When children at St Joseph’s move into Year 4 they get opportunity to participate in a Forest Schools programme.

Forest Schools is an exciting way of learning through positive outdoor experiences. It encourages, inspires and educates children providing them with experiences and life skills that they will treasure forever. Over a period of 6-8 weeks, children build their independence, resilience, problem solving and teamwork skills. Sessions are carefully designed to support the Year 4 Curriculum and the needs of the individual group, always ensuring that they are learner led.

Children learn from first hand experiences and at St Joseph’s we are lucky enough to have our private woodland to explore, play and learn in.  The children are able to develop a relationship with the natural world and a respect for their environment. This has proven to have a positive impact on their emotional well-being and self esteem.

Outdoor Learning starts early at St Joseph’s and begins at the local Pre School. The toddlers go down to the woods in all weathers to learn and play. Our Foundation Stage Unit has an excellent Outdoor Classroom which has a large, open outdoor learning space and a purpose built outdoor classroom which provides more shelter. In Year 4, all children now get the opportunity to experience Forest Schools which means by the time children leave St Joseph’s all children will have taken part in a Forest School’s programme.

The sessions are run by Mrs Sheath and Miss Burns who are Level 3 Forest Schools trained and qualified outdoor first aiders. Mrs Sheath is an experienced teacher and Miss Burns is one of our Higher Level Teaching Assistants. Health and Safety considerations are always of paramount importance and before each session the site and activities are risk assessed. If you wish to view any risk assessments please feel free to contact Mrs Sheath at helpline@stjosephs.derby.sch.uk

Forest School sessions will be linked to the Year 4 Science, Maths, English and RE curriculum wherever possible and will always have a context.

Activities may include:

Knot skills (Following instructions and teaching others)

Shelter building (linked to science and habitats)

Team building activities (Promoting self esteem)

Imagination activities (Children have opportunities to be creative)

Tool Use (Measuring skills)

Fire Safety

Forest crafts eg making bows and arrows, whittling, weaving and many more!

Communication between the class teacher and Forest School leaders is always a priority. Many class teachers have reported that children who have attended the programme have been more willing to engage in learning, more confident in class discussions and more willing to try new things. We also encourage feedback from parents and carers an welcome any thoughts and opinions on how your child has been impacted by the whole experience. We also like to invite parents to the last Forest School session to enjoy a campfire and allow the children the opportunity to share their learning.