white horse logo with values Love, Hope, Community
Stanford in the vale CE Primary SchoolStanford in the vale CE Primary School
High Street Stanford In The Vale Faringdon Oxon. SN7 8LH
Tel: 01367 710474 Fax: 01367 718429
Headteacher: Mrs Amanda Willis
Siams Outstanding and Ofsted Good Provider
Siams Outstanding and Ofsted Good Provider
Page Updated 02.12.22

Forest School


Latest Forest School News

The Forest School Ethos

Forest School is a unique educational experience and process that offers children the opportunity to succeed and develop confidence and self- esteem through hands - on learning experiences in a woodland environment.

Children engage in motivating and achievable tasks and activities throughout the year and in almost all weathers. Children will work with tools, play, learn boundaries of behaviour; both physical and social, grow in confidence, self- esteem and motivation whilst developing an understanding of the natural world.

The Forest School concept originates in Denmark, aimed at pre-school children, where it was found that children who had attended forest school then arrived at school with strong social and communication skills, having the ability to work in groups effectively, generally has high self-esteem and confidence in their own abilities. These foundations helped children raise their academic achievements.

A Forest School encourages children to:
  • Develop personal and social skills
  • Work through practical problems and challenges
  • Use tools to create, build or manage
  • Discover how they learn best
  • Pursue knowledge that interests them
  • Learn how to manage failures
  • Build confidence in decision making and evaluating risk
  • Develop practical skills
  • Understand the benefits of a balanced and healthy lifestyle
  • Explore connections between humans, wildlife and the earth
  • Regularly experience achievement and success
  • Reflect on learning and experiences
  • Develop their language and communication skills
  • Improve physical motor skills
  • Become more motivated
  • Improve their concentration skills

Year 1 Whole Class 1st December

During the dense foggy afternoon on the 1st December we had a whole class celebration.

We all agreed it was a special session to be out with our friends.

Some children did feel the cold, so it's important the children wear plenty of layers and thick socks.

Bulbs were planted, fairy fires achievements and we had human walking Christmas trees! It's safe to say, we all had a fun afternoon.


Year 2 Group 1 29th November

What a lovely afternoon spent at Forest School. We managed to put up our Christmas tree and we had great fun decorating it.

We had lots of children writing invites and organising party events for our weddings that the children were busy organising. We had Jenny come and visit us on our route back to school - we all enjoyed seeing Jenny and her dogs.

The temperature did plummet whilst outdoors and it was all agreed the children need to think about hats and gloves and plenty of warm layers for the winter months.


Year 2 Group 2 22nd November

What a beautiful day to be out in our outdoor learning area.

Today we decided to change our notice board into a "Menu Board" for our mud kitchen area. So we used chalk board paint to cover the board, ready to use chalks to set the menus.

We had lots of imaginary play this afternoon that captured the whole group playing together, which was really lovely to see and as Willian said "working together to achieve together".

We ended the session with the talking stick and everyone agreed it was a really fun afternoon being out in the sunshine after all the rain we have experienced.


Foundation Group 2 18th November

We certainly did have a busy morning during our first Forest School session.

We learnt a new Forest School chant led by an adult "123 where are you" and the children reply back with "123 we are here" this is our call when we need everyone to listen.

We learnt how to cross the roads safely with our friends and how we need to be sensible when walking to our site via the road.

Once at the site we learnt lots of new boundaries and was introduced to our amazing parent helpers. We were shown how we come into the fire pit area and demonstrated how we leave - this is for everyone's safety.

Once we had been introduced to the site we were able to go off and explore the site with our friends.

We planted tulip bulbs in our flower beds and then planted some broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage - the children said they also wanted to plant some carrots and potatoes and one even suggested cooking a roast dinner with the produce! Lovely ideas.

During the session the children used spades, loppers and hammers for the first time and it was really good how they listened and followed the safety procedures when walking with the tools and using them sensibly. So well done.

We ended the session with the talking stick and everyone agreed they had a fun morning and they all want to return again.


Year 1 Group 1 17th November

During the afternoon we had yet another busy afternoon of Forest School adventures. The group followed their instincts during their session and created some lovely creative play opportunities for their friends.

We all agreed during our reflective talking stick, we had fun exploring Forest School with our friends.

It was extra special sharing Forest School with our new class member who had never experience Forest School before.

As Mrs Willis would say "The group were true super stars".


Year 2 Group 1 15th November

From torrential rain to rainbows is what we experienced this afternoon. During our adventurous play we managed to create some lovely play cues with our friends and this was shared during our reflective talking stick time - everyone expressed how they had fun during the session playing with their friends and being creative in their play.

We enjoyed the walk back to school splashing in all the puddles on route back.

We all agreed we had lots of fun at Forest School.


Year 1 Group 2 10th November

Another busy afternoon spent in our outdoor learning area - today we managed to erect another area of play - this time a Minion Trap! All ready for a Mr Rhodes visit.

But the boys decided we mustn't let Mr Rhodes know about this trap - its a Sh!

We explored more fun with the pumpkins and have decided to grow a pumpkin patch next year with the seeds we have collected.

We all agreed we had great fun and even happier we didn't need our shelter as we had no rain.


Year 2 Group 2 8th November

What a wet and miserable start to our walk down to our Forest School site - but the rain didn't dampen our fun as always we had a busy action packed afternoon.

We had pumpkins and hammer play. Two weddings took place this afternoon and lots of creative fun. We even erected our tarpaulin shelter ready for the downpour!

The session ended with our reflective "talking stick" and everyone agreed it was lovely to be at Forest School with our friends.


Foundation's First Visit 4th November

What a busy morning out in the beautiful sunshine!

During the morning the children had to learn lots of new names and boundaries within our outdoor learning area.

Firstly we had to have very good listening skills as we crossed roads, and walked the path down to Forest School.

Once at the site we were shown around the play area and introduced to the different areas on site.

We then had to learn how we enter and exit the fire pit, which is very important for everyone's safety. We spent some of the morning planting bulbs ready for the spring. We enjoyed exploring the different learning areas and at the end of the session we used the "talking stick" to express what we had enjoyed whilst at the site.

It's safe to say we all enjoyed our time at Forest School and thanked our parent volunteers for their dedication to our outdoor learning area.


Year 2 - Group 2: 18th October

We certainly had an eventful afternoon in the beautiful sunshine.

We celebrated Natalie's birthday with hot chocolate and cake - and we even got to sing "Happy Birthday".

We used Georgina's wild blackberries from her garden to try our hand a tie dying - this was a real wow experience and said we would definitely try this again.

We had a production of sing songs in our stage area of our outdoor learning area.

We all agreed we had fun and shared our experiences with the reflective talking stick.


Year 1 - Group 1: 13th October

Another busy afternoon at Forest School.

We had Andy come and work on our tree house and the roof has been fitted - the children had great fun adding "gems" to the outside of the tree house.

We had a fun session with our stage area showcasing some talented acting - with lots of script writers in progress.

We ended our session on route back to school doing some forward rolls - which has never been done before!


Year 2 - Group 1: 12th October

What a busy and very excited group this week - during the session we had scrambled eggs on toast being made which was a first and went down very well.

We had several wedding ceremonies - which turned out to be great fun. We had lots of lovely drawings been produced. A fun afternoon was had by us all.


Year 1 - Group 2: 6th October

Today's session created a wow... wow... wow... moment for many, as we used the fire steels to light our fairy fires and from disappointment came a cry of joy as through our perseverance and determination we managed to create a spark and have a fairy fire.

One child quoted "through working together we managed to achieve together just like Nehemhiah". This certainly was the case this afternoon. Mrs Willis would have been very proud to have witnessed this team effort.

The stage area was very popular as we reenacted "The three little pigs" story that we have been learning and writing about in class.

We also had "love heart" badges made in our loose parts area and this proved very successful and very complimented by the adults.


Year 2 - Group 2 4th October

During the session the children added more features to the stage area - this proved to be great fun and the children even added "leaf" tickets to the audience - enabling them to watch live forest school shows - A brilliant idea.

The mud kitchen became a hive of activity from soups, mud pies and nutrition drinks. This area became endless fun.

The creative area of "loose parts" proved to ignite imagination and some lovely end results were created.


Year 1 Group 1: 29.09.22

On Thursday afternoon we had an extremely busy afternoon helping Andy erect our new play house area. The children even managed to help with drilling under the close eye of Andy - It was truly lovely seeing the children 'working together to achieve a great play platform together".

We also had Dale join us, who is a professional photographer and Dale managed to capture some amazing pictures and memories.

The children had a fabulous time at Forest School and we all agreed during our "talking stick" reflective time it was a fun afternoon.


Year 2 - Group 1: 27.09.22:

It's finally arrived ...our "disco ball" that was requested many months ago for our productions and dance area. We had great fun erecting a stage area to hang our disco ball.

Once completed the children had great fun writing scripts, coming up with lyrics for their songs and some lovely pictures to share.

We ended the session with our "talking stick" and everyone agreed we had a fun session in our outdoor learning area.

Year 1 Group 2 22.09.22:

What another busy afternoon of adventures we all had.

From painting leaves, hard hats, the tools, finding bugs to climbing trees - the fun didn't stop!

We all agreed it was great fun playing with our friends.

Year 2 - Group 2 20.09.22:

Yet another busy afternoon within our outdoor learning area.

We had great fun "working together to achieve lots together"; lots of fun working with our friends to build den bases, working in the mud kitchen creating lots of lovely role play ideas - making hot chocolate and mud pie cakes. We used the spades and loppers to cut back nettles.

During the end of the session we used the "talking stick" to reflect on our fantastic play experiences and its lovely to share. We all had a fabulous time and even Izzy said "it's been a long 6 weeks without Forest School".

On our walk back to school we enjoyed eating the apples we picked from the apple orchard.


Year 1 - Group 1 15.09.22:

What a brilliant start to Year One's Forest School.

We had Andy, Freddie's dad come and help us erect a raised tree house as requested by the children.

The children's idea is to have steps to this area with a working "water wall" very exciting.

During the session the children managed to make a stage area for productions and have also requested a "disco ball" to be added to the area.

We used "loose parts" in our creative area and managed to make some lovely creations.

The zip wire proved to be popular today and the bucket swing had many children giggling with laughter.

The session ended with the "talking stick" and we all agreed it was great fun and took the opportunity to thank our talented parent volunteers.

Year 2 Group 1 13.09.22:

We all had an enjoyable afternoon down at Forest School - and we all agreed it was so lovely to be back in our outdoor learning area.

We used the loppers to cut back the overgrown path to get into Forest School, used the saw to cut back a fallen branch that landed on our zipwire and used the hammers to erect our coat hangers.

It turned out to be a busy afternoon. We even managed to celebrate a birthday whilst down there.

And on our walk home harvested the apples growing in the orchard!