Forest School at Glottenham

Glottenham Farm Forest School is a specialist educational provider based at Glottenham and is a collective of qualified Outdoor Education and Forest School leaders able to deliver Forest School at the farm or at a group’s own site.

We believe passionately in the benefits of immersing children in a ‘natural’ outdoor setting to stimulate learning and to help a child’s emotional intelligence and self-confidence grow and there is strong evidence that the Forest School experience can help children who lack confidence. These children may have low self-esteem or simply struggle to thrive in a normal classroom environment. They might find it hard to engage successfully with the academic syllabus, or to cope with the demands of school learning.

Forest School helps children to engage in self-directed learning. They, within carefully planned sessions, can be given more freedom or opportunities to make their own learning choices or undertake their own challenges with as much support as is required to succeed. By allowing learning to happen at their own pace or simply by being allowed to experience the outdoor environment through play there is strong existing evidence that children’s attitude towards their own learning capabilities improves positively.
By natural environment, we mean any natural open space: woodland, field, beach, and some of the wilder parks or nature reserves. The important point being that children can differentiate between the landscapes of school/home in contrast to the Forest School setting. This visual difference helps to indicate that different rules can apply. All Forest School sessions are managed and prepared with the utmost attention to keeping children safe. However the freedom to be self-directing encourages self-confidence by allowing a child to consider their actions, think and risk assess for themselves, all with the nurturing support of Forest School Leaders, Forest School helpers and often other participating children. Forest School is about giving children opportunities to explore, to achieve and sometimes to fail, as we can all learn much from our failures. The important Forest School philosophy is to enable these things to happen within a safe, supportive and respectful atmosphere.

We can forget to connect with our natural landscape on a regular basis, busy as we all are in our modern ways of living. Perhaps Forest School, Outdoor nurseries, after-school wilderness clubs, and all the other myriad of outdoor learning and adventure opportunities for children can help to redress this imbalance by encouraging first the children to become more confident and knowledgeable in natural settings. This in turn could nudge whole families to seek more time together outdoors- to be spontaneously creative, experiencing the often breathtakingly lovely natural sights and sounds and ultimately to treasure and respect our areas of natural beauty, safeguarding them for future generations.

Forest school can be delivered wherever there is access to the outdoors, but it is at it’s best in a woodland setting where children are able to make regular visits throughout the year. This enables children to build up a relationship with their natural environment, and to grow and feel confident in their space.

Glottenham has a wealth of ancient woodland and there are three different sites that are used for forest school, depending upon the season and the age of the group.  Each site has a clearing, which is covered by a tarp shelter, and has a fire circle with log seating. All three sites have their own characteristics and have been chosen to best utilise the natural benefits of the surrounding ecology in different seasons.

If you are interested in Forest School at Glottenham, or are developing your own Forest school and are looking for a leader, please contact us and we can send you a copy of our handbook.