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Forest School has been a regular part of the curriculum at Teesside High School since 2013, and is situated in our stunning on-site woodland. It is very important to us that Forest School is an important part of daily life at school, not simply a project bolted on to an already busy curriculum.
Through Forest School, Teesside High School pupils are able to develop a lifelong love and understanding of the natural environment whilst fulfilling the core purposes of the Forest School ethos, namely, development of self esteem, confidence and social skills. Through carefully planned sessions, children across the school take part in Forest School activities throughout the year, enabling them to excel in all areas of their personal, academic and social development.
The freedom of the ‘forest’ allows the children the opportunity to experience remoteness and a realistic experience in which they are able to practise their skills and further develop their understanding of a woodland environment in all seasons. A big part of our sessions is that pupils of all ages learn to take and manage risks and learn to succeed with small, achievable tasks.
Our boys and girls love exploring the outdoors during Forest School activities; trapping over the bridge like the Three Billy Goats Gruff, creating masterpieces in the mud kitchen, performing on the woodland stage, learning how to build dens and mastering key survival skills. Lessons in our Forest School are always age-appropriate, and a real highlight for our children, who explore nature and the changing seasons during regular sessions throughout the year.
Over the years our woodland site has grown to incorporate a giant bird’s nest, perfect for quiet or paired reading, as well as a den building area and mud kitchen facility. Each class in Pre-Prep visits the Forest School each fortnight, following a creative and active curriculum to enhance their outdoor learning and broaden their horizons in topic areas such as Science.
At special times of year, our wonderful staff plan exciting lessons to create a sense of awe and wonder around outdoor education. Nursery and Reception invite their mums, dads and family members to our ‘Bring a Loved One to Forest School’ for Valentine’s Day, in February, and the woods are also used as a spectacular venue for exit point celebrations as pupils finalise certain International Primary Curriculum studies. A popular favourite in winter is using the campfire to make delicious chocolate s’mores!
Lessons in our Forest School are a highlight for all of our children, who love to explore the changing seasons throughout the year. Some of our activities across all age groups include: