What is Forest School?

Forest School

Our school is situated in the Clyde Valley which is a naturally stunning environment!  Through Forest School and using our local environment, we aim to develop a life-long love and understanding of the natural world, whilst encouraging and inspiring our children to develop their personal, social and emotional skills through participation in tasks and activities which are motivating and achievable.

Using the wooded area in Crossford Park, our pupils will be provided with opportunities to experience nature and the outdoors in a safe, nurturing environment where they will be provided with a unique hands-on learning experience.  They will be encouraged to investigate and explore but also to respect all living things.  Exploring, playing and learning through engaging in a range of activities planned by Forest School Leaders and Assistants, class teachers and instigated by the pupils themselves, is what Forest School is all about.  Building a sense of independence, high self-esteem and teamwork are important parts of the programme but health and safety considerations will always be of paramount importance.

The Forest School key principles will be at the heart of everything we do!

Principle 1:  Forest School is a long-term process of frequent and regular sessions in a woodland or natural environment, rather than a one-off visit.  Planning, adaptation, observation and reviewing are integral elements of Forest School.

Principle 2:  Forest School takes place in a woodland or natural environment to support the development of a relationship between the learner and the natural world.

Principle 3:  Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners.

Principle 4:  Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.

Principle 5:  Forest School is run by a qualified Forest School practitioner who continuously maintains and develops their professional practice.

Principle 6:  Forest School uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for development and learning.

We have two members of staff trained as Forest School Leaders, Mrs Drennan, Principal Teacher, and Miss Dickson, Teacher. Mrs Donnelly, Teacher,  is also trained Level 2 Forest School Assistant. They plan and deliver sessions with different classes to develop and progress the pupils’ Forest School skills whilst linking it to their classroom learning.

We are very lucky here at Underbank to also have fabulous parents/former parents who support the delivery of Forest School. Those trained to Level 2, as Forest School Assistance, include Dr Andrew Downie, Richard Parry and Victoria Rum. Furthermore, Mrs Deards, a Forest School Leader and parent, also supports Forest School at Underbank. They have very kindly offered to give their time and support to the school in delivering Forest School sessions, giving them the opportunity to practise their skills.