At Waverley, we place a strong emphasis on taking education outdoors to offer children unusual and fun ways of learning. Often referred to as ‘Forest School’, outdoor learning provides an alternative way to teach children a diverse range of topics in a non-classroom setting. Forest School is taught to children by our qualified, trained Forest School Teachers. For under 4’s, Forest School takes the form of daily woodland walks. Forest School gives children time to be with friends, interact with peers, enhances learning and provides a safe space to take risks and develop confidence through play and learning new skills.
At Forest School, children take part in a wide range of teacher-led, age appropriate activities, where children don’t even realise they are learning! In a non-classroom setting, it allows our teaching staff to incorporate age-appropriate activities which are linked to their academic development, covering subjects such as Maths, Science, Design and Technology, Art and Biology. Activities include bridge-building, learning about local wildlife, creating art from natural materials, developing sensory skills, fire safety, story-telling and reading.
The Benefits of Forest School
As well as academic development, Forest School also delivers the following physical and pastoral benefits:
- Problem solving
- Working together as a team
- Develop language and communication skills
- An appreciation of the natural environment
- Builds confidence and resilience
- Strengthens friendships
- Builds physical and mental strength
- Creates an understanding of risks and how to handle them
Where We Teach Forest School
Waverley enjoys being situated in a rural location surrounded by woodland, fields, country lanes and ponds. We therefore have a variety of micro natural environments to teach Forest School on our doorstep. All Forest School classes start and finish in our separate Forest School outdoor classroom 'Acorn Lodge'. This routine enables us to prepare children and help them understand the outdoor activities that they will be doing, and then allows us to consolidate their learning in a post-activity discussion, in a relaxed atmosphere inside.
Clothing and Equipment
Forest School takes place in most weathers and so it is important to ensure that your child has the correct clothing for the time of year, also as protection against ticks, brambles and nettles.
Please ensure you understand what is required.
- Long sleeved tops – Jumper (if cold), long sleeved t-shirt, and raincoat.
- Long trousers – Track suit bottoms, walking trousers (no jeans or denim)
- Waterproof trousers. Please ensure waterproof trousers cover the top of boots - no all-in-ones or puddle suits as they are not as versatile and are difficult to get on.
- Wellington boots or hard-wearing shoes; ensure it is something children can easily put on and remove and don’t mind getting dirty.
- Hat and gloves for cooler weather, sun hat or cap for warmer weather.
- Suncream should be applied for warmer weather and also, we advise the use of insect repellent, especially in the summer and early autumn.
- A bag for dirty clothes at the end of each session.
Autumn and Winter (October to April) Extras
In addition to the above, children also need...
- A waterproof, warm coat.
- Warm hat and gloves. Please avoid a scarf. Snoods are a great option.
- In colder weather all-in-one ski suits are acceptable to keep warm. Loose fitting please.
See a full downloadable list of the clothing and equipment required here.
Extreme Weather Conditions
Given the climate we all now live in the weather can change quickly and does not always follow the seasons. In extreme heat long trousers are acceptable but we would still advise waterproof trousers with shorts underneath as protection against ticks and insects. In colder and wetter weather please consider the quality of the rain jacket to give your child the most protection possible. In winter months, thermal layers with a warm rain coat is the best way to protect your child.
Other Clothing Information
Suggested retailers are:
- Mountain Warehouse
- Go Outdoors
- Blacks and Millets
- The 'middle aisle' at Lidl and Aldi
Clothing does not need to be brand new - most importantly, it must be fit for purpose.
Please remember that clothes will get dirty and will need washing regularly. Every item needs to be clearly named. Please ensure gloves/mittens fit.
Although we have some spares, they are very limited so to ensure your child can attend the session they do need to have the correct kit.
Forest School Handbook and Policy
Our full Forest School Handbook and Policy is available to view on our Policies page by clicking here.
Forest School Fires