Our Lady’s is a Forest School providing outdoor based lessons that offer an invaluable introduction to the natural world. Children learn about the effect of the weather and changing seasons on the environment, and observe how animals and insects live. Children also learn basic survival techniques, such as building camp fires, constructing dens and chopping wood.
Whilst the children have lots of fun enjoying the freedom of being outside, Forest School delivers a number of other benefits too. Ultimately what they learn develops awareness of safe boundaries, and also builds their self-motivation and self-esteem.
Forest School activities
Activities are tailored to age groups. This means younger children may draw in the dirt or use foliage to practise letters, numbers and phonics. Meanwhile, older children may be more focused on specific project work.
Experienced class leader
A dedicated Forest School Leader, Louise Bidwell, manages the Forest School curriculum. Louise, with her excellent knowledge of EYFS, has NVQ Level 3 in Childcare and Education, and NVQ Level 3 in Forest Schools.
Forest School sites
For children over 3 years of age, we are fortunate to have access to two specially designed Forest School sites at nearby Wellington College. In addition, we have the option to use Heath Lake, a 7-acre woodland and heathland area near Wokingham. Our younger pupils use on-site Forest School areas at Our Lady’s.
Children use the school minibus to travel to the site singing songs during the journey. In fact, this is all part of the experience and pupils build an association between the songs, the journey and the outside space. Once at the site, children sit in the camp area for a safety briefing and an explanation of the day’s activities. Following the lesson, they return to the camp for a debriefing and snack before heading back to school.