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A Forest School encourages children to:


  • develop personal and social skills

  • work through practical problems and challenges

  • use tools to create, build or manage

  • discover how they learn best

  • pursue knowledge that interests them

  • learn how to manage failures

  • build confidence in decision making and evaluating risk

  • develop practical skills

  • understand the benefits of a balanced and healthy lifestyle

  • explore connections between humans, wildlife and the earth

  • regularly experience achievement and success

  • reflect on learning and experiences

  • develop their language and communication skills

  • improve physical motor skills

  • become more motivated

  • improve their concentration skills

Forest School Code of Conduct



Children are always made aware of how far they can explore before a session begins. If children explore hidden areas, an adult should also go into the cover, deep enough to be able to see the children. If you do lose sight of them, shout ‘1, 2, 3, where are you?’ The child should reply ‘1, 2, 3 I’m here’. This has been introduced to them through a game and practised many times.

Picking up and playing with stones

Making patterns with pretty stones and even ‘gentle’ throwing are fine but make sure children are thinking of others and don’t throw them with force at ANYTHING!

Picking up and playing with sticks

Children can carry sticks shorter than their arm’s length but make sure they think about how close they are to other children. Longer sticks can be dragged or carried with a child at both ends. Sticks must not be thrown, nor should children be allowed to pull them from living trees.

Rope and string use

Encourage connecting and transporting materials. Prevent tying up other children or themselves! If a child has a good idea and wants, for example, to try to build a rope swing do help them and use the chance to model appropriate knot tying.

Carrying & transporting materials

The children should be encouraged to roll, lift, drag and pull materials, either by hand or using ropes. The safe way to lift, by bending your knees and keeping a straight back should be modelled by all adults. Heavier objects can be rolled, dragged or carried by more people.


Children love digging and this is fine in the designated area in our school grounds. Show children how to look carefully for insects and their habitats using lolly sticks and fingers. Children are also allowed to play with mud (bagged topsoil) to create sculptures.


Children are always invited to use the toilets before we leave the School. If necessary, boys may ‘go’ behind bushes beyond boundaries with an adult supervising. Girls may too if they are comfortable doing so. School toilets are close enough for children to return to school to use them.

Eating and drinking

Prevent children eating anything found in woods, such as berries or seeds. Keep reminding them about fingers and hands in mouths and noses. If we take drinks or snacks outside ensure children use wipes to clean their hands before eating their snack or drinking from a cup.

Around the log circle

If we are able to build one we will always behave as we would if we were able to light a fire. So we build a fire square – a small shape of logs with the ‘fire’ within, then a similar shape of seating logs 1.5 metres from the ‘fire’. There must be no running within 5 metres of the fire area (marked by flour), and anything being carried must be placed on the ground behind the seating. We then step over the logs to sit down. We will always practise this as if a real fire were being lit – one day we may be able to do it for real.

Collecting wood

Wood should be collected in three thicknesses – matchstick size, pencil size and thumb thickness. This is a great sorting activity and children should be given a chance to do it even if a fire is not to be lit!

Lighting a fire

The FS leader will take control of the operation and all accompanying adults will be briefed before we start.

A lit fire will not be left unattended at any point. A fire may not be lit until it has been confirmed to all that our fire safety equipment is in place. Open fires will be built within a fire square. (Fire risk assessments)

Using Tools

All tools have their own clear code of conduct for correct use which will include consideration of specific personal protective equipment, correct use of a specific body posture, and consideration of the appropriate types of activity that each tool may be used for. (See tool use guides and risk assessments).

Leaving the site

The site at Hallam Fields must always be left as it was found. If artefacts are made using ‘found’ materials these may be taken off site. Shelters should normally be demolished and imported materials taken back to school at the end of each session. Occasionally some large items may be left tidily for the next group.

Suggested Activities for Forest Schools


Activities for Forest Schools are diverse and numerous but it should be reminded that we are trying to create independent learners who are inspired to try out their own ideas, explore their own interests and to attempt new ideas.


Some activities might include:


  • Shelter building

  • Fire lighting

  • Tool use

  • Studying wildlife

  • Playing team and group games

  • Sensory activities

  • Tracking games

  • Cooking on an open fire

  • Using a Kelly Kettle

  • Rope and string work

  • Art and sculpture work

  • Woodland and traditional craft

  • Developing stories and drama, and meeting imaginary characters

  • Physical movement activities

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