- 6th Form
- Prospective Parents
- Life at Reach
- Wraparound Care
The concept of Forest School is rooted in the idea that children’s development may be best fostered through experiences with the natural world. Nature affords children authentic opportunities to make meaning of the world around them, to build self-confidence as they assess and manage risks, and to work cooperatively to problem solve. Last summer, the school was able to acquire a plot of green space adjacent to the Nursery. Much of this land now functions as our school farm; we have left the remaining space undeveloped to serve as our Forest School, and the children have made much of this vast change to the Nursery’s physical landscape on their weekly outings there over the course of this year.
“This is the best day ever of my whole life.”
At first, Nursery children spent their sessions exploring freedom of movement in the new space: running and chasing, with some children beginning to hang from branches and attempting to climb the trees. Children soon began experimenting with contrasting stillness in the Forest School space, as well: hiding quietly in the undergrowth, resting underneath tents and shelters, creating shared stories together about the mysterious creatures – both real and imagined – that might live in the forest.
As the children grew more confident, so, too, did the audaciousness of their Forest School initiatives. While in the Autumn term, many children felt anxious about even having muddy hands, by the Spring and Summer terms, they were creating ‘mud angels’ and hunting industriously for snails, wood lice and other mini-beasts. Lola and Nelab even proffered handfuls of the session’s carefully dug earthworms to David Cameron on his visit to the school. (He politely declined). As the year went on, the children discovered new ways to achieve their daring aspirations. They tackled each new challenge – sawing and drilling; cooking over an open fire; stacking tyres and reels to more easily climb higher into the trees; working together to disentangle and transport large branches across the space – eagerly but also sensibly, as truly capable adventurers and learners.
“…We are proud of the way they have grown
Independence, confidence and thoughtfulness they have shown
From picking up wiggly worms to…using quiet walking feet
For them, there is no task too difficult or too dangerous a feat.”
– Excerpted from a poem written by Nursery parents
Jyoti, Rasika and Nehali