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Forest School

What is Forest School?

Forest School is based on the Scandinavian model of Pre-School outdoor education. The Forest School ethos was brought to the UK in the 1990’s after Bridgewater College visited nursery schools in Denmark. They started an outdoor nursery setting at the College which has now become the model for Forest School.

The Forest School Association is the professional body and UK voice for Forest School. Promoting best practice, cohesion and “Quality Forest School for all”.

The Forest School Association has developed six principles for Forest School sessions.


Principle 1: Forest School is a long-term process of frequent and regular sessions in a woodland or natural environment, rather than a one-off visit. Planning, adaptation, observations and reviewing are integral elements of Forest School.


Principle 2: Forest School takes place in a woodland or natural wooded environment to support the development of a relationship between the learner and the natural world.


Principle 3: Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners.


Principle 4: Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.


Principle 5: Forest School is run by qualified Forest School practitioners who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice.


Principle 6: Forest School uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for development and learning

East Wichel Forest School

Our Forest School sessions are planned and run by a qualified Forest School Leader, Mrs Webb.

When using tools and fire during sessions, there will be a child to adult ratio of 8:1 for key stage 2 and 5:1 for key stage 1 and EYFS. A minimum of 2 adults should be present for each group regardless of group size.

We may use adult/parent volunteer helpers. Helpers must have a DBS certificate. Do you like working outdoors? Have skills to share? If you would like to volunteer helping at our sessions or know someone who would, please enquire with the school office. 


Mrs Webb plans, observes and evaluates every session. Using the observations and conversations with the learners and helpers, Mrs Webb will plan the next session based on each of the learner’s individual needs. Creating a learner-centred environment for holistic development and learning.

Forest School offers creativity, using the natural resources available, such as, sticks, stones, leaves, mud, clay and water. Man -made materials will also be included in art and craft projects. 

Playing nature themed games together to build cooperation, trust and a connection to the natural world around them.


Supported risky activities such as den building, tool work and fire craft, help build confidence and self-esteem. 

At the heart of every session is the ability to play, connect and discover in an outdoor environment. Play is freely chosen, personally directed and intrinsically motivated. No one will be made to do any of the activities if they choose not to.


Forest School provides a wide range of activities during each session and runs over many weeks giving lots of opportunities for the learners to choose any of the different options available to them.

Being outdoors in any weather helps build resilience. The session will only stop if the wind speed becomes dangerous, there is a thunderstorm or the children’s welfare is at risk.