Early Years – Forest School

Forest School at Thorndown Primary School


Karina Cowan and Eleanor Martin are the trained Forest School leaders at Thorndown


Our Forest School sessions aim to provide children with the opportunity to enjoy, explore and learn in a safe, natural environment. We intend to offer experiences which will enable them to develop and build on a variety of different skills and in turn promote their wellbeing.

What is Forest School?

Forest School is an approach that believes in a child’s right to play and explore outside. The sessions encourage a child’s curiosity, allowing them to take and manage risks, build their resilience and think creatively.

Some of the ‘hooks’ and adult initiated activities include den building, creating art using natural resources and making magic wands with sticks and leaves. These are planned using the children’s interests, reflect on topics in the classroom and also depend on seasons and the weather.

Forest School is a child centred approach and the majority of the time the children are left to follow their own ideas. These could include climbing trees, collecting sticks to make their own camp fires, rolling down the hill or searching for bugs and bears hiding in the trees!


What are the benefits of Forest School?

Forest School has an impact on a child’s development holistically, making a difference to their;

§  Social skills; when working with their friends to build a den

§  Communication; talking about what they can see and hear in the environment

§  Confidence; feeling a sense of achievement when they have completed a task

§  Physical skills; climbing trees and navigating around the area through the trees

§  Motivation; following their own ideas and interests

§  Knowledge and understanding; learning about wildlife and how to care for it


Where is Forest School?

Our Forest School site is situated at the back of the school car park. It has been left to become a natural environment. We also occasionally use other parts of the school grounds including the Preschool wooded area to hold a camp fire!


Who has access?

Children in Pre-School and Reception classes have the opportunity to use the Forest School area on a weekly basis come rain, snow or shine (with the exception of high winds and thunderstorms). One of the key principles to the approach requires children to have regular access rather than one off sessions. Other classes in the school have access to the area and use it to enhance curriculum subjects.


Please click HERE to view the Forest School booklet for parents/ carers