St Mary’s Church of England Primary School in Edwinstowe are making the most of their extensive outdoor grounds by redeveloping their Forest School area.
Mrs Tanya Bee is Early Years Foundation Stage teacher and Art Lead at St Mary’s and she said that learning out of doors makes lessons memorable for children. “It has been an exciting term at St Mary’s developing our Forest School with the children of foundation stage and years 1 and 2. The children have fully embraced the project and have joined in the weekly sessions with great engagement and enthusiasm. It has been wonderful to see the children develop a connection and a greater respect for the outdoor environment as they explore and observe the weather and changes in the woodland around them.”
The school is situated next to Edwinstowe’s Sherwood Forest Nature Reserve and has its own mature woodland trees providing the perfect environment for a forest school.
Tanya says the school now plans to roll out Forest School sessions to all year groups, so that all children will experience outdoor lessons. “Forest school creates a safe, nurturing environment for learners to try out more challenging ideas, and children move out of their comfort zone. It helps children build confidence and relationships in a way that’s not possible in the classroom."
Mr Lee Cook works for Nottinghamshire County Council’s Sherwood Area Partnership, and visits St Mary’s to support the development of their Forest School. He said, “I can offer support and training for staff and schools to develop their Forest School provision. St Mary’s already had a forest school, but we have redeveloped the area in recent weeks, making it far more effective.”
St Mary’s Forest School has a ‘dig zone’ where children use spades and trowels, a mud kitchen, den building and seating areas for lessons, tools stations, hammocks and much more!
Lee said, “Children quickly start to notice and value nature and develop an appreciation for the outdoors. Forest School ethos sees children leading the learning and they become confident problem solvers and accustomed to using their own initiative.”
Pupil Harry age 4 years said, “I like playing in the boat and being outside.” Beth age 5 said, “I love the tent and I like being outside because I really like the wind when it blows the leaves on the ground. I have been learning about Hedgehogs today, they live in hedges and have spikes on their back. I like coming to my school a lot. I love the whole school and whole world!”