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Forest School Handbook

At My Little Barn Owls, our aim is to inspire our curious little learners  by providing a truly positive hands on woodland education through the inspirational Forest School ethos

What is the Forest School Pedagogy ethos? 

The Forest school pedagogy is about providing a safe environment that allows children to have freedom and choice.  Supports their creativity and and helps children build self-esteem and confidence in a natural environment in all weathers. 

The Principles of Forest School


 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, observations and reviewing are integral elements of Forest School.

  • Our small groups sessions will be provided through out the year. Each child will take part in a minimum of 6 Forest School  sessions. The group session are around 2 hours . The groups will maintain the same curious little learners in each week. 

  • Ratios for 2 year old + is 2 adults to 4 children . Ratios for 3 years old + 2 adults to 6 children

  • Our Forest School teaching & assistant will create a versatile programme tailored for all children. They will be continuously observing to meet the needs of the group and collecting evidence to track and support their progress. 

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

  • Our Forest school sessions take place in the woodland area right next to our setting.  The woodland provides an ideal learning environment, offering the space to discover nature and the world around us. It also creates the curiosity for our children to explore. 

  • Our large natural outdoor play area also allows us to offer Forest School opportunities. 

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

Our Forest School programmes are created to support the overall development and well-being of our children by providing opportunities for children;

  • To help build confidence and create positive relationships with adults and children such as working in groups, 

  • To support and extend children's verbal and non-verbal language skills by encouraging discussion to complete a task or on reflection. 

  • To promote an understanding of consequence, so children learn to know whats right and wrong by teaching them how to love and respect the woodland. 

  • To encourage children to understand other peoples feeling and their own self-awareness by providing a sense of achievement and discussing other feelings. 

  • To provide opportunities for children to use gross and fine motors skills by teaching them how to use tools and utensils and allowing them to climb,run and experiences the woodland environment. 

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

  • In our Forest School sessions children are encouraged to take controlled risks by using fires and a variety of tools such as bow-saws and knives to create Forest School crafts. 

  • Our experienced Forest School Teacher understands each individual risk and and how to control them providing a safe environment were the children can make their own choices, take risks and initiate their own learning. 

  • The Forest School teacher, along with support of her assistant will complete a daily benefit/risk assessments and provide children with safety tool talks if they are deemed appropriate for the children to use. 

5:Forest School is run by qualified Forest School practitioners who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice.

  • My Little Barn Owls Forest School teachers  are accredited with a Level 3 Forest School qualification. 

  • All Teachers and assistants hold a valid DBS. 

  • The Forest School Teacher holds a first aid qualification, which includes paediatric and outdoor elements. 

  • All Forest School teacher and assistant are encouraged to use self reflection on their practice by discussing the session with the group. Peer on peer observations are also completed with feedback provided so they are able to reflect and make sure they are promoting the learning and development in every child. 

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

  • The Forest School teacher will implement the programme created for the individual group with support from their assessment. 

based on their needs and interests. 

  • Play  and choice is encouraged  in the woodland area to allow the children to be creative within their own play. 

  • An 'In the Moment'  approach to observing, assessing and scaffolding will be applied to support the children's next steps in their learning and development. 

Roles and Responsibility 

All session will be run by a qualified level 3 Forest school teacher along with a assistant.

 All staff and helpers have an Enhanced DBS check.

All staff and helpers must read the Forest School handbook, any risk assessment/s appropriate for the session/s they are attending and all policies and procedures relation to forest school and this includes policies that the setting uses that may not be in the Forest School handbook). They must sign to say they have done this. All Nursery Staff and helpers taking part in Forest School must adhere to rules in order to keep themselves and the children safe.

Policies and procedures

All staff attending must sign to confirm they have read the settings policies including all policies and risk assessments relating to Forest School.

Our policies and procedures can be found on via our website or you can request copies 

All members of staff and volunteer helpers have a duty to follow these policies and should be familiar with their contents. Staff and volunteers must sign to state they have read the Handbook, including all policies and risk assessments.







Our Nursery Insurance with Morton Michel covers all aspects of Forest School activities including tree climbing no greater than 7 feet from the ground, Fires and the use of tools. 

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