Forest School

We are so lucky to have such amazing grounds at West Dean CE Primary School, which includes two forest school areas named by the children as Apple Wood and Stick Wood. Ms Boxall is our fully qualified Forest School leader who runs Forest School sessions with all year groups. Reception and Year one have weekly year round Forest School sessions. Years Two to Six get a six week block of Forest School on a rolling basis. This allows children to experience and observe changes in the seasons. We believe that regular Forest School sessions have a positive impact on children’s resilience and wellbeing.

Forest School is a child-centred, holistic approach to learning that incorporates children’s right to play in the outdoor environment while building a connection with nature. We aim to foster children’s love and respect for their environment by learning how to care for and protect the natural world.

We know that Forest School is a really important part of our curriculum to the children, because of the lovely things that they tell us about it:


'...a time to reflect and think'

'It is when we help nature'

'Time to spend with friends and have fun'

'We play and have fun outdoors, even when it's raining'

'We learn how to look after nature and have fun while we do it'

'It's about being outside and connecting with nature'

'Making things with nature and tools'

'Forest School is a time for peace'

'We are caretakers of nature'


Forest School uses natural materials and tools to inspire, to enable ideas and encourage creativity. Sessions teach children safe practice and risk management encouraging children to manage these skills themselves thus building independence and self-esteem.

Forest School experiences encourage children to develop their self knowledge, self-esteem, and build confidence through respectful interactions with peers and their environment. Working as a team to solve problems, children develop communication and collaboration skills. These skills prepare the children for the world both inside and outside of school.


At West Dean CE Primary, we put the children’s needs at the heart of all our provision and Forest School enhances this ethos. Our Forest School ensures everyone feels valued and that individuality is celebrated. Our  Forest School provision not only complements and extends our curriculum, but also nurtures children to become successful, lifelong learners and happy, fulfilled adults who can make positive choices about their future and their environment.