Outdoor Learning

It is important that children have the opportunity to take risks safely from an early age and our Forest School sessions provide the perfect environment for this. All year groups from Nursery to Form III enjoy Forest School lessons with a fully qualified Forest School leader as part of their weekly timetable. Children from Form IV to Form VI have six Forest School sessions per term. 

From Nursery, children are introduced to tools, learning how to use a bow saw with the support of an adult. The children progress through the school learning how to whittle with knives independently and use palm drills to make holes in their greenwood work. Recently we have also introduced the billhook so that the children can learn how to split wood to make different objects.

Children build confidence and maturity when learning how to be safe around a fire but also their importance and why we need them; whether it is simply to keep warm or to cook a delicious snack. From Form II children are given the opportunity to learn how to light their own fires using a flint and steel and it is always a joy to see the smile on their faces when they succeed. 

Topics that are covered in Forest School at Longacre include:

  • Natural Art
  • Fire lighting
  • Tool work (green woodwork)
  • Mini-beasts
  • Orienteering and map skills
  • British wildlife and how we can help
  • Trails
  • Fairies and elves
  • Den building and knots

Forest School Sessions

Year GroupSessions
Nursery2 x 30 min sessions per week (one in the morning and one in the afternoon)
KindergartenOne 60 min session in the morning and one 30 min session in the afternoon per week
Reception – Form IIIOne 60 min session per week
Forms IV – VISix sessions a term (60 min sessions)

Empty Classroom Days

Over the course of the academic year, every year group will experience an ‘Empty Classroom Day’. This is a day when the children will spend the entire school day outside using the natural environment to learn and meet their curriculum objectives. Lessons go ahead no matter the weather and the children even eat their lunch outside and, of course, toast a marshmallow (or two) on the fire.

Outdoor Leadership

In addition to Forest School we also run Outdoor Leadership sessions at Longacre. These sessions are included in timetabled P.E. lessons (for Forms III -VI) and Forest School lessons (for Kindergarten – Form II). The Outdoor Leadership sessions are designed to enable all pupils to engage in activities that promote teamwork, enhance individual strengths, develop independent thought and encourage empathy and respect towards others and for the environment. 

In the earlier stages, a range of challenging, fun and diverse activities try to promote a ‘we not me’ attitude, helping students to think about cooperating with others and aims to develop listening skills. By encouraging students to be actively aware of what makes them an effective leader, we plan to aid the knowledge of when and where pupils can best apply their leadership skills and also encourage them to identify when it is best to step back and allow others to take the lead.

The leadership work done in P.E. lessons explores the dynamics of effective teams. It demonstrates that by sharing the load and working to our strengths in a supportive and encouraging environment, we can achieve more. These sessions also address the need to ask for help and in turn, being ready to help when called upon, as well as the differing leadership roles that occur in sport and their relation to the wider curriculum.