Exceptional Education at the Heart of the Community

What is Forest School?

Forest School is a long term holistic learning process which is based on a Scandinavian idea. It involves children and young people (3 – 18) working with a qualified Forest School Leader and their key persons/teachers/volunteer helpers on a frequent and regular basis throughout the year in a local woodland setting.

The Curriculum

Children follow their usual curriculum, but in an outdoor context, using learning and teaching strategies which raise self-esteem, develop confidence, independence and language and communication skills. When using the outdoor environment, children are encouraged to make choices and decisions, follow their own learning through a variety of learning styles. The child led and adaptable nature of Forest School, where children use multiple senses, makes Forest School ideally placed to offer children with differing learning styles an equal chance to access the curriculum, and can be particularly suited to children with a range of specific needs.

How does Forest School support and meet the EYFS areas of learning?

Personal, Social and Emotional Development.

  1. Activities engage children’s interests and children will concentrate and persist for extended periods of time.
  2. Children gain confidence by trying new activities and gaining new skills, including ‘high risk’ activities such as using real tools and cooking on a fire.
  3. Opportunities for teamwork and development of social skills through working together to create an item/solve a problem.
  4. Develops and understanding of risks and the rules and boundaries in place for safety.
  5. Learning to dress/undress into wet weather gear.
  6. Develops understanding of personal hygiene.
  7. Children are encouraged to select and use resources independently.

Physical Development.

  1. Develops gross motor skills – running, climbing, lifting, rolling, using ropes/levers/pulleys etc.
  2. Develops fine motor skills – threading, tool use, craft activities, knot tying etc.
  3. Develops an awareness of personal space, such as the transporting of sticks.
  4. Supports managing hygiene, such as hand washing, toileting etc.
  5. Uses a variety of real equipment and tools for a real purpose.
  6. Develops understanding of safety.

Understanding the World.

  1. Encourages exploration using all senses.
  2. Encourages questioning and investigation.
  3. Opportunities to find out and identify features of living things.
  4. Encourages observations of similarities, differences, patterns and change.
  5. Opportunities for construction using real tools and equipment.
  6. Potential for use of ICT such as digital cameras, dictaphone, video cameras etc.
  7. Develops understanding of seasons and weather.
  8. Encourages children to plan activities through repetitive nature of sessions.
  9. Encourages observation, discussion and questioning about natural environment.

Communication and Language/Literacy.

  1. Develops conversational skills in a practical context.
  2. Develops talk about interests/activities.
  3. Encourages social talk such as negotiation and planning.
  4. Develops specific vocabulary to the natural world e.g. names of animals and tools etc.
  5. Learn new songs and stories.
  6. Potential for role-play, story-telling, re-telling of known stories.
  7. Use of language to think through problems and activities.
  8. Using books to research mini-beasts and trees etc.
  9. Potential for mark making and writing using sticks, mud, berries etc.  


  1. Opportunities for counting and calculating various materials/resources and in games.
  2. Opportunities for problem solving, such as measuring items e.g. sticks and firewood collection.
  3. Encourages descriptive and positional language.
  4. Variety of activities could be introduced to link to number and shape, space and measures.

Expressive Arts and Design.

  1. Children are free to create using different mediums and tools.
  2. Opportunities to explore colours and textures in nature.
  3. Opportunities to learn new songs, rhymes and chants.
  4. Opportunities to make musical instruments such as whistles, kazoos, shakers, xylophones.
  5. Potential for imaginative role-play.
  6. Variety of activities could be introduced to link to EAD.