspects of children’s learning.

  • Social development - problem solving, communicating, sharing and team building

  • Physical - fine and gross motor skills, movement

  • Speaking and listening skills - talking together 

  • Healthy lifestyle - being outdoors and active

  • Understanding the world - becoming aware of the world around us, and taking care of their environment

  • Respect – children taking ownership of their own area

I like adventures and I am going to find some
- Louisa May Alcott


Which adults will be working with my child?

Mrs. Karla Strong is a Level 3 Forest School Practitioner and will be working alongside Mr. Chris Strong (Premises Manager) and some of our volunteers.

To reflect the Forest School ethos of us working equally, the children will be using  the adults first names.  This will only be during Forest School sessions; during all other times the adults will be referred to by their surnames.

If you are interested in  volunteering to help at Forest School, please speak to  Mrs. Strong.


We all had a playroom when we were growing up; it was called OUTSIDE!
- Anon
Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.
- John Lubbock
Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better.
- Albert Einstein

If you have any further questions, or concerns, however small, please speak to Mrs. Strong.

Let the adventure begin ...