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Hawthorn Primary School


Primary School

Inspire, Challenge, Achieve

Forest School

Welcome to Forest School


Forest School belongs to the family called Outdoor Learning. It is a holistic approach, that allows each child to explore and develop their own confidence, self-esteem, problem solving, risk taking as well as building strength, stamina and perseverance in a safe but challenging environment. Through small achievable differentiated tasks, time to reflect, being a part of nature, experiencing the different seasons and becoming proficient in life skills and survival skills as they grow.


Here at Hawthorn Primary we have a small wooded area that is perfect for our children to grow and discover all that is good and wonderful about living and learning.


Glorious mud pies                           Climbing trees                            Finding Mini-beasts


Look below to see what we have been up to...

Week 7 14th - 18th December 

This week

Some of our children, who have not been able to have

Forest School sessions so far, 

have had an opportunity

to explore all our new components 

and when the weather was not good

others had a time in the Jungle

In The Jungle: Imagine, birds screeching high over head, monkeys calling all round swinging from tree to tree, the chirrup of crickets and the rustling of vegetation, 100's of butterflies fluttering silently around and endless flies buzzing loudly past your ears. Then the distant growl of a tiger...

We have to explore the distant forgotten jungle, where there has been treasure lost for hundreds of years. Only the fearless will find it.

To get to it

We must:

climb, crawl, jump, spin, somersault, tiptoe, slither and slide. Maybe, swim and dive, swing and fly.

We need to go:

forwards and backwards, up and down, in and out, under and over, through and in-between.

We have to be:

brave, courageous, stealthy like a ninja, strong and careful and most of all willing to try.


Exploring the trapeze, rope ladder and climbing logs as well as the climbing tree, balance tree and swing

Weeks Four - Six 23rd/25th November and 7th -11th December

This week

We have been looking at how to have fun with fire in a safe way,

but also, to know the importance of Fire Safety and First Aid for burns.


  • To recall/refresh, First Aid for burns.
  • To experience and know how to use a fire starter
  • To build, start, establish a fire, following all fire safety rules - using fire starter correctly.
  • To recall, learn fire triangle - what a fire needs to be able to burn
  • How to approach a fire safely - fire pit area - to make a smore. How and where to apply *marshmallow for best results.
  • How to safely use a Kelly Kettle - to make drink
  • To know how to extinguish a fire completely - what could happen if not,
  • To know how is the fire triangle affected by dousing the fire with water                                                                                                                                                                       *Halal/Vegan

WEEK 3 16-20 November 2020

This week we have been learning

to identify the different leaves that can be found in Forest School and School grounds,

which trees they belong to,

what they are called.


  • Finding 3 different leaves
  • Identify using leaf posters or cards
  • Learn the name of the type of leaf
  • Find and identify the tree the leaf came from

Each child had the chance to learn about 8-10 different leaves/trees names

 Oak, Ivy, Holly, Hawthorn, Elm, Lime, Spruce, Sycamore,

Horse Chestnut, Pine



All children used a leaf identification poster to find their leaves. Younger children rubbed the leaves, older children drew around their leaves or drew them, then added the details. One child was amazed - each leaf is different and even when they looked the same they are different.

We have been learning how to do so many new things; How to get higher, stay on longer, jump off higher, swing, twist and turn upside down. Make new mud pies, make castles and rockets..

Week 2  9th -13th November

The theme this week has been Woodland Animals.

There has been a differentiated activity for each class which involved finding and identifying 8 different animals that were hidden around the Forest School Area. Then some of the groups: each child had to research facts about one of the animals; this was then fed back to the group.

Each child then had opportunity to learn something

about 8 different animals -

Barn Owl, Fox, Frog, Common Newt, Hedgehog, Robin, Badger and Squirrel


Something New

This week saw the installation of a trapeze which has gone down a storm. Children learning to dangle, hang, swing, spin, flip over and one brave soul even managing to swing up and sit on the bar of the trapeze like a circus acrobat.

Some children were encouraging their friends to try doing different things and helping them achieve it like somersault, hang upside down or hook their legs over the bar.

 I can fly     

Why a Trapeze?

  • Develop Upper body strength - stamina, posture, improves handwriting.
  • Develop Core strength - acrobatics - turn upside down, pull self up to sit on bar, pump to swing, posture, walking, breathing, digestion.
  • Motor co-ordination - grab the handles, pull self back to start the swing, to be able to pump to swing, hand-eye co-ordination, scissor control.
  • Strengthen grip and wrist muscles - increases self confidence, improves pencil grip and handwriting, scissor control.
  • Balance - pull equally, twist to spin.
  • Spacial awareness - proprioception - receptors in the brain which tell us were we are in the space around us - speed, distance, height, placement ( under, over, behind).
  • Blood Flow - exercise increases blood flow, which brings more oxygen to the brain, improving memory and thought processes - better work in the classroom.
  • Overcoming fear - it will hold me, I will not fall, it's not too fast, it's not too high, I'm comfortable spinning fast...
  • Building Confidence - I can go higher,  go faster, spin faster, somersault, sit on top.
  • A Different way to move - hanging underneath, feeling own weight in arms and hands.
  • Challenging - Can I hold on longer?, go higher?, swing further?, be upside down longer?


Autumn 2 October to December

This half term different children will be working in Forest School. The weather is a lot cooler, the days are quickly getting shorter. We must remember to wrap up in many layers to keep warm and wear boots and waterproof clothes if possible.


Week One

This week we will be exploring Forest School, finding out what we can do.


Gaining confidence in our own ability and strength.

Trying new things and remembering old ones.

       Can I climb higher than before?                      Can I jump higher this time?

Can I stay on the swing bridge longer?              Will I find any treasure when I dig?   


Each session starts with a register -

Each child finds their own cookie and places it on the register.

Then we count how many children and adults there are and check it by counting the cookies.

Now we can see who are in Forest School.

At base camp we go through the five - High Five - Forest School Rules


Can we climb the ladder?

Why a Rope Ladder?

  • Core Strength: All movement originates at the core. A strong core leads to better posture, balance, and decreased risk of injury. Core muscles include your abdominal, along with the muscles around your back, hips and pelvis. These muscles keep your core stable while your limbs are active.
  • Coordination: Improves balance, spatial awareness, and the ability to react to audio and visual stimuli.
  • Grip Reflex and Grip Strength: The reflex to grab something as it touches your palm is present as early as 16 weeks old. Grip strength is required for many day to day activities as your child grows older - writing
  • Upper Body Strength: Upper body strength and stability is important when doing everyday tasks; it helps your child control their arms and shoulders when doing activities such as drawing, cutting, and writing.
  • Blood Flow Stimulation: Studies have shown that aerobic activity increases blood flow to the brain. In children, this has lead to superior scholastic achievement, cognitive control, and memory.
  • Balance:
  • Climbing: Improves balance, motor skills, physical fitness, coordination and spatial awareness.
  • Body Awareness: Helps to understand concepts like distance, speed and placement (over, under, behind etc.)

Rope Swing


As we end this half term, we look back at all we have learnt and smile at all the fun we had trying new things and cooking food on a real fire. We have all grown in confidence and working together to achieve a common goal. Each child has their favourite activity and memories of their time spent in Forest School.

Forest School Rules

This is how we do it...

This term so far we have been exploring some of the aspects linked to our topics.

Nursery -        Exploring Outside, Seasonal Changes

Reception -    Traditional Tales, Seasonal Changes and Trees

Year One -     About Me - What can I do? Can I get better at...?

Year Two  -    African Painting, Open Fire Cooking using a Dutch Oven

Year Three -   How would a Stone Age person cook?

Year Four -     Viking Cooking using a Dutch Oven

Year Five -      Solutions - How can a solution make a meal tastier?

Year Six -       WWII Home Cooking from homegrown vegetables - Dig For Victory,

                        Cooking with dried egg - a variation of 'eggy bread'


We have also been learning how to safely handle and use a hammer and different size nails as well as Gent and Hack saws.

Some of us have made a Robot or a Dog/Cat; other's have made a child's toy car.


All the time we have been gaining confidence in climbing, balancing, swinging, mixing, making and most of all playing and having fun.

We love muddy hands and dirty clothes when our creativity is released and where our exploring begins.

Enjoy looking at some of the things we have been up to: