From the start of this school year Kindergarten children will be taking part in a weekly Forest School session. Over the course of this year, St John’s school is working towards being an accredited Essex Wildlife Trust Forest School. We will be following the Essex Wildlife Trust Forest School programme and they will be monitoring and on occasion observing the sessions.

What is Forest School?

Forest School is where children can explore, play and problem solve within a nature based setting.  The aims of Forest School are to encourage learning using a range of activities (both designed by the leader and instigated by the children themselves).  Building a sense of independence, high self-esteem and team work are important parts of forest school, but health and safety considerations are always of paramount importance.

What will happen in Forest School sessions?

We will be using a wooded area within the school grounds for our weekly sessions.  There is a mixture of oak, hawthorn and sycamore trees found on this site alongside bushes of elder and willow.  The children are encouraged to investigate and explore but also to respect all living things.  Throughout the year your child will be given the opportunity to learn supervised new skills in a natural environment. These skills will include:

– Den building

– Recognition and understanding of woodland flora and fauna

– Natural craft activities

– Supervised use of tools

– Tree climbing

– Supervised lighting of a fire and cooking food (e.g. toasting crumpets/marshmallows)

Safety is of paramount importance but we will be in a natural environment where there are insects, nettles, brambles and uneven ground. Boundaries will be set of where children can go and what they should and should not touch but inevitably we do expect some stings and scrapes.

Clothing

Forest School will take place in all but extreme weather conditions and it is imperative that the children come into school on their designated Forest School day with the appropriate clothing.

Guidance for clothing:

  1. Arms and legs must be covered at all time – your child must be wearing long sleeved tops and trousers.
  2. Old clothes that you do not mind getting dirty or ruined.
  3. Warm base layers i.e. vest, long sleeved tee shirt, jumper, jogging bottoms. Many layers of all clothing is better than one thick item of clothing.
  4. Coat, fleece and or waterproof coat.
  5. Thick socks or two pairs of medium thickness.
  6. Wellies (soles can be thin so please think about warm socks) or sturdy walking boots which keep their feet dry.

Additional items that would be useful are: waterproof trousers, hat and gloves (as it turns colder) and a head over neck warmer would be better than a scarf (which may get caught in trees or equipment).

For health and safety reasons children who do not have the appropriate clothing will not be able to take part in our Forest School on that day.

We are really looking forward to working with the Essex Wildlife Trust and establishing the Forest School provision at St John’s School.  We will keep this page updated with photographs and the latest news of what we have been doing.  Keep watching!