Off To The Woods

14th December 2018

Miss.. Miss are we going to the woods today?

In 23 years of teaching, only one thing compares to the excitement felt of teaching; Forest School sessions. For the past 20 years Forest School has existed in Britain. Launched by Educational practitioners who recognised the impact of taking children out of the classroom and into nature to learn.

‘Forest School is an inspirational process, which 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 Association.

At Stanborough Primary School, its 40 acres of nature bountiful with trees has provided the perfect setting to facilitate Forest School sessions.

Supported by Headteacher, Angelika Horwood, and the School’s Governing Body, I completed my Forest School Leadership training. Subsequently, Forest School was introduced to students as part of the curriculum and more importantly into the ethos of SDA education.

‘True education means more than the perusal of a certain course of study.  It has to do with the whole being… It is the harmonious development of the physical, the mental and the spiritual powers.’ E.G White.

In our Forest School Sessions, the students and I speak often about the God given gift of nature and the responsibility we have for our world, the animals, and the plants that occupy it.  The practical implementation of this stewardship is bolstered by the animals on site including badgers, deer, rabbits, and more. 

A huge benefit of Forest School is the opportunity for our students to practically apply life skills that we teach in the classroom but cannot always implement in the classroom setting.  The students regularly problem-solve, work in a team and use good verbal communication for tasks to be achieved. It is not uncommon for students to use saws, axes, palm drills, fire starters in order to get the desired result.

The achievements students make in natural surroundings without the pressures of time and limitations of stationery are astounding.  Students readily rise to challenges in the forest, which they may at times shy away from in the classroom.

The impact is noticeable based on the numerous letters and notes students have sent:

‘Forest school is a great way to learn, it’s one of the best experiences I have ever had and everybody in our class loves it!’ Year 4 student.

‘I don’t really have a favourite thing that we have done because each and every thing we have done in Forest School has been an amazing experience…’  Year 5 student.

‘The fire is fun…’ Nursery.

Furthermore, parents too have been positively impacted. One parent asked to speak with me and was quite emotional about the impact that being out in the forest had on her child.  Her child was quite withdrawn and had some difficulty in relating to her peers at times.  The mother expressed her joy at the happiness that her child had when she knew that she was going into the woods to learn.

I thank God for this opportunity to teach and learn myself in the great outdoors He created.  May God bless us all.

If you would like more information about Stanborough Primary School & Nursery or book a tour of the school, please contact the school office: 01923 673291 or email

[Deborah Mannix]

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