Shelley Primary School

Forest School Curriculum Statement


Forest School Statement


At Shelley Primary School, Forest School sessions offer all learners opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a natural environment. Forest School is a learning approach that is part of and runs alongside other forms of outdoor education.


During a Forest School session children are:

• encouraged to explore and discover

• given the opportunity to experience appropriate risk and challenge

• encouraged to choose and to initiate and their own learning and development

• given the opportunity to experience regular success

• given time and support to develop positive relationships with themselves and other people

• enabled to develop a strong, positive relationship with their natural world

The child led ethos of a Forest School session means that the children can choose what to participate in, carefully supported and encouraged by adults. Possible activities may include hunting for mini beasts, pond dipping, natural crafts and art work, shelter building, using tools for a purpose, fire building and lighting and cooking on a camp fire. Sessions are planned around the children’s choices and needs. Their new skills are built upon each week.

The health and safety of all participants is central to everything done within a Forest School programme. Forest School leaders are fully trained in risk assessment and emergency first aid. The forest school site is assessed for safety before each session and activities have their own individual risk assessments. Some of the activities the children may participate in are ‘higher-risk activities’ (such as campfire cooking or tool use). However, these activities are not available to the children until certain behaviours and boundaries are established. Children are encouraged and supported in recognising and managing risk for themselves, through real life situations and experiences.


Forest School sessions can promote children’s development in many different ways. Children may be able to:

• form a positive relationship with the natural world

• assess risks themselves and make decisions based on their own assessments

• form positive relationships with others

• develop resilience

• develop their problem solving skills

• understand how healthy food can be grown and cooked

• explore and experience a different environment

• learn new practical skills and knowledge

• have the opportunity to learn and explore through play

• become better at working co-operatively

• build stamina by being active outdoors for extended period of time