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NURSTEED Community Primary School

‘Through kindness, teamwork and determination we thrive.’

Forest School

Forest School is led by Mrs Thomas


At Nursteed School we are fortunate to have beautifully laid out grounds to include a small woodland which was planted with a range of native trees when the school was built sixteen years ago and this has now become our Forest School and wildlife area. Within this area we have also established a wild life pond and a small meadow.


Forest School allows children to spend time in the woods over a regular and extended length of time so that they become familiar with the outdoor natural environment and discover that learning can occur beyond the classroom. It gives all learners an opportunity to develop confidence and self-esteem through its practical, hands-on learning experience in an outdoor setting.  The children are able to experience this setting and the practical child-led learning of Forest School during their time at Nursteed, beginning with Welly Walks at EYFS and progressing to a longer block of Forest School sessions, presently taking place in years 3, 4 and 5. The children experience a fortnightly session of Forest School across two terms in each of these year groups.

With an experienced and qualified NOCN Level 3 Forest School leader and a group of adult volunteers to assist, the children are guided through their own play-based learning aimed at developing not only their intellect but also their physical, emotional and mental well-being. The high adult to child ratio allows the children to engage in more challenging play and tasks, such as learning to use tools, cooking on a camp fire and climbing trees, which are part of every session. Forest School embraces every aspect of the curriculum and many of these are revisited back in the classroom and used to reinforce learning particularly in science lessons. With freedom to explore and the open choice of Forest School the children grow and develop using natural curiosity, a love of nature and a sense of responsibility towards it. They learn to manage their own risk-taking and how to stay safe when using saws and knives. Opportunities such as these have brought about a remarkable growth in confidence for many children.  They engage in caring for the wildlife area through putting up bird boxes, coppicing trees, creating animal habitats and insect homes. From listening to birds to cooking on a fire, pond dipping or quietly reflecting on our morning, Forest School is a powerful learning opportunity which the children at Nursteed love.


Progression of skills at Nursteed Forest School

Year 3   Takes place during the Summer terms April to July.

*Introduction of rules and boundaries and how to stay safe.

*Introduction to basic shelter building using tarps and ropes with support.

*Introduction to use of tools – mallet, peelers for whittling, palm drill, secateurs, hand drill, handsaw.

*Introduction to fire making using Kelly Kettle to heat water.

*Basic camp fire cooking – marshmallow ‘ smores’ and popcorn.

*Learning of basic knots – round turn and two half hitches and clove hitch.

*Introduction to lashing and frapping techniques to construct frames.

*Simple pond dipping techniques

Year 4       Takes place during the Spring terms January to March

*Revision of rules and boundaries and how to stay safe.

*Continuation of use of basic tools and introduction to loppers, bow saw and sheath knife [1:1 support]

*Continuation of shelter building, independent den building using natural materials.

*Camp fire making [tepee style] to cook simple flour and water dough –dampers, and to make charcoal.

*Introduction to thicker, larger ropes and more sophisticated ropes to construct rope ladder.

*Use of hand drill

*Construction of tripods to practise knots, lashing and frapping.

Year 5           Takes place during Autumn terms September to December

*Revision of rules and boundaries and how to stay safe.

*Construction challenges in teams to solve problems requiring use of knots and all |Forest School skills.

*Construction of rope bridge.

*weaving frames and looms.

*Camp fire making and use of flour and water dough using foil cooking.

*Independent den and shelter building exploring different designs eg. lean-to and tepee

A range of creative and artistic ideas are experienced in each year group to practise and reinforce skills – these may include, frames, tripods, badges, puppets, small animal creative models, bows and arrows, tent pegs, labels, clay faces, weaving looms, elder necklaces.

Each session begins with a game or activity to reinforce and develop the children’s science knowledge linked to their year group curriculum and help them to learn about habitats and the natural world through identification of birds, trees, fungi, insects, butterflies, meadow flowers and pond life.

Children are introduced to sustainable woodland management skills as required in the maintenance of our Forest School area and including path construction, coppicing, log splitting, fencing, meadow mowing, nettle control and mud kitchen area clearance.