Forest School

Forest School is an inspirational, learner-centered process aiming to develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment. Children will problem solve, explore their learning and are supported in managing risk to support independence and resilience in a safe environment.

Explore March Wood

Scroll around the image below to look around our Forest School site.
Click the dark grey box in the top right corner to explore March Wood in fullscreen view


The Forest School Association headlines their definition by saying that, “Forest School is an inspirational process that offers ALL learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees.”

The principles of Forest School as laid out by the Forest School Community in 2002  are as follows:

  • Forest School is a long-term process of regular sessions, rather than a one-off or infrequent visits; the cycle of planning, observation, adaptation and review links each session.
  • Forest School takes place in a woodland or natural environment to support the development of a relationship between the learner and the natural world.
  • Forest School uses a range of learner-centered processes to create a community for being, development and learning.
  • Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners.
  • Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.
  • Forest School is run by qualified Forest School practitioners who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice.
A part of Forest School is seeing how nature changes throughout all four seasons.


All participants in the Devonshire Hill Forest School program will be encouraged to:

  • Experience and manage risk and challenge,
  • Develop positive and cooperative relationships with themselves, others and the natural environment
  • To explore and discover independently both individually and with others.
  • To play an active and central role in the direction and drive of their own learning and development.
  • To experience regular success but not be afraid of failure

It is this child-centered, child-led approach to learning that signifies the Forest School program as opposed to other valuable outdoor educational experiences such as field studies, bushcraft, horticulture, environmental education or even learning outside the classroom as an alternative environment.


At Devonshire Hill Primary School we have chosen to run a Forest School program with the intention to:

  • Provide a safe and non-threatening environment in which children can manage risk, make choices and develop their own learning journey.
  • Provide a learning environment to learn, interact with each other and nature and enjoy themselves.
  • Help children understand, respect and care for the natural environment.
  • Provide ways of developing practical life skills in an outdoor environment.
  • Develop self-esteem, confidence and a genuine joy of learning through self-initiated experiences.
  • Meet the needs of children with varying learning styles
  • Enable children to be independent, self-motivated and considerate.
  • Provide stimulation and varied learning activities appropriate to the child’s needs and stages of development.


As part of our commitment to providing a high quality Forest School experience, we have created our own fantastic woodland area, March Wood, at the far end of our large school field.

Our Forest School roundhouse seen through one of our new willow trees.

This project will provide an amazing outdoor learning environment for our children which will grow richer every year and become a fantastic legacy for the school and the area.

There are several living willow structures in March Wood.

These last 3 years have been very exciting in March Wood with many new arrivals and amazing growth! We have welcomed 31 semi-mature trees and 420 young saplings, a beautiful sweet chestnut roundhouse shelter and learning area, a variety of living willow structures to name just a few! Also, 315 native mixed broadleaf saplings have been planted in thickets and hedgerows. As the leaves fall from the trees, it is time to start harvesting the amazing willow growth and planting more living structures. The transformation of March Wood has been incredible to watch in such a short period of time and there are more exciting things yet to come.

The large geodesic dome will be used as a woodland craft workspace.

While the development work carries on, we eagerly wait for spring to see March Wood burst into life again for its first full year!

Information for Parents

A Parent/Carer Consent Form must be completed to enable your child to participate in Forest School Activities.

What is Forest School? – Information leaflet for parents

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