Forest School



“The best classroom and the richest classroom is roofed only by the sky” 

Margaret MacMillan 


At Rawmarsh Nursery School we understand the importance of providing children with not only with as much access to our nursery garden as possible but also to ensuring that the learning that takes place there is appropriate, meaningful and supports not only children’s thinking and vocabulary but also their resilience, confidence and collaborative skills. 

Our forest school curriculum is meticulously planned to enable children to make links in their learning across the seasons and through the interweaving of key texts, core experiences and celebrations of festivals. 

Forest school teaching allows children to be completely immersed in their learning and fully connect with the natural world. 

Research in the UK into Forest School and its impacts on young children found positive impacts on children in terms of confidence, social skills, language and communication, motivation and concentration, physical skills and knowledge and understanding. 


Positive relationships 

The implementation of firm and solid foundations is created through skillful teaching and an enabling environment which promotes and enables immersive scientific thinking.  Our warm, respectful relationships enable us to support children to take risks, ‘have a go’, keep on trying, find new ways to do things, have their own ideas, concentrate, be confident to use tools, make links between what they already know and new learning.  

Our skilled and highly trained teaching team includes no less than four level 3 qualified Forest School Practitioners.   


Enabling environment 

We believe that access to nature provides children with wonderful prompts to engage them in learning in all seven educational programmes.  Our nursery garden boasts: 


  • A water enquiry area 

  • A wildlife area 

  • A fire pit area 

  • A mud kitchen 

  • Vegetable beds and greenhouse 

  • Designated bike track 

  • An orchard 

  • A variety of types and ages of trees and hedgerow to provide a range of natural materials for classification and sensory experiences. 

  • Large sandpit. 

  • Quarry area. 

  • Climbing frame and trees for climbing. 

  • Willow den. 

  • Lookout tower. 

  • Large scale land art area 

  • Outdoor reading area 

Coming soon… A wildlife pond! 

This is all brought to life through the delivery of a board and balanced sequential curriculum of a well-planned sequence of experiences. 


Unique child 

We know that our forest school approach enables each individual child to follow their own curiosities and with adults as their guides and facilitators they are able to learn everything they need to. 

Children will know about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things. They talk about the features of their own immediate environment and how environments might vary from one another. They will make observations of animals and plants and explain why some things occur, and talk about changes.  

Playing and learning outside can also improve children’s physical and emotional well-being and forest school experiences have been shown to be hugely beneficial for children with a range of emotional and developmental needs, which is why our nurture groups, ‘World Explorers’ and ‘Little Explorers’ are now delivered using forest school teaching methods. 

Forests school teaching can help children to develop: 

  • Knowledge and understanding of the world around them 

  • Self-awareness 

  • Concentration 

  • Motivation 

  • Resilience 

  • Problem solving abilities 

  • Assessment of risk and how best to manage risk including tool safety 

  • Social skills and empathy for others 

  • Communication skills  

  • Independence 

  • Self-esteem and confidence 

  • Physical skills including the development of both gross and fine motor skills. 


Some of the activities our children undertake… 

Whittling wood, cooking on the fire pit all year round, planting and harvesting in the vegetable beds, bird watching, lashing and weaving, using a saw, using an electric drill, grinding materials e.g. ginger root, noticing and talking about the life cycle of the flora and fauna, making potions in the mud kitchen, exploring mud, making boggarts, re-enacting familiar stories, story mapping, grading natural materials such as apples, using natural materials to make wands and Chinese dragons, exploring capacity and weight in sand and water area, exploring the different surfaces throughout the garden, learning to control a bike round the different gradients and corners of the bike track, building with man-made and natural materials, land art, making dens, climbing trees, learning about the different parts of a tree. 



We work alongside our parents and families to ensure that children are provided with appropriate clothing such as a warm and waterproof coat to ensure that children can go outside in all weathers.   

Every year our parents are invited into a number of stay and play sessions where they can learn more about the teaching and learning.  This includes at least one day that is dedicated solely to sharing more about our Forest School teaching approach.