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Forest School

Abel Smith Forest School

“Encouraging future generations to connect with the natural world around them.

Fostering a curiosity, care and sense of adventure to ignite a passion for learning.”


What is Forest School?


“Forest School is a child-centred inspirational learning process that offers opportunities for holistic growth through regular sessions. It is a long-term program that supports play, exploration and supported risk taking. It develops confidence and self-esteem through learner inspired, hands-on experiences in a natural setting.” Forest School Association 


The idea of Forest School arrived in the UK from Scandinavia in 1993. Since this time, it has been developed by many practitioners with various learning styles and skills to support new and imaginative learners. It is an opportunity to explore, discover and experience risks and challenges with the environment, people around them and themselves!


The Forest School ethos has 6 principles, agreed by the Forest School community in 2011, and which should be evident in any Forest School exhibiting good and effective practice. These are taken directly from the Forest School Association Website;


1. Forest School is a long term process with frequent and regular sessions in a local natural space, not a one-off visit. Planning, adaption, observations and reviewing are integral elements.

Abel Smith Forest School is held on a 3 week cycle, allowing the children to experience 3 sessions every term. A session is half a day in EYFS and Key Stage 1 and a full day at Key Stage 2. 


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.

EYFS and Key Stage 1 use the Abel Smith site for Forest School sessions and Key Stage 2 have their sessions at Haileybury School, using their amazing woodland.


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

We concentrate on 7 strands in Forest School sessions: 

  • Team building & problem solving
  • Tool use
  • Fire and cooking
  • Knots and ropework
  • Play and exploration 
  • Arts & crafts
  • Science, nature and environment work

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

Forest School is an individual experience for every one of our children. They are free to explore their environment, taking managed risks and deciding on the challenges that they wish to pursue.  We are, of course, right here working alongside the children - sharing their experiences, encouraging them to push boundaries and most importantly celebrating their own personal successes along the way.


5. Forest School is run by qualified Forest School Practitioners who continuously develop their professional practice.

Forest School is led by qualified Forest School Practitioners, Mrs Tilbury and Mrs Williams, who hold a Forest School Level 3 qualification. They also hold their first aid certificate in Adventure First Aid.

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

Our Forest School sessions are carefully planned by accredited Level 3 Leaders. They follow a progressive skills development from Early Years through to Key Stage 2.


Would you like to take a look at what we have been up to? Have a look at your class page below for some photos...