St. Matthew's Forest School
At St. Matthew's C of E Primary, we are very proud to have such wonderful and spacious grounds. From our pond area with decking for pond dipping, to our wild-flower meadow, our wooded tree area, vegetable gardens and large field, there are so many places to explore.
We are delighted to offer our pupils at St Matthew’s dedicated Forest School sessions in five out of their seven years at our school. These weekly sessions are year-round to allow children to be fully immersed in the environment and their ongoing learning, and to experience the seasonal changes in all their glory.
What is Forest School?
FS is a specialised learning approach that invites children to learn in a child-led, exploratory way in a stimulating and enabling outdoor environment. There are many contemporary models of Forest school around today, but the one adopted at St Matthew’s encompasses the philosophy articulated by the Forest School Association to:
- Provide a long-term process of regular sessions
- Offer a natural environment that fosters a relationship between the learner and the natural world
- Promote holistic, inclusive development of all learners
- Allow children to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and themselves
- Create a community for being and development through learner-centred processes
Our Forest School Aims
Our FS programme aims to harness the benefits of this unique learning approach to:
- Develop children’s innate appreciation, understanding, and respect for the natural world.
- Support children in developing their capacity for risk-taking as a critical characteristic of effective learning.
- Provide a rich stimulus and context for learning across the EYFS Framework and National Curriculum, and learning for the wider world.
At FS, we hope that children will:
- Develop a love and appreciation for the natural world as part of a local and global community.
- Develop their self-esteem and confidence, whilst forming cooperative relationships with participating peers and adults.
- Develop their emotional, physical and intellectual resilience.
- Benefit from the well-documented links between outdoor learning and improved mental health and sleep.
- Embody our school vision to be a whole school community that “lives life in all its fullness.”
Forest School Curriculum
FS is underpinned by a strong cyclical practice of planning, observation, adaptation and review that link each session. We utilise the Wild Passport curriculum to support practitioners to progress children from Reception to Year Six, across a range of skills linked to five key domains. These are not arbitrarily chosen skills, but rather those intended to enable, enhance and extend the play, exploration, and problem-solving that is inherently characteristic to outdoor learning.
Woodcraft Shelter Rope Fire Nature
We are fortunate to have two qualified Forest School Leaders on staff who support in the planning and implementation of our FS curriculum.