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Headteacher : James Pynn
Age Range : 3 to 11
Number of Pupils : 33

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Forest Schools - Joan's Wood, West Ness

Friday 4th March & Friday 18th March - Years 1 & 2

click here to view Year 1 and 2 photographs


Friday 29th January & 5th February - Years 3 & 4

We went to West Ness to Joan’s Wood.  When we got there the first thing we did was found a good base camp.  This was so we all knew where to return to if needed.  We had calls that we all agreed on.  So we knew when to return to base.
Then we made dens to protect us from wind and rain.  We made them out of plastic sheets, string, tent pegs and we also used natural things that were in the woods.  Like sticks and small branches.  We had to make sure that everyone could fit in and it was waterproof.  It was a tight squeeze but we managed to get everyone in.  The teachers poured water over our dens to see if we got wet.  Luckily we didn’t!
We also make fairy houses out of sticks, moss and leaves. We make these to protect the fairies from a terrible creature that had been destroying their homes.  The fairies were really grateful as they left us thank you notes.  

On another visit we made tree faces.  We drew faces on tree trunks, with mud and leaves. We did this with our bare hands. Everyones looked amazing.

We really enjoyed investigating the woods.  We found a skull and a really great tree that was hollow.  We hid inside it.  At the end of each session we had hot chocolate and biscuits, which Mrs Carter and Mrs Lealman made by boiling water in the Kelly kettles. It was Lovely!
By Fiona, Charlotte and Kieran

click here to view Year 3 and 4 photographs 


Friday 22nd January 2016 - Years 5 & 6 

Year 5 and Year 6 have all thoroughly enjoyed their three Forest School sessions in Joan's Wood.  They have developed a number of practical skills such as shelter building, whittling fire wood and using natural resources.  As well as the practical aspects of the sessions, the children have developed a great deal of other skills such as teamwork, co-operation, consideration and resilience.  The fairy villages stood up to the weather and there was even evidence that they had been lived in! Some of the children had noticed that a lot of the trees had eyes on their bark so one session was used to develop this fascination by making them into faces/people/animals using natural resources (mainly mud!). The stories that the children made up about their creations were brilliant too.   A special thanks must go to Henry for baking buns and Ellie for making chocolate biscuit slices which were both lovely, thoughtful gestures. 

click here to view Year 5 and 6 photographs


Friday 8th January 2016 - Years 5 & 6

All the pupils thoroughly enjoyed the activities that took place last Friday. The staff were extremely pleased and impressed with the children's enthusiasm and the way they engaged with each other and the activities.  

"We travelled to Joan’s Wood on 8th January.  When we arrived, as a group, we decided on some calls in case we were hurt or if we needed to go back to base etc.  To find a perfect base we had to think about the soil, the trees around and how safe it would be.  A few of us found a perfect place to set up base and we all agreed.  Sitting down at base, the teachers used a Kelly Kettle to heat water for a drink.  We had brought lots of outdoor equipment which helped us greatly to build our shelters near the base.  When we were ready, Mr Gee told us to get into groups and go and build a fairy village as all the fairy villages would have been washed away because of the floods.  We all had different and creative ideas; the villages looked great in the end.  We ended the session sipping on our hot chocolate and enjoying biscuits.  What a wonderful afternoon we had."


What is Forest Schools?

Forest Schools has developed from the Scandinavian education system and is about children and young people building self esteem and independence through exploring and experiencing the natural world. Forest Schools is a long term programme delivered by trained practitioners within a natural environment.  Each Forest School programme is tailored to meet the needs of individuals within that group and is continuously developed as the children/young people grow in confidence, skills and understanding.

The ethos of Forest Schools allows learners the time and space to develop skills, interests and understanding through practical, hands on experiences.  It also allows practitioners to step back and observe the children/young people in order to then encourage and inspire individuals to achieve through careful scaffolding and facilitating.


We are delighted to be able to offer Forest Schools as part of our curriculum activities from January 2016.  The children will take part in one session per week, grouped as follows:

Yr 5/6- Friday 8th, Friday 15th and Friday 22nd January

Yr 3/4- Friday 29th January and Friday 5th February

 Yr 1/2- Friday 4th and Friday 18th March


Where will my child will be going?

We will be using a wood owned and managed by The Woodland Trust called Joan’s Wood at West Ness.  The site is safe with clearly marked boundaries and secure gates to enter and exit.  It is thoroughly risk assessed and managed appropriately by school staff in conjunction with The Woodland Trust.


What will my child be doing?

Your child will be experiencing a wide variety of multi-sensory experiences within the natural environment.  The sessions will run in all weather conditions (unless weather conditions are dangerous).

The child led ethos of Forest Schools means that once at the site the children can choose what to participate in, carefully supported and encouraged by trained adults.  Possible activities may include: 

  • Hunting for minibeasts
  • Natural crafts – making necklaces from elder, crowns or dream catchers from willow, collages from natural materials, weaving with long grasses, making tree cookies.
  • Mud Painting and sculptures
  • Digging
  • Shelter building and knot tying
  • Using tools for a purpose – such as peeling bark from sticks with potato peelers to make toasting forks.
  • Fire building and cooking on a camp fire

Sessions are planned around the individual’s and group’s needs, and built upon each week. The earlier sessions will concentrate on safety, establishing boundaries and routines.  As the children develop in confidence and familiarity with the environment the sessions focus on the development and consolidation of skills and understanding.


What benefits will my child get from participating in Forest Schools?

Forest Schools supports the holistic development of the child: 

  • Health and fitness – Being active in an outdoor, natural environment.
  • Increased emotional wellbeing – There is research available supporting this.
  • Social development – Communicating, and negotiating with peers and adults to solve problems and share experiences.
  • Skills development – Developing fine and gross motor skills and coordination for real purposes.
  • Gaining knowledge and understanding – Multi–sensory, real-life learning.
  • Individualised learning – Careful observation allows adults to tailor support to children’s own interests and stage of development.
  • Curriculum Links – Forest Schools supports all areas of the National Curriculum and Early Years Foundation Stage.


Health and Safety

The health and safety of all participants is central to everything done within a Forest Schools programme.  Some of the activities the children may participate in are ‘higher-risk activities’ (such as campfire cooking or tool use). However, these activities are not available to the children until certain behaviours and boundaries are established.  Children are encouraged and supported in recognising and managing risk for themselves, through real life situations and experiences.


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