Forest School

Welcome to the Forest School area at Greave. We are extremely lucky to have the grounds and facilities at Greave that we enjoy utilising to maximise our outdoor learning for our pupils. The pictures below will give an insight into the facilities we have with a new addition of a pond coming soon in summer 2022 which will further enhance the forest school experience of our pupils.


Meet the forest school team:

   Mr Billinge            Mrs Clayton                   Mrs Thompson            Mrs Coulson

                Forest School Leader   Forest School Assistant   Forest School Assistant  Forest School Assistant


Forest School is a unique method of outdoor learning. At Greave Primary School our aim is to encourage and inspire children through positive outdoor experiences. Children will have the opportunity to learn about the natural environment, how to handle risks and most importantly to use their own initiative to solve problems and co-operate with others. The children use full sized tools, play, learn boundaries of behaviour; both physical and social, establish and grow in confidence, self-esteem and become self-motivated.


We aim to give all children a collective insight into the ethos of Forest School. Forest School builds on a child’s innate motivation and positive attitude to learning, offering them the opportunities to take risks, make choices and initiate learning for themselves. The Forest school learning environment provides opportunities for children to develop the core values that are part of our school ethos, self-esteem, self-confidence, to form positive relationships with others, to develop a growing awareness of their emotional needs and the needs of others, to learn to cooperate and work with their peers and adults and to develop strategies in order to take risks within the boundaries of safety. Forest School is about exploring and experiencing the natural world through practical activities. The children go out in all weathers, all year round, exploring and learning from the seasons and environment changes. Appropriate clothing will be worn and during high winds it will be considered unsafe to go into the woods. The children’s interests along with the varied natural resources in our woodland are used to stimulate creative thinking, problem solving and skill development. Our core values and opportunities to show these, as well as topics that are being taught across year groups are used to drive the planning of activities to celebrate the cross curricular links of Forest School. Children have the opportunity to engage with a craft station using sustainable and recycled woodland resources; a discovery area where children investigate new and exciting items linked to animals such as owls also linking to topics such as animals including humans; a sensory area to engage our kinaesthetic learners with various resources the children can choose to interact with; cooking skills using a campfire are also taught and modelled linked to design technology and topics taught in class. They also have opportunities to take part in physical activities that are cross curricular and linked to PE key skills where they can develop core strength and gross/fine motor skills. One of the principles of Forest School is to promote environmental awareness and encourage sustainability. The children are taught about respect and responsibility for the world around them. Both the children and adults are encouraged to respect their environment and to be aware of conservation issues of the wild area around them. The aim is to promote respect for wildlife, which will be achieved through detailed session plans, evaluation and careful reference to our Woodland Management Plan. If appropriate, reclaimed, recycled and sustainable resources will be used to maintain and develop our forest school site. Encouraging children to care for the environment is an essential part of Forest School. In order to encourage the children to look after the site we will always leave it tidy and never damage anything growing in it. We will only collect things that are on the ground and leave the area as we found it when we leave. The Forest School Leader will monitor the site so that it does not become overused.


The success of forest school allows the children to grow in confidence as a result of the freedom, time and space they are given in their learning. This allows them to demonstrate independence at each individual child’s rate. Activities such as sharing tools and participating in play help teach the children to work together as a group, which strengthens their bonds and social skills. The sensory experiences provided by Forest School helps prompt language development. Improving communication skills has a positive effect on a child’s self-esteem and is a crucial part of their development. High levels of interest lead to high levels of attention. Spending time in the woodland is exciting for a child because it tends to fascinate them which develops a strong will to participate and concentrate over long periods of time. The increase in outdoor activity has a positive physical impact. Not only does the development of physical stamina improve but also gross and fine motor skills. Children develop an interest in the great outdoors and respect for the environment. Encouraging children to develop a relationship with the natural world will help in protecting the environment for generations to come. Forest School isn’t just beneficial to children it is also beneficial to teachers. Observing their class in a different setting allows them to gain a new perspective and understanding of their class. When children really engage with Forest Schools they will take their experiences home to share with friends and family. This will often encourage families to visit their local woodlands more frequently. Taking children outside of the classroom removes the pressures of academia and allows them to play to their strengths. This is beneficial to children who struggle in the classroom because there is more of an opportunity for them to learn at their own pace.

Teaching and Learning

Forest School has no set of prescribed activities. Nearly any type of outdoor learning activity could be undertaken as part of our Forest School process. It is the ethos in how the activities are delivered that make it part of Forest School. Within the Forest School children have a choice in what activities they undertake. The Forest School Leader will observe the children carefully in order to plan for the next steps. The Forest School Leader will introduce relevant skills, knowledge and resources based on what the children are interested in and need to develop linked to their topics. Tasks are open – no right or wrong way of doing things (exceptions to this are health and safety procedures).

The types of outdoor activities children undertake within Forest School may include the following, and countless more. Activities selected will depend on the learner’s age, stage of development, topics and interests:

  • Field Studies Activities – minibeast hunts, tree identification, bird watching, life cycle games.
  • Sensory Activities – games to do with colour, smell, sound, touch, blindfold games.
  • Bushcraft – shelter building, knot use, fire lighting and cooking, cordage making, wild foods, whittling
  • Woodland crafts – willow crafts, natural jewellery, weaving, natural dyes, traditional crafts
  • Teambuilding and trust games – blindfold games, circle games, problem solving activities, team games
  • Wildlife conservation – tree planting, nest box construction, coppicing, fence/path building
  • Imaginative activities – story telling, drama, role play, songs
  • Physical play – tree climbing, balancing, log dragging, digging
  • Construction – shelter building, rope swings, tree houses, pulleys


Parent and Carer Volunteers 

We welcome the support of Parent/Carer volunteers to support our outdoor learning in Forest School.

Whether this is short or long term if you have a passion for wildlife, horticultural experience or would just like to share your love of the great outdoors and support our pupils then we would love to hear from you.

Contact JB the Forest School Leader by email -