Forest Schools are nature-based communities where trained practitioners nurture learner-led exploration and discovery, nurturing meaningful experiences for positive lifelong impacts.
Forest School Days
“I think every child born on this planet is fascinated by the natural world. If they aren’t it’s because we deprive them of the opportunity” – Sir David Attenborough
At Forest School we make sure every child gets that opportunity. We encourage play, exploration and supported risk taking. Our goal is to develop confidence and self-esteem through learner inspired, hands-on experiences in a natural setting. Throughout their time at Ocklynge the children will play nature based games, build shelters, make fires, grow, harvest and cook food as well as learning to use a range of tools. All this takes place in our wonderful on-site Forest School area which includes a copse, hedgerow, a pond, fruit and vegetable beds, rope swings, a digging area, a willow dome, bug hotels, a bog garden, log piles and a stumpery.
Activities at Forest School offer many opportunities to demonstrate our school values: whether we are responsibly using tools or building fires, showing respect for plants, animals and each other, showing resilience in the face of challenging weather or reflecting on how we care for the natural world around us.
Time spent in nature can have a very positive impact on our children’s emotional wellbeing and help to alleviate symptoms of anxiety. We run Forest School nurture sessions throughout the year. Forest School is also a brilliant location for children with special educational needs because of the multi-sensory and enabling environment, where children can explore and take supported risks.
If you have any questions about our Forest School programme, please contact Mrs Swingler at email@example.com
Ocklynge Rainbow Garden
September 2019, despite the wet weather, a small but brave band of volunteers tackled a very weedy, overgrown space. Fuelled only by tea and biscuits, they cleared the entire area. This was the blank canvas we needed to begin our garden. Thank you to all those involved. The thistles, bindweed and nettles definitely put up a fight!
The next stage of the process was to cover the area in a weed suppressing membrane and a layer of wood chip mulch. We were very lucky to have the mulch donated by the Tree Surgeon Jack Futter.
The next brilliant benefactor was Edwards, Hampden Park. The firm have kindly donated all 24 of the pallet sleeves used to create the raised beds. Their generosity has ensured that we have garden beds that are accessible and easy to maintain. We thank them, especially Mr Ian Ward, for their wonderful contribution.
Soil was the next issue. Mrs Swingler had recently dug a pond in her garden. There was just a small matter of getting the 200 bags of soil from her house to school. Luckily, in stepped Mr Loose and his trailer to help shift many of the bags. This was the dirtiest, heaviest and slightly back breaking part of the job. So, a huge thank you to Mrs Loose. After that, the mammoth painting job felt pretty relaxing.
Thanks to all the brilliant, generous people mentioned above, our garden was ready to be used by the children before the Covid 19 Lockdown began. Although the vast majority our children were at home throughout this period, a fantastic group of key worker children continued to come into school. This green fingered bunch transformed the space into a bountiful, delicious vegetable garden.
This colourful space was always intended to be our Rainbow Garden. We all know that the rainbow is now a symbol of thanks to our key workers, especially those working in the NHS, so our garden has taken on a special meaning. The key worker children in school showed such strength and bravery, showing up to school every day and just keeping going. They coped with having different teachers, being in class with different children, massive changes to their school and learning, all whilst having the underlying worry that their grown-ups were at risk in their jobs. It was a real privilege and joy to build this garden with them. It will always be a special place
The children have been enjoying the harvest from the Rainbow Garden at Forest School. We’ve munched our way through many peas and tomatoes!
On the fire we have baked potatoes, boiled corn on the cob and roasted beetroot! Don’t worry, we didn’t forget those with a sweet tooth, as the Year 4s have also been making toffee apples,
using apples gathered from our trees. It’s been quite a feast!