Forest School is a special mix of play, exploration and learning in a beautiful and natural environment that supports all round development of children. Children are given the freedom to play outdoors, to socialise with other children, develop an awareness of the environment and an appreciation of nature, achieve personal goals such as using tools to make natural crafts and learn how to light a fire safely.
As Forest School is normally a long-term commitment over several weeks, we call shorter courses Bushcraft.
Bushcraft Days and Forest School
A day’s programme could include two of the activities listed below. All the activities can be adapted to suit individual needs and requirements.
A 6 week Forest School programme will include elements from all the basic programme activities, with a possible advanced activity in the final week, based on the needs, interest and ability of the group. It is the ethos rather than the activities that makes Forest School special.
As a guideline, children from 3 or 4 years up can do any of the basic activities with a high adult ratio and time given. The advanced activities are more suitable for children from 7 and up after completing the relevant basic activity. All activities can be tailored to suit teenage and adult groups.
|Activities||Description and Learning Objectives|
|Basic Natural Crafts||Learn to use a bow saw, hand drill, awls and other tools to make a natural crafts such as a woodland pendants, pencil holders, elder beads or spinning disc toys to take home. Whittle sticks with potato peelers and model a clay mud monster. Develop fine motor skills and an understanding of tools and natural materials; develop communication and listening skills.|
|Basic Fire Lighting||Learn about the fire triangle, fire safety and the law, appropriate tinder, kindling and fire preparation. Build and light fires using a fire steel and basic fire laying methods such as cross lay or tipee. Develop team working skills and an appreciation of the dangers of fire. This activity provides an opportunity for controlled risk taking which can develop self confidence.|
|Basic Campfire Cooking||Learn how to whittle a natural skewer, make bread and cook over a campfire. Cook popcorn, make hot chocolates with Kelly Kettles, make shmores with marshmallows over the campfire. Can also include traditional campfire singing. Campfires can develop group bonds and social skills.|
|Basic Shelters||Learn how to tie knots such as clove hitches, round turn 2 half hitch, cross lashings; build safe A frames and the basics of survival in the forest. Learn how to light a Kelly Kettle for hot drinks. Develop gross motor skills, team working skills and empathy for others.|
|Basic Bush-knife Skills||Whittle skewers for a campfire, Harry Potter wands, or bows and arrows. Younger children are taught whittling skills with potato peelers. Young adults and adult groups may be taught to use bush knives, depending on the group ability and responsibility: whittle tent pegs, door wedges, and wooden spoons. Develop listening and concentration skills, fine motor skills and an opportunity for controlled risk taking.|
|Advanced Fire Lighting||Learn to light fire using a variety of ignition techniques, such as chemical, solar, electrical and friction. Learn about different natural tinders and fire lay methods such as upside down fires, V lay and star fires. Develop an in depth understanding of natural materials and their bushcraft uses.|
|Advanced Campfire||Learn to construct a Waggan stick for cooking with Gilly cans. Whittle skewers and butterfly fish to cook over a campfire. Make bread and bake in a Dutch Oven or straight in the fire. Learn how to skin a rabbit or cook a pigeon. An understanding of basic food hygiene and cooking skills developed.|
|Advanced Shelters||Learn how to cut hazel poles safely using a bow saw and hand saw. Learn about sustainable coppicing. Use harvested wood to construct A frames and structures. Develop knowledge of knots to include the bow line and reef knot. Developing tool skills and self esteem with the achievement of goals.|
Forest School and Bushcraft days are only available on Mondays or Fridays subject to request.
Schools and pre-schools
We would be very happy to develop a programme to suit your group’s needs either here or on your site.