Cudham Church of England Primary School

Our Forest School

We are extremely proud and excited to have become a Forest School! Forest School originated from Scandinavia, where children learn through play until they begin their education at the age of seven. Due to the accessibility of their forests, outdoor living and learning is a major part of their culture.

Annie’s Woods is located at the back of Cudham Church of England Primary School's playing fields. It has remained predominantly unused until now, which has allowed it to independently flourish into a small woodland and natural pond without disturbance. The site was originally used by Charles Darwin for ecological study of flora, fauna and pond life. Downe House, in which Darwin and his family lived, is located only a five minute walk from the site. The site has been thoroughly checked and made safe and the pond area completely fenced off.

The natural environment provides a wealth of opportunity to expand young children’s learning through multi-sensory exploration, experimentation and play.

The Forest School provides a safe, outdoor ’classroom’ supervised by trained Forest School leaders where the children are encouraged to explore all aspects of the natural world. Their own interests and play ideas will be the basis of activities to extend their learning.

Children learn best from first hand experiences. What Forest School is all about is exploring and playing; learning using a range of activities both designed by the leaders and instigated by the children themselves. Building a sense of independence, high self-esteem and team work are important parts of Forest School, but health and safety considerations are always of paramount importance. A medical record form must be filled out before a child, or visiting adult can attend, a safety sweep of the sight will be carried out before each session along with the necessary regular risk assessments. A copy of our Forest School Handbook is available in the office to view at anytime.

Our reception children have access to our Forest School facilities every Thursday afternoon throughout the school year, but all children in the school will have an opportunity at sometime to also take part.

The school will provide your child with waterproof and windproof dungarees and jacket.

What you need to provide

  • Wellies
  • Socks
  • Long trousers
  • Long sleeved top/sweatshirt
  • A light water bottle (hot chocolate and a biscuit will be provided at break-time)
  • Hat, gloves and scarf

An extra layer is useful in case weather changes, as the woodland is shady. More thin layers are best for warmth and can always be removed if too warm. Please use old clothes and let your child know that at Forest School they CAN GET DIRTY and you don’t mind! Obviously the above applies mainly to the winter and we will keep you up-dated with clothing requirements as the season’s change. Forest School will take place in all weathers, apart from high winds or thunder and lightning.

Parent helpers are welcome at our session so please let us know if you are interested.

We are all extremely excited about this project and are sure that your child will make the most of this wonderful opportunity to learn outdoors in our beautiful school grounds.