Forest School

At OLSE we are very excited to deliver ‘Forest School Sessions’ every Monday, led by Mrs Harrison and Mrs Nicholson. This Advent Term, Year 1 and Year 2 pupils will be experiencing Forest School and we are looking forward to exploring the Autumn and Winter Seasons in our church garden. 

What is Forest School?

The Forest School principles were first brought to the UK in the 1990s from the highly successful Scandinavian practice of outdoor education. We aim to provide children at OLSE with the opportunity to learn from first-hand experience in an outdoor, natural environment and have been kindly granted access to the church grounds for use as our ‘Forest School Site’.

Forest School sessions aim to encourage exploration and play in a natural environment in order to enhance and grow child’s social, physical, intellectual, creative, emotional and spiritual development.

Forest School Activities:

Under the guidance and supervision of the Forest School Leaders, our children will experience a range of activities that may include:

  • Shelter and den building – tying ropes in different ways.
  • Using hand tools – including bow-saws, mallets, loppers and knives.
  • Investigating nature – mini-beast hunting and bird watching
  • Growing and harvesting fruits and vegetables.
  • Cooking on an open camp fire.
  • Natural art and wood craft.
  • Team building games
  • Woodland stories


Children will need appropriate clothing for their forest school sessions (clothes to keep warm, dry and that you don’t mind getting a bit muddy!) and for health and safety reasons, children who do not have the appropriate kit will not be able to take part. Children need to be protected from the weather as we will be outside ‘come rain or shine!’

Please follow the kit list below and note arms and legs must be covered at all times.

  • Warm base layers: vest/long sleeve top/jumper/jogging bottoms
  • Waterproof coat
  • Thick socks
  • Wellies/walking boots
  • Hats and gloves when cold
  • Waterproof trousers (desirable but not essential)

In Forest school we thought about the colour of nature and how green makes us feel calm, peaceful and happy. We were inspired by the myth of ‘The Green Man’ to get creative and made many shades of green!

This week in forest school our focus was plastic in the environment, we played team games to learn how to recycle, reuse and reduce. We recycled plastic bottles as bird feeders and bags as footballs. We made a poster and did some important litter picking.

Last week in forest school we learned about the variety of birds nests. We played a team game called birds in the nest that tested our verbal and non-verbal communication. We made model nests, tried out a mud nest and even made a human nest!

In forest school today we learned about patterns in nature and how these may be linked to mathematical patterns. We worked in teams to create our own spiral and concentric patterns, this needed patience and calm.

We had a very busy forest school session today – planting peas, onions, carrots and wildflowers. Teamwork creating chalk pictures to describe how plants grow – from seeds, tubers, runners, cuttings and bulbs. Leaf painting and tarp tidying, digging, weeding and birdwatching Phew!

Year 4 worked hard in Forest School today to set grass seed in the church garden to repair muddy patches. We understand how we impact the garden and we need to take care of it. We look forward to seeing new shoots of grass after Easter.

In our last Forest School for Years 3 & 4 we created a wooden sculpture to represent Good Friday and learned about different plants that have been used to remember the events of Holy Week. We prayed together at this special time.

It’s time to plant in forest school. We have been weeding and preparing the peace garden for planting and added an apple tree for Foundation Stage to enjoy. Super gardening today, well done everyone!

It’s British Science Week with the theme of time and in forest school we were looking for signs of spring-time. We became wildlife photographers and artists learning about the signs of early spring.

Year 3 & 4 have been enjoying the theme of ‘dragons’ in forest school. We have shared stories, played dragon team games, created clay dragon’s eyes, made shelters for dragon eggs and have made ‘dragon’s breath’ – whilst learning about setting and lighting a campfire safely.

In forest school today we have been learning about the anatomy and importance of earthworms. We are making a wormery in our peace garden to support recycling and we had a worm charming competition!

We wrapped up well and went outside in forest school to set out feeders for the birds. We played a rope game under shelter and tested some paper boats in the puddles. Despite the rain we’ve had a busy forest school day!

After the wintery weather this weekend KS1 did some forest school learning inside. We found out facts about the garden robin, we learned to draw a robin and made robin handprint pictures. We also made cheerio feeders for the birds.

In forest school, just for a little while, we got to step in the puddles. The longest was 61 steps.

In Forest School today we had some super teamwork, solving problems using sticks. The children had to carry objects over the ground only using sticks, no hands allowed – floor is lava! It took some thinking but we managed it!

Inspired by the story of ‘Stick Man’ we used peelers to create out own stick men from willow wood. Me made mini-shelters for the stick man family and had fun using our imagination with some small world play!

ECO team met this week to tidy up our peace garden. We dug up the rest of our old autumn carrots and Mrs J took them to the stables for the horses. We composted weeds and will continue to tidy next week!

A waterlogged garden and high winds did not stop forest school on Monday. We played our forest school games on the playground, using sticks in different ways to develop our teamwork, listening and sharing skills. We had great fun!

In Forest School today we went on a hedgehog hunt, made mini-shelters to keep our hibernating hedgehogs dry, made a muddy model hedgehog, we learned about how to sit safely around our campfire and how fires light! Well done everyone.

In Forest School today we have been spider hunting, making model spiders, challenging ourselves in a spider web game and repairing our bug hotel for winter. Great job everyone!

Forest School @ OLSE is back and despite the rain we revisited out gardens, identified plants, played some team games and said hello to our trees again!

Final Forest School session with a nature quiz and shelter building team challenge to keep dry under the ‘rain’ provide by Mrs Wilson. Campfire with pizza to finish – well done everyone for all your hard work in Forest School this term

Forest school was all about water for wildlife today. We watered our plants and were challenged to create the longest water chute to catch rainwater. We got creative with oil and water pictures and learned how to use a sheath knife to whittle wood for our campfire.

Forest School Patterns: Today we have been learning about patterns in natures and why certain living things are so brightly coloured. We created ladybirds, butterflies and enjoyed some garden games that needed us to use pattern and strategy.

Forest School flower power: we have amazing wildflowers attracting all the pollinators in our peace garden with our veg crops growing nicely. Flowers have inspired creative learning and we raised a toast to the elder tree as we tasted elderflower presse.

In Forest School this half term Years 5 and 6 have been learning about the importance of bees and also what a fascinating insect they are – their hive being a superorganism of teamwork. In our latest session we developed our own teamwork skills through lots of games/challenges.

Year 4 enjoyed their last Forest School session of the year, as well as plenty of games and campfire food we finished by setting grass seed to repair our garden during the Easter break. We have also achieved our RSPB Wild Challenge Bronze Award. Well done!

We had our final forest school session with Year 3 and enjoyed lots of free choice games and activities finishing with warm pizza wrap around the campfire.

With Spring arriving today we have been planting and supporting our garden birds in forest school. We have planted two beds of early potatoes and set an area of the peace garden with wildflower seeds to encourage pollinators. Great work today Years 3 & 4.

We have been developing our teamwork skills in forest school today through team challenges: to make the warmest den, the longest ball chute and to help with forest garden jobs. A great day, despite the cold, finishing with warm juice around the campfire.

In Forest School today we have been learning to share ideas, listen and show empathy through group challenges: learning new knots, making shelters and the blindfold rope challenge. Super teamwork.

In Forest School today we have been learning about the importance of insects and their role in pollination and food chains. We have been sawing and drilling holes in wood to make homes to encourage minibeasts in our bug hotel. We checked our pond water for signs of insect life.

Forest School today was all about wood, we identified trees from their barks, we learned about hardwoods and softwoods. We used tools to drill holes in wooden discs to make dreamcatchers and undertook some games and challenges making wooden towers.

More Forest School fun – a game of duck, duck goose to end the day!

Its all been about soil in Forest School today. We have been learning about the different types of soil and how soil is made. We have investigated our garden soil and used it creatively to make mud paintings based on aboriginal cave paintings. We made a mud hedgehog too!

In Forest School today we have undertaken the Big Garden Birdwatch for the RSPB, we have made bird seed tree branches to help care for the birds and we enjoyed a team-game working together to steal silver from a magpie’s nest!

Year 2 had a wonderful final Forest School session this morning. Mrs Harrison read The Stick Man story; we made our own stick men then we finished off with a fire, popcorn, warm juice & a biscuit. It even snowed a little too! What a fabulous term of Forest School.

Year 1 Forest School Fun today – a dragon egg treasure hunt and super mini-den building. Well done.

KS1 Forest School went on a dragon egg hunt around school today leading us to find some ‘dragon snot’ to help us light our campfire! We learned how to tie lashings to make shelters for the tree fairies and made dragon pictures with leaves. Super safe sitting around our fire. Fab!

Autumn Apple day in Forest School saw us working as a team to build an apple run, getting creative with apple prints, designing and testing apple boats. Lots of tidying the leaves away too – great job KS1!





A cold and very windy day meant no forest school under the trees, but we still had fun building our resilience with rope tying, rope and elastic games. Great job years 3 and 4!

17/01/2022 – A frosty forest school saw us learning about life processes and having fun playing team games – using our senses. Super bird listeners heard a noisy great-tit and a magpie in the garden today. Well done Year 3.

10/01/2022 – Welcome back to Forest School this term for Years 3&4. We reintroduced ourselves to the gardens, played team games and went leaf hunting – identifying flora in winter is a challenge! We even saw a flock of long-tail tits. Well done – a lovely first session.

29/11/2021 – In Forest School today we were looking for tracks in the snow and building shelters for humans and tree fairies! We learned how animals hibernate or migrate to avoid this cold weather and we kept moving – clearing leaves to keep warm. Exploring all the signs of winter!

23/11/2021 – A cold Forest School saw the garden with a beautiful carpet of Autumn leaves. We learned about hedgehogs and how they hibernate. We made mini-dens, created hedgehog pictures and have set up a hibernation shelter. We can’t wait to see if we attract real hedgehogs!

15/11/2021 – A beautiful day for forest school saw us treasure hunting for daffodil bulbs, planting them ready for spring, making symmetrical leaf butterflies, mud pies and playing pine cone plop! A busy, happy day developing our teamwork skills.

08/11/2021 – Lots of ‘apple’ fun in Forest School: apple relay team game, apple boats, apple rope trail and apple printing. Well done everyone – what a lovely day!

08/11/2021 – We have been using our Geography skills in Forest school today, learning about where different apples come from, food miles and tasting some Nottinghamshire apples grown locally. Yum!

02/11/2021 – Back to Forest School and with winter approaching we learned how to make bird feeders, practised our knot tying, made ‘mud nests’ and spotted some feathery friends. Well done KS1.

20/09/2021 – A lovely sunny Forest School session today saw children birdwatching, bug hunting, autumn leaf painting and helping to build our bug hotel for hibernating insects. Great job everyone!

13/09/2021 – We have been spider searching in Forest School today and learning about all the different types of arachnids found in the UK. We are going to build a mini-beast hotel to protect all the important bugs over winter and give them a place to hibernate. #superspiderfinders

06/09/2021 – Forest School is back! The trees have missed us – they needed a hug. Well done year 1 and 2, we had a beautiful day in the gardens today learning about all the different plants, playing team games and collecting different leaves. Super sunny Forest School 🙂