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Forest School

Our Forest School is set in a wonderful location just a five minute walk from the School. We go every week, whatever the weather, and everybody enjoys being outside in the fresh air.


For us, Forest School epitomises child learning. Entering the forest is like going on a journey - different every time.


The unique location of the School surrounded by the Hurtwood Forest, fields and farmland means that we are able to make the most of our environment to enrich children’s learning experiences. Forest School plays an important part in our curriculum and underpins every aspect of our curriculum intent. It epitomises our bottom-up, rather than top-down, approach to child development, building strong foundations for mental and physical health and well-being. 

For us Forest School epitomises child-led learning. Entering the forest is like going on a journey, every time a child enters the woods the experience is different, depending on their emotions, the weather and the season.  One thing is guaranteed, and that is the sense of calm and well-being of all the children by the end of the session.  

Learning outdoors frees children up to learn without the constraints of classroom walls; it helps them build personal and social skills as they collaborate together and become problem solvers and critical thinkers. It connects children to the local environment where they learn scientifically about habitats and ecosystems and how to look after and respect the natural world.  

There is lots of space to explore and learn about the many different types of trees, shrubs and wildlife.  Trees of all shapes and sizes are perfect for climbing, swinging and balancing. Dens are built to share with friends or hide away in. Gnarly and twisted 

Rhododendrons only the most agile bodies can crawl through. Children can find space to be on their own and reflect on their feelings if they want to.

Forest School learning has a number of key principles. Importantly, it should take place regularly, in the same area for a sustained period, so that the children have plenty of opportunity to explore and connect to their surroundings and, in a way, that gives children the confidence to take risks as they explore and learn about the environment around them.




When given an area full of natural resources and, importantly, time, creativity comes to the fore.

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When given an area full of natural resources and time, creativity comes to the fore.




It should take place in a wooded or similar area where children can explore freely.



Encompassing health and

well-being, creative, sensory and functional development.




It should allow children to take risks as they explore and learn about their environment.

Forest School is a very holistic way of learning. Learning takes place subtly and affects all areas of child development from language skills, as children learn to listen to each other's ideas; to negotiation and taking turns; to creativity and imagination skills as they learn how to use their natural surroundings to invent and create.  Physical development of gross- and fine-motor skills, through digging, climbing, balancing, weaving, collecting and making, also come to the fore as well as learning specific skills like how to handle tools for whittling, sawing and tying ropes. Lastly, and probably most important of all, children learn about the environment: to respect and use it so that others may enjoy it after we’ve left.

Forest School the Learning Process 

Peaslake school, set in the heart of the Surrey Hill, is ideally situated to provide a Forest School experience for all children.  The whole school venture into the woods one morning a week to explore, investigate, develop physical strength, and fine motor skills and learn about the nature around them and how is varies from one season to another.  

The structure of our forest school session is very much child led, staff will question and set challenges following the children’s interests. This is because we believe children learn best when they can follow their own interests and are free to learn without the constraints of the classroom walls.  The teachers plan one or two adult led activities each week, depending on the topics being covered in class, but are very much guided by the children and actively find out what interests them, so they can develop and deepen their skills and independence in learning.   

Forest School develops interpersonal skills such as leadership, team working, networking and communicating.  It allows children to take what they’ve learnt in the classroom and apply those skills outside on their own terms in their own time.  Children can repeat, practise and embed those skills, solving problems and collaborating on a variety of projects.  Best of all they learn how to look after and care for their environment, to respect their natural surroundings and acquire knowledge about the world around them. 

Here are a few of the key skills and characteristics that we see Forest School developing:         

Building confidence – Developing self-esteem – Creating a framework for all learning – developing self motivation – promoting self –regulation – Independence- builds emotional intelligence – challenges physical fitness – offers the chance to engage in real play – instils an understanding and love of nature and natural environment.   To handle and use a variety of different tools safely.  

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