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Forest School

Developing self-esteem through hands-on learning in a natural environment.


Our Forest School offers children regular opportunities to develop their self-esteem through hands-on learning in a natural environment.

Forest School sessions provide time for play, exploration and focussed activities. They also provide practical ways for children to further understand the natural world.


Children learn skills such as the use of tools for designing and making; shelter-building and fire-lighting and cooking.

Two girls standing in a woodland school holding sticks

Forest School within the curriculum

Forest School learning contributes to a broad and balanced curriculum. It enhances the National Curriculum for each subject.


  • We read stories around the fire.

  • Books such as Follow the Swallow lead to discussions around bird migration, nest building sessions and collecting 'worms'. The story Stick Man leads to children making their own 'stick people'.



  • We use counting (varied and counting up and down) in Forest School games such as Hide and Seek.

  • We compare lengths of sticks to children’s heights.

  • Sticks for the fire are ordered, just as we order items in Maths lessons.

  • Children create 2-D shapes with sticks

  • We use directional language and movement (e.g. clockwise/anti-clockwise) when working with tools, especially palm drills.



  • Pupils observe and identify evergreen and deciduous trees and how they look/change in different seasons.

  • Pupils learn to identify bluebells and primroses and are aware of the variety of fungi which grow on the site.

  • Pupils are taught to identify nettles and brambles to avoid being stung/scratched.

  • Pupils observe a variety of birds, including robins and pigeons, squirrels and pond creatures such as newts, pond skaters and water boatmen. They also observe a variety of insects and mini beasts.

  • We hold natural scavenger hunts in the Forest.

  • We hold ongoing discussions about materials, especially when building shelters.

  • In Key Stage 2 we looking at self-seeded trees; compare green and dry woods; observe sap bubbling when 'green' sticks are put on the fire.

  • We hold discussions on role of parts of trees.

  • Pupils are introduced to the idea that plants make their own food.

  • We look at different methods of seed dispersal.

Art and Design

  • Forest art includes mud hand prints and mud sculptures; creating 'stick people'; wood disc names and decorations; creating pictures made with natural materials; whittled and decorated sticks; using clay to make tree faces and making and using charcoal.

  • Pupils in Key Stage 2 make whittled knives and sticks; natural leaf print pictures using hammers; carry out natural weaving; make dream catchers and natural jewellery.

  • In Forest School we use a number of tools to create design work, such as palm drills, bow saws, peelers, and flint and steels.

  • Pupils create items of their choosing as well as adult-initiated objects.

  • Technical knowledge is applied when building shelters and in our tallest free-standing tower challenge.


Design and Technology (Cooking and Nutrition)

  • We use a of range of cooking techniques in Forest School to cook marshmallows, popcorn, waffles, soup, damper bread, pitta pizzas, sausages, pancakes, toffee apples and toast.

  • We make use of ingredients that grows in the area to make sticky-weed juice and dandelion jam.

  • Pupils learn about the poisonous plants growing in the area and therefore those that are not suitable for eating.

As part of the Hurst Education Trust, Albourne pupils have also been able to take part in Forest School workshops at Hurst College.

Girl in woodland being taught to saw wood

"Forest School is a child-centred inspirational learning process, that offers opportunities for holistic growth through regular sessions."


Downloads and links

Download our documents for further information about our curriculum.

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