Forest School

What’s it about?

Children enjoy free-play activities in a wild woodland environment with support from the Forest School Leader to be able to take small, incremental steps concerned with taking risks in physical and social play situations. Experiencing success is the goal, with the purpose of building confidence and self-esteem of all who attend Forest School sessions. All activities are risk-assessed and the sessions managed by a qualified Level 3 Forest School Leader whose role is to encourage development of the children’s physical, emotional and social skills.
Check out Nature Ninja awards, available as part of our Forest School sessions from Autumn 2017

Booking now for Forest School sessions

Parental feedback

My boys loved making new friends in an environment where they felt safe and valued.
Both grew in confidence; the experience allowing them to to communicate with new people and express their opinions knowing they would be heard.

Naomi Cebula – 2015

Parental feedback

I just love the Outdoor Tribe ethos. Looking forward to my little girl doing the 6 weeks course and watching her grow in confidence

Florence Skillings – 2016

What goes on?

Children are encouraged to get involved in projects using  natural materials with construction and environmental themes. There’s opportunities for group involvement and individual time to explore the natural world according to interests shown.
Each child’s experience is evaluated by the Forest School Leader, with the purpose of ensuring the next session will build on their successes. Forest School is all about individualised, rather than group-led learning experiences.
For socially anxious children Nature Ninja awards provide useful starting points.

Booking now for Forest School sessions

Parental feedback

Both of my boys loved being out in the woods enjoying the freedom of doing activities that interested them.

They both can’t wait to hear about the next block of Forest School sessions you’ll be running.

Cara Kemsley – 2015

Parental feedback

Many thanks for the Forest School session, I thought it was amazing. If only they had this type of thing when I was a Kid

Becki Scott – 2016

Express an interest for Forest School sessions

Suitable for children aged 3 – 12

two girls creating a pixie house from twigs
five boys kneeling around tree stump
group of adults and children seated on a bench in woodland
two girls peering into grass with magnifying glass

What’s Forest School?

Forest School is… “an inspirational process that offers children… opportunities to achieve, develop confidence and self esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland environment.”

Forest School (England) Network

Forest School is about the ‘whole’ child. Activities are designed to develop physical, emotional and social skills. Each session is evaluated, in respect of each child, to ensure that what’s done next session furthers the progress of individuals. Forest School is about facilitating individualised learning, rather than about group-led learning experiences. Forest School delivery is flexible, in response to the needs of the particular children involved, which is what helps each and every child not just benefit from the experience, but shine! Open the tabs below to read more…

Is it like school but outside?

Yes and No! Forest School is not about listening to a teacher telling you what you must do, but there are still some rules to be followed to keep everyone safe. Forest School happens outside and involves a lot of play-based activities with ‘risk’ levels managed according to individual needs. The Forest School leader is qualified to run a Forest School and has up to date First Aid and food hygiene certificates.

What happens at Forest School?

Everyone learns skills to help them stay safe, individually and as part of a group, so all can experience a relaxed and fun time, enjoying the delights of playing in a wild outdoors space. Activities are introduced to the group and individuals on a ‘readiness’* basis and can include:

  • Exploration games
  • Working with saws
  • Using woodland management tools
  • Learning about the plants and animals that live in a woodland
  • Making things with wood, from the wood!
  • Den building
  • Experiences to encourage imagination and creativity
  • Story-telling
  • Camp-fire building
  • Cooking over an open fire

* Readiness – this means that the Forest School leader will assess individuals as to whether they possess understanding, relating to the risk involved in a particular activity, through demonstrating behaviour for staying safe, in relation to themselves and others. Accidents can happen, but we try to minimise the risk to individuals through risk-management of activities and situations and building risk-awareness. Risk-management is a skill individuals learn at Forest School, with the aim of influencing their approach and appraisal of other risky situations in the wider world.

What are the benefits of Forest School?

Considerable research shows that Forest School helps children

  • Gain self-confidence
  • Encourage independance
  • Improve social skills
  • Increase attention span
  • Develop problem solving skills
  • Encourage creative thinking

“A marvellous opportunity to learn” Forestry Commission report – Liz O’Brien and Richard Murray

How long is each Forest School session?

Session length can vary from a couple of hours to half a day, or even a whole day at a time. For children aged from 4 to 10 a two hour session, run on the same day over several weeks, has been found to deliver most benefit. Forest School research shows that a minimum of 6 weekly sessions is required to fully appreciate the benefits to an individual from attending. We appreciate other family happenings can make commitment to a block of 6 weekly sessions challenging. So, this Autumn we’re providing a new model that will suit beginners and those who’ve attended Forest School last year and want to return.

Do parents attend Forest School with their children?

If your child is under 5 we would require a parent or relative to accompany them. If your child is over 5 we want the children to participate and learn at Forest School without parental influence. So, we direct parents to visit the Skylark cafe at Brigstock Country park, which is only a mile away, for the duration of the Forest School session. The Skylark cafe serves light snacks, delicious home-made cakes and has become the place where several friendships have been forged between parents of children who attend our Forest School. (It’s also warm and dry, which isn’t always the case at Forest School).

How much does it cost

The cost is £15/session for each child. Included in the price is a drink and snack provided for everyone attending the session. Please read our Terms and Conditions for further information on booking procedure and cancellation policy

Who runs the Forest School sessions?

woman with a small dog standing in bluebells in a woodSusan Collini is a qualified Forest School Level 3 Leader with up to date Paediatric First Aid and Level 2 food hygiene certificates. Susan worked for many years as a teacher, working within mainstream and special needs educational provisions.

Susan now works with organisations delivering training in effective communication and is also on a mission is to encourage children to connect more with nature and less with WiFi..!

Susan is also a Level 3 practitioner in Social Forestry, a qualification for working with adults and children to promote wellbeing through being involved in woodland management and craft activities.

Forest School qualification details for Susan Collini

Parental feedback

My son was always excited about Forest School, saying ‘it’s my perfect favourite thing’. He is extrememly quiet and doesn’t give much away but is obviously enjoying himself.

Ruth MacAuley – 2015

Parental Feedback

“The boys particularly enjoyed the den building and making the fire. My eldest son benefited from the sessions as he was able to explore his passion for wildlife. My youngest definitely gained confidence during the 6 weeks and it certainly helped develop his communication and social skills”

Naomi Cebula (2014)

Parental feedback

“Forest school has been a wonderful experience for my daughter, she has taken so much from her sessions – making new friends, observing the seasons, fun activities, being mindful and respectful of nature, listening and following instructions, being free in a safe place – I cant say enough about the benefits of the project” Katie Paton (2014)

Parental feedback

“Both boys really enjoyed Forest School and looked forward to it each week.

“As the six-week block of sessions progressed, both boys developed confidence and their communication skills improved at home, as too their independence”

Cara Kemsley (2014)

two children with nature picture they've created
two girls standing in woodland
girl with twig house
boy working on twig loom
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