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Forest School and Nature Garden

Forest School offers children the opportunity to develop an inquisitive and positive relationship with the natural world as well as instilling a love of the great outdoors. We use our woodland setting to bring learning to life with real tools and natural resources which will create an understanding of the balance of nature and the finite resources within it.

We are extremely fortunate to have our own beautiful copse at the Abinger Site where weekly Forest School sessions are run all year round by Mrs Phillips, our qualified Forest School Leader.  We recognise the value of these sessions and now offer these sessions to all children in Key Stage 1 as part of the curriculum. 

Children engage in motivating and achievable tasks and activities, at different times of the year and in almost all weathers! They work with tools, play, learn boundaries of behaviour; both physical and social, grow in confidence, self-esteem and motivation whilst developing an understanding of the natural world. Working through practical problems and challenges helps children build confidence in decision making and evaluating risk whether this be designing a den, lighting a fire or making blackberry jam! Forest School is all about developing the children’s characteristics of effective learning which are so vital for future success.

In Key Stage 2, at the Westcott site, the children benefit from a Nature Garden and pond area where they experience their outdoor learning.

Our beautiful on site woodland has a range of native trees, shrubs and plants providing habitats for a wealth of creatures. There is even a tipi for the children!

What are the Characteristics of Effective Learning?

The ‘Characteristics of Effective Learning’ are ways in which the child engages with other people and their environment. These underpin all areas of a child’s learning and development.

Playing and Exploring (Engagement) Active Learning (Motivation) Creating and Thinking Critically (Thinking)

Finding out and exploring 

Showing curiosity about objects, events and people

Using sense to explore the world around them

Engaging in open-ended activity

Showing particular interests

Playing with what they know

Pretending objects are things from their experience 

Representing their experiences in play

Taking on a role in their play

Acting out experiences with other people

Being willing to 'have a go'

Initiating activities 

Seeking challenge

Showing a 'can do' attitude 

Taking a risk, engaging in new experiences and learning by trial and error

Being involved and concentrating

Maintaining focus on their activity for a period of time

Showing high levels of energy, fascination 

Not easily distracted

Paying attention to details

Keeping on trying

Persisting with activity when challenges occur

Showing a belief more effort of a different approach will pay off

Bouncing back after difficulties

Enjoying achieving what they set out to do

Showing satisfaction in meeting their own goals

Being proud of how they accomplished something - not jst the end result

Enjoying meeting challenges for their own sake rather than external rewards or praise

Having their own ideas

Thinking of ideas

Finding ways to solve problems

Finding new ways to do things

Making Links

Making links and noticing patterns in their experience

Making predictions

Testing their ideas

Developing ideas of grouping, sequences, cause and effect

Choosing ways to do things

Planning, making decisions and how to approach a task, solve a problem and reach a goal

Checking how well their activities are going

Changing strategy as needed 

Reviewing how well the approach worked