What is Forest School?

Our ethos for Forest School is based on the principles from the Forest School Association:

“Forest School is a long-term process of frequent and regular sessions in a woodland or natural environment, rather than a one-off visit. Planning, adaptation, observations and reviewing are integral elements of Forest School. Forest School takes place in a woodland or natural wooded environment to support the development of a relationship between the learner and the natural world. 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. Forest School uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for development and learning.”

At Goring Primary School, we want our learners to have the opportunity to gain self confidence in the outside world by taking managed risks and working together.

We plan to encourage them to:

  • develop personal and social skills
  • work through practical problems and challenges
  • persevere even when its hard
  • learn how to manage failures
  • develop practical skills and use tools safely
  • reflect upon what they’ve achieved
  • build confidence through success
  • improve gross motor skills
  • use tools to manipulate and create
  • develop their language and communication skills
  • build confidence in decision making and evaluating risk
  • improve their concentration skills

Safe use of fire and Tools

Flint and steel

Children are made aware of Flint and Steel use safety rules;

  • Strike away from your body
  • Catch sparks in charcloth/cotton wool +Vaseline on a scallop shell (secure with a twig to prevent it being blown away)
  • Child can enter fire circle to add their spark to the collection or where directed by adult.

Bow Saw

Children are made aware of Bow saw use safety rules;

  • Carried hanging at arm’s length
  • Glove on supporting hand
  • Guard returned to cover blade before wood is retrieved
  • Use Saw Horse or bench to brace the wood
  • Work with an adult (or if experienced) buddy
  • Return to safe place after use (eg hanging on Saw Horse or laying on bench

Peelers/ Knives

Children are made aware of knife use safety rules;

  • SITTING with knees apart.
  • Elbows on knees.
  • Whittle away from you NEVER towards you.
  • Do not use leg as a rest – if knife slips it will go into a main artery.
  • Blood bubble – a stretched arm with knife should not touch others.
  • If distracted and you need to look away, stop whittling.


  • Children are encouraged to make decisions about joining materials and constructing.
  • Never used to tie anyone up or around a neck.
  • Tying and dragging logs to be encouraged to move heavier items.

Sticks/ wood

  • Sticks shorter than an arm length can be carried.
  • Longer than an arm to be dragged or carried with a buddy.
  • When building dens, structures with overhead wood need to be supervised and checked

Marshmallows on fire

  • Appropriate greenwood stick to be used
  • Children to kneel on one knee to avoid falling into fire

Examples of Activities

  • Where possible activities will reflect the seasons
  • General activities
  • Making greenwood discs/ necklace
  • Making charcoal/charcoal cloth
  • Charcoal pencils and drawing
  • Happazone(leaf bashing)
  • Spider webs
  • Clay/mud work
  • nature ink/paint making
  • perfume bag
  • dandelion horn
  • pomander


  • Boundaries set with red and green dragon prompt reminders
  • Adult always present
  • Fire bucket and blanket always available
  • Use fire gauntlet gloves to move tripod, kettle etc
  • Move away to avoid inhaling smoke
  • Adult to add additional wood, move fire as required


Children are made aware of Lopper use safety rules;

  • Wood to be preferably on the floor, but below head height
  • Carried hanging at arm’s length
  • Returned to safe place after use eg points down in a bucket

Cooking and eating

  • Wash hands before any food preparation or eating using facilities provided.
  • Follow adult instructions

Palm Drill

Children are made aware of palm drill use safety rules;

  • Select appropriate thickness of wood.
  • Hold securely pushing down on a firm surface.