Forest school

October 10, 2016

Group size – small groups, with ideally a maximum of 16 children lead by one Instructor. Based on school grounds, or at one of our sites.

 Timings – Minimum of a 2 hour sessions, however other programme timings can be explored to fit into the school timetable.

 Duration – Taster sessions, 6/12 week or long term/ongoing.

Location – School grounds, community space, our private woodland.

The Forest School approach engages a deeper nature connection, giving time and space for the learner to grow and develop at their own pace, within a supportive group. It’s ethos and method of building confidence and self-esteem through facilitating child-led play and hands on learning experiences aid the learner to take risks, building on skills, through their experiences whilst working together as a community.

Normally taking place in a woodland or wild, natural space. Forest School is largely play-based and open-ended where the sessions are paved by the children’s interests and actions.

Reporting – A group observation and reflection takes place each session and is shared with school staff.


What they’re saying…



“We are so privileged to have Nicky running Forest School at Queen Emma’s. Nicky plans incredible activities that cultivate teamwork, independence and develop a love and understanding of the natural world. Equipment such as rope swings and hammocks are carefully crafted to develop gross motor skills, self-belief, and resilience. The children learn to be imaginative through exploratory play in the mud kitchen where Nicky enhances resources thematically and seasonally eg blackberries, porridge oats and pinecones. Sessions are responsive and capitalise on current learning in class – children loved learning about hedgehogs and nocturnal animals as part of the Winter Wonderland topic and this was threaded throughout their learning in the woodland with Nicky.
Nicky’s greatest skill is her empathy and intuition regarding the young people in her group. She is quick to spot those who lack confidence and tailors activities to support self-belief in achievable steps. Rather than simply removing large branches and sticks that the children discovered and began to play with, Nicky patiently taught them how to use them with safety and control. 
Nicky is reflective and shows compassion for children who may find some aspects of life challenging – she is positive, measured, and respectful in her approach and the children respond positively to her manner. 
Our children love their sessions, and it is genuinely the highlight of their week. To see them drinking their hot chocolate and eating biscuits, excitedly talking about the artwork they are going to produce or the recipe they are going to concoct in the mud kitchen, is truly magical.”

– Victoria Musson, Headteacher, Queen Emma’s Primary School, Witney.

“In Our Element was engaged by us to deliver Forest Schools to a number of students from ages 11 to 17. These students had complex SEMH and ASD. Their staff occupied the students with engaging and varied activities for up to a full day. The students were able to gain accreditation for their work. The leader was able to see their interest and develop their skills in a positive way. I would not hesitate to recommend In Our Element for the rewarding activity that is ‘ Forest Schools’.”

-Sean Cannon, Principal at Parklands Campus, Action for Children.