Children at Wellesley Park Primary School, Wellington, had their first taste of Forest School this week after the official opening and ribbon-cutting by the school’s Eco Club Year Reps.
Wellesley Park’s Forest School is in part of the grounds now fenced and equipped with a central tented area and separate woodland locations designed for bug collecting, art work, camping and creative play. The children will spend a morning each week there for the rest of the autumn term, irrespective of weather. Other year groups have designated sessions too.
Year 1 Group Leader, Miss Jane Billing, who is also the school’s Science, Forest and Eco Club Leader, explained: “The sessions are being led by Lee Kimber from Wellington Forest School. The Eco Club here is already involved with recycling, gardening and environmental issues around the school, so Forest School activities will be part of that. Staff have had training so we can follow up the pupils’ learning here in the classroom.”
Miss Billing paid tribute to the support of parents who had kitted their children out in all-weather wear – boots, hats and rainwear. A number of parents are also involved in Forest School activities as supervisors.
Lee Kimber, Wellington Forest School’s Leader, is a member of the Forest School Association (FSA). He works for the Neroche Woodlanders Project located at Young Woods near Taunton and is an active member of the families’ project there. The school’s ethos is to encourage children to make connections with nature by working outdoors and for learner-led activities to ‘provide a scaffold for learning’.
In their first session Wellesley Park’s Year 1 pupils listened to bird calls, hunted under leaves and timber for insects, sampled ‘cooking’ in an outdoor kitchen, camped, made art work from timber and stacked wood for a fire – very obviously stimulated and excited by their new learning environment.