The magic of Forest School has to be seen to be believed. The parents of Years 3 and 4 decided to do just that in the middle of May and see for themselves what their children rave about week in, week out!
Winding paths snake through the shoulder high cow parsley while lime green leaves form a vibrant spring canopy above – the lure of Forest School is plain to see and the children claim it as theirs, a place they feel safe in, a place where they can be themselves.
Following the usual routine, of counting everyone into the woodland (56 on this occasion) and some safety reminders, everyone enjoys a hot chocolate and biscuit in Base Camp before a moment of stillness and mindful reflection. The pupils have been learning some simple breathing techniques to allow them to pause in the moment and become more aware of their surroundings. Others would call it mindfulness, down here we call it stopping, pressing the ‘pause’ button. Some may even take the techniques back into the classroom to de-stress and offer a sense of calm, especially as exam season is looming.
Then there’s an opportunity to share a favourite activity with a parent – leading them around the site with a blindfold on, sifting soil until it becomes the finest tilth or hunting for mini-beasts with a friend. As always, time flies in Forest School and audible sighs of disappointment can be heard as the children realise that the session is soon to be over. Leaving everything where it was found, knowing that it will be there next time, the group peels itself away from the sanctuary found in the woodland. There’s no need to check on the parent’s verdict, their faces give it away; the magic of Forest School wins them over, hands down!
By Louise Hunt
Head of Pastoral and Forest School Leader