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Welcome to

Totnes St John's C of E Primary School

Curriculum enrichment through Forest School

What is Forest School?

Forest School is an internationally recognised process in which children are educated in the outdoors environment, preferably a woodland setting, on a regular basis. It is a planned and well organised programme of child-centred learning. Through a balance of responsible risk taking and building trust, Forest School explicitly supports children's social, emotional and physical development.

At St John's, every child has the opportunity to experience this type of learning - the usual arrangement is for each class to attend Forest School every Wednesday afternoon for a six-week block. This is led by Miranda Rickard, a fully qualified teacher and specifically trained Forest School Leader. Mrs Rickard works closely with class teachers to enrich and enhance the whole curriculum. 

What happens at Forest School?

The session may often begin with a teacher-led, whole class activity and then the children move on to work in small groups,at their own pace, on a wide range of activities.  These may include finding and collecting things, learning about the plants, trees animals and insects, creating art and sculpture using natural materials, making shelters and other structures and playing games.  The afternoon ends with sharing what we have discovered, enjoyed and even found challenging. 


How do children benefit from Forest School?

Through Forest School we aim:

  • to help children understand, appreciate and care for the natural environment
  • to develop children’s confidence, independence and self-esteem
  • to develop children’s thinking and problem-solving skills
  • to develop children's ability to work effectively as part of a team
  • to develop children's understanding of the link between freedom and responsibility
  • to support areas of the curriculum, in particular science.

What clothes do they need?

  • play clothes, appropriate for the weather,  that can become muddy
  • a spare pair of socks
  • waterproof clothing if possible
  • sun hat and sun cream when appropriate

Please make sure that all items are clearly named. We have some Wellington boots and waterproof clothing that we can lend – please ask. 

Risk and Health & Safety

At Forest School, children have clear boundaries and rules and are supervised as appropriate to their age, development and Forest School experience. There is a high adult to child ratio (1:8 or better). Risk assessments are carried out for the area, for activities and for any equipment they might use. These, together with all relevant policies and procedures are in our Forest School Handbook which is updated on a regular basis.

Parent or other adult volunteers

If you would like to be part of a group of Forest School Volunteer Helpers to support our Forest School, please let us know.