Coppetts Wood Forest School opened for all pupils in 2021/2022. We are extremely grateful to Halliwick Allotments for allowing us to use their forest to give our pupils this amazing opportunity. Bernie O'Malley and Lynn Sanders are our Forest School Leaders and we have a number of other staff members currently training, including Assia Yahia-Messaoud, Donatella Bettin and Tatiana Peveri. This will enable us to ensure ALL Key Stage 2 children have more regular Forest School sessions.
What is Forest School?
At Coppetts Wood Primary School we are just beginning our very exciting ‘Forest School’ journey. Forest School is an ethos which encourages the development of children’s emotional and physical development through outdoor play, activities and exploration in woodland. It is a long-term outdoor programme delivered by trained practitioners within a natural environment and whatever the weather. At Coppetts Wood we have been very lucky to secure access to woodland from our school field!
Our programme will be tailored to meet the needs of the children as they grow in confidence, skills and understanding. The ethos of Forest School allows learners the time and space to develop skills, interests and understanding through practical, hands-on experiences.
Meet the Team
Lynn Saunders and Bernie O'Malley
Assia Yahia-Messaoud, Donatella Bettin and Tatiana Peveri (trainees)
Health and Safety
The health and safety of all participants is central to everything undertaken within a Forest School Programme. Forest School leaders are fully trained in risk assessment and emergency first aid. The Forest School operates under the school’s Health and Safety policy and policies and procedures regarding safeguarding and confidentiality. Alongside this, the following measures will be put in place for each session:
- Forest School Leader leading all sessions.
- A Paediatric First Aider on site for sessions.
- Risk assessments for all sessions.
- Safety sweep to clear the site of anything that may pose a threat to children’s safety before they arrive.
- Safety procedures taught to the children and repeated each session.
- Tools e.g. peelers, saws etc are used under the supervision of the Forest School Leader
- Mobile phones on site.
Children will only access some activities once certain behaviours and boundaries are established. Children are encouraged and supported in recognising and managing risk for themselves through real life situations and experiences.
What sort of activities will take place at Forest School?
The first sessions will focus on core skills and safety but subsequently, the possibilities are endless! Activities may include, but are not limited to:
- Stick whittling
- Natural art activities
- Use of tools (if skills and behaviour indicators are secured)
- Exploring, nature watching and bug hunting
- Climbing, rolling
- Practical woodland skills e.g. willow weaving
- Building Dens
- Mud kitchen
- Making potions
- Building houses for animals
- Fire pit
- Time to be quiet, reflect or talk
What benefits will my child get from participation in Forest School?
- Health and fitness – being active in an outdoor, natural environment.
- Learning the importance of boundaries.
- Increased emotional wellbeing – just being among trees has been shown to have a real and positive effect.
- Social development – communicating, sharing, negotiating and problem-solving. Increased confidence and independence.
- Skills development – developing fine and gross motor skills and coordination for real purposes.
- Gaining knowledge and understanding – multi-sensory, real-life learning, learning to care for our green spaces and wildlife.
- Individualised learning – careful observation allows adults to tailor support to children’s own interests and stage of development.
- Curriculum Links – Forest School supports many areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum and National Curriculum
When will Forest School be taking place and how should the children be dressed?
We will let you know in advance when your child is scheduled to take part in Forest School activities and ask that they wear their ‘Active Uniform’ for these sessions. It is important that they are dressed appropriately for the weather as we will be outside come rain or shine! Children MUST have their arms and legs fully covered in all seasons to protect against sunburn, scratches, bites and /or the cold/wet weather.