At Greenholm Primary School we run a Forest School Programme for all children across the school. The concept of Forest School was developed in Scandinavia and its key principle is that children of all ages can benefit from being in a natural, woodland environment. The open-air culture also known as ‘friluftsliv’ is seen as a way of life in Scandinavia and this has inspired us in the UK to bring Forest Schools into our learning environments. Forest Schools is a way of promoting great love of the outdoors and it mostly follows a child-centered/play-based pedagogy.
At Greenholm we have noticed how our children blossom in creativity, using their own imagination and using their scaffolded skills and ideas. The Forest School sessions take place on the school grounds using our very large outdoor space. We use the front field for activities such as den-building, where the children will learn lifelong skills such as team-building and tying various knots. We are very lucky to have a large outdoor space on our backfield and we have developed an area designated for Forest Schools. We have a large fire pit area where we have learned to light a fire safely, keep a fire burning, how to extinguish a fire safely and how to cook on an open fire. We use that area to deliver planned sessions from our Forest School Leaders such as building fairy houses, hunting for minibeasts, and creating minibeast homes for our local wildlife. On our backfield, we also have a clay oven where we have cooked many pizzas with the children and taught them lots of health and safety rules to follow around an oven, as well as food safety. We encourage the children to respect our land by including regular Forest Litter sessions where the children will go around with litter pickers collecting any litter that has accumulated onto our grounds. We believe all these activities give our children the opportunity to develop their resilience, confidence, behavior and overall become independent, holistically developed children.
Various clubs run to nurture children’s appreciation of nature such as a gardening club. Many of the vegetables that we use in the canteen have been homegrown on our backfield. The children take care of our vegetables by watering them frequently and removing any weeds that are disturbing them.
Last but not least, our Greenholm Farm! Our farm has blossomed into a wonderful area for our children to relax and be with the animals. We now have lots of chickens, ducks, rabbits, goats, and our amazing alpacas. The children gain many experiences when visiting our farm and various life skills such as cleaning and feeding our beloved animals.
At Greenholm Primary School we are committed to giving all children the opportunity to learn in the great outdoors. We believe that learning outside the classroom can develop children’s self-esteem, well-being, behavior, and social skills through a range of practical and engaging learning opportunities. From our outdoor classroom to our raised planting beds, our outdoor gym, and our woodland walk, we are able to give children daily access to nature and bring all subjects to life.