Meet the Forest School Team
Left to right - Miss Derrick, Mrs Buffham, Mrs Smith, Miss Parkin
Miss Parkin has been a part of Forest School at Gretton for 15 years and more to come. She loves being outside, exploring our local countryside and being surrounded by laughter and wonder from all the children. Her favourite quote is " There's no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing" Miss Parkin is the Hedgehog group
Mrs Buffham has been coming to Forest school for over 6 years. She loves being outdoors with the children, exploring our surrounding countryside whatever the weather. However show her a spider and she'll soon be off! Mrs Buffham is the Badger group
Mrs Smith joined our Forest school last year. She loves being part of forest school because it’s amazing seeing the children exploring and understanding the world around them. Give Mrs Smith a muddy puddle and she will be there all day! Mrs Smith is the Squirrel group
Miss Derrick is our newest adult to Forest school, coming with us once a week. She is eager to explore with the children, although creepy crawlies can stay away! Miss Derrick is the Foxes group
What is Forest School?
Forest School is a child-centred learning process, providing learner inspired, hands-on experiences in the natural environment. It's creative and can increase a child's confidence as they problem-solve and learn to manage risks. Forest School encourages children to explore the natural environment and learn in it.
Think about the last time you saw a child grinning wildly, bursting with excitement and eager to explore. Chances are they were outside in the playground at break time, not sitting in class trying to grasp a new mathematical concept.
But what if you could harness the same energy for both? What if that distant concept became a real-life example embodied in a tree, a rock, a pond?
We inspire learning and play outside the classroom!
What should my child wear?
Forest schools run in all weathers – we’re certainly outdoors with the children come rain or shine! Here’s a parent’s guide to the forest school clothing that we recommend for activities throughout the year.
Children are active on forest school days, and warmer weather means they don’t want to be weighed down with clothing.
- Comfortable long trousers or leggings – shorts aren’t so good for little legs when the grass is high. We recommend tracksuit/jogging bottoms instead of denim.
- School PE T-shirt
- A jumper – ideally a lighter weight fleecy one, and nothing you would worry about getting damaged or muddy! Bonus if it zips up as that makes it easier to get on and off.
- Sun hat. A good hat will stay on, even when your child is active!
- Spares! Always send your child to forest school with spare clothing: in the summer, you’d want to put spare socks and trousers in their bag in case they fall in some water (accidentally or on purpose!).
Extras: suncream. Please apply it before you drop your child off.
A winter forest school session is a lot more fun with the right clothes! Cold weather can make being outdoors more of a challenge if you aren’t dressed correctly.
- Let’s start at the bottom: the base layer. They’ll be outside, so thermal leggings (long johns) with a thermal long-sleeved top. If you don’t have those, and it’s not too cold, tights will do at a push.
- Warm thick trousers – Jeans are ideal to prevent scratches and stings.
- School PE T-shirt
- School PE Hoodie
- Socks – a thin “normal” pair (like school socks, preferably cotton) and then a thick pair of ski, thermal or woolly socks.
Outer layer wear for winter
- A warm coat or jacket – one that doesn’t matter if it gets wet or muddy.
- Hat and scarf.
- Waterproofs – even more important in winter than in summer. Puddle suits or rain suits are perfect. We do Provide Waterproof trousers.
- Spares! Spare gloves, spare socks and a change of trousers (in case they fall in the snow while not wearing waterproofs – it happens!).
Use your judgement on really cold days: send your children to forest school with an extra jumper or base layer if it feels like that would be needed. They can always take layers off, but it’s hard to get warm if you don’t have the right kit.
Spring and autumn clothing
Spring and autumn feel quite similar in terms of weather, so the kit list is the same for these seasons. Expect rainy weather and some colder months, but be prepared for anything!
- Comfy but hardy trousers
- School PE T-shirt
- School PE Hoodie - Spring and autumn can be variable, so on colder days opt for a heavier jumper and send them with a lighter one on warmer days.
- Light warm jacket e.g. a zip-up fleece
- Rain gear. A rain jacket – not needed on days when it obviously won’t rain, but a thin rain jacket is easy to keep in the bag for when it’s needed
Don’t forget to pack your spares! Pop a few extra pairs of socks and an extra pair of trousers in your child’s bag.
They might need a light hat or sun hat depending on the weather. The important thing to remember is that bad clothing makes for a miserable experience, so be prepared to check the forecast and do what you think is right for the day.
Where is Forest School?
Forest School happens as soon as you are with the leaders.
We have a base site at the Pocket Park in Gretton, but we also explore the footpaths and local sites around the village we live in.
What will the children be doing?
- Crafts - using natural materials gathered on site.
- Climbing trees and making play equipment from logs and ropes
- Storytelling and singing
- Cooking on an open fire.
- Using their senses to explore and investigate the outdoors.
- Exploring the natural environment
- Learn to access and take acceptable risks in the natural environment.
- Using tools - such as potato peels and saws to make jewellery, name tags and simple musical instruments from wood.
- Making natural music
- ... And getting muddy!
We also follow the National Trust's 50 things to do before you're 11&3/4
Promoting social and emotional growth of children at forest school
The benefits of forest school are many and varied. In particular the process has be seen to:
- Improve learner's social skills
- Improve fine and gross motor skills
- Increase a child's knowledge and understanding of the natural world.
- Increase self-esteem and confidence
- Contribute to language and communication development
Forest School will be an extremely positive experience for your child, and we hope you will support your child in taking this unique and exciting opportunity.
There is no such thing as bad weather - Only bad clothing
- Alfred Wainwright