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St John's Primary School

Reception Visits to Forest School

Every week, our Reception pupils visit the Blue Fox Forest School at the Litten Local Nature Reserve in Greenford.

“Being in a space like the woods, the children feel free, and in turn they express themselves, talk and problem solve,” says Rebecca Cargill (below), owner of Blue Fox. “They aren’t afraid to give things a try, and are less concerned with right and wrong. Forest School is about creating a safe environment where all learning styles are supported, creativity can be maximised and having a go is encouraged.”

On a crisp clear morning in December 2018, we accompanied the pupils on their weekly visit to get a sense of the typical morning here that the children enjoy.  The activities on the day tied in with the theme of Christmas and the book the children were reading in class, The Jolly Postman. The children excitedly hunted for letters that revealed clues to the next location. They explored the woods, swung in hammocks, made enormous mud paintings (linking to science and mixing substances), and used equipment including binoculars, magnifying glasses and spades. They used tools such as mini saws and drills, and learned how to chop wood, allowing them to access activities in stories such as Little Red Riding Hood: they can be the woodcutter, and therefore have more to write and think about back in the classroom! 

The activities focused on fine motor skills and creativity, with Rebecca helping the children to make triangle Christmas trees. We saw lots of independent learning, and risk taking such as (safely) climbing the ladder. Social skills such as turn taking, and gross motor skills such as balancing, were also enthusiastically practised!

Towards the end of the morning, Rebecca focused on emotional links - how did the pupils feel, and why?

Rebecca herself is a trained primary school teacher, who “felt the curriculum wasn’t rich enough for children” and so trained to be a Forest School leader.

“I love teaching,” she says. “Being outside gives children more life experience, with the view to making them confident, independent adults.”

You can read more about the Forest School programme HERE .