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Outdoor Learning and Forest School

Through our planned use of the outdoor learning  areas the children in Belmont Infants are instilled with a love of the great outdoors. Inspirational, stimulating, hands on experiences develop self-esteem, confidence and responsibility. The use of the different settings, the various tools and the natural resources bring learning to life, create an understanding of the balance of nature and the finite resources around us.

Outdoor learning and Forest School has been an integral part of Early Years education since the 1980’s. It is based on the idea that young children can develop enthusiasm for education through an appreciation of nature. Outdoor learning and Forest Schools have been found to boost pupils’ confidence and improve their behaviour and social skills. We have an holistic approach to learning through play and exploration; children learn about the environment, how to handle risks and use their initiative to solve problems and to co-operate with others.

When teachers take learning outside they report powerful impacts - behaviour improves, children are excited to learn and they often thrive in the outdoor environment. Many of our happiest memories recall the joy of playing outside. Play is central but also develops skills such as problem solving, teamwork and creativity.

All our teachers value the importance of learning outside and plan for the outdoors. Our trained Forest School teachers take groups of children to the designated Forest School area – part of the growing garden - to carry out various activities, including whittling wood, sawing, creating jewellery out of wood and leaves, and even building fires! The children are taught to handle the tools with care through progressive, manageable steps and sessions, helping them to achieve the objectives with independence and a great sense of pride. 

Our entire school celebrates Outdoor Classroom Day twice a year. Outdoor Classroom Day is a global movement to make time outdoors part of every child’s day. On two days each year, teachers take children outdoors to play and learn. Parents and children have let us know how much they love this day!

Our Forest School leaders work with groups from Nursery and Reception on rotation and we are committed to ensuring our children in Year 1 and 2 participate in outdoor learning activities each year.

To read our Forest School policy handbook please click here (April 2020).