What is Forest School?

‘A Forest School is an innovative educational approach to outdoor play and learning.’

The philosophy of Forest Schools is to encourage and inspire individuals of any age through positive outdoor experiences. By participating in engaging, motivating and achievable tasks and activities in a woodland environment each participant has an opportunity to develop intrinsic motivation, sound emotional and social skills. These, through self-awareness can be developed to reach personal potential.

Forest Schools has demonstrated success with children of all ages who visit the same local woodlands on a regular basis and through play, who have the opportunity to learn about the natural environment, how to handle risks and most importantly to use their own initiative to solve problems and co-operate with others. Forest School programmes run throughout the year, for about 36 weeks, going to the woods in all weathers (except for high winds). Children use full sized tools, play, learn boundaries of behaviour; both physical and social, establish and grow in confidence, self-esteem and become self motivated.

(Forest School Education FSE)

Ethos of Elm Tree Forest School

Forest school provides all children at Elm Tree with a unique opportunity to learn through hands on practical activities in a woodland environment.  Forest school provides our children with the opportunity to spend time outdoors in the natural environment working collaborative with their peers, thus inspiring them to work with and care for the environment.  Children learn key skills for life and access opportunities that are not readily available outside our Forest School.

What does forest school look like at Elm Tree School?

Forest school provides an opportunity for all children at Elm Tree School to develop key skills for life through learning outside the classroom.  Through our Forest School children develop their social skills, communication skills, empathy for others and are encouraged to become more independent learners.  Inline with our behaviour change policy children become more self-aware and learn to regulate their own behaviour through a positive interaction with nature and their peers.  Forest school experiences also have a significant influence on children’s self esteem and self-image.  All children gain an understanding about the natural environment we live in and are encouraged to use the resources provided by nature in a sustainable and eco friendly way whilst at all times considering what impact their behaviour/activities are having on the natural environment.  

Children will have the opportunity to take part in the following activities:

Building dens/shelters

Building/lighting Fires

Tree climbing

Exploring different woodland areas

Using tools to cut and shape wood

Practical and creative skills and tasks using woodland materials

Rope & String work

Cooking on open fire

Using camping stoves/Kelly Kettle

Tree identification

Wildflower identification

Sensory Activities

Mini beast/wildlife Hunts

Mud slides


Outdoors games

Teambuilding games/tasks