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Forest School

What is Forest School

The idea of Forest Schools came from Scandinavia, where outdoor living is part of everyday life. The Scandinavian people believe that nature and movement are the key factors in development, and the children there spend at least one day a week outside, in all weathers. They are engaged in learning activities, harnessing the skills that involve respecting the environment whilst looking after themselves and others around them.

The Forest School initiative was born in the UK after a visit & study to Denmark in the 1990’s, by the Nursery Nursing Department at Bridgwater College, and is becoming an increasingly popular way of learning in an outdoor classroom.

At Bookwell School, we are very fortunate to have a safe and accessible forest area within our own grounds and this will be used as our base for learning. An important part of Forest Schools is that children experience the outdoor environment in all weathers – with the exception of very high winds or thunder storms. Activities are very much child initiated & led, and using the main curriculum, activities will be tailored to the age and ability. With traditional boundaries removed, the children are encouraged to set their own boundaries and be responsible for each other and their surroundings.

Forest School Ethos:

Forest School is an inspirational process, that offers ALL learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees.


Forest School Aims:

  • Promote self-worth, esteem & independence
  • Instil a sense of pride and an ‘I can’ attitude
  • Encourage team work
  • Develop vital communication & social skills
  • Create a positive experience

At Bookwell we have adopted the Forest School Principles:

  • 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.


In order to keep the forest school site thriving ecologically we have devised a school calendar so each class visits the woodland area annually for a Forest School session based over half a term.  These sessions are planned at different points during the school year so they can observe and experience the seasonal changes whilst reducing the ecological impact on the on the woodland site


  • 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.


The children at Bookwell are responsible for their forest and have helped develop our Forest classroom by planting, maintaining and creating things.  Activities that are planned also help children connect with the woodland physically, emotionally and mentally therefore fostering a huge respect.


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


  • Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.




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


We are fortunate at Bookwell to be introduced to Forest Schools by Sarah Lenahan and then train two of our staff Mrs Fawcett and Mrs Scaplehorn to level 3.


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


Different children will get different things from the Forest School sessions, what is very clear though, is that there is no doubt that all children do benefit from taking part.




The information provided here is by no means exhaustive, and further information will be sent home or posted here in due course. In the meantime, however, please do not hesitate in contacting school should you have any questions, and if we don’t know the answer immediately, we will find out!