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Howitt Primary Community School

Achieve, Care, Enjoy

Forest Schools

Forest School is an inspirational concept providing learning opportunities through practical activities in an outdoor environment.


Children enjoy the freedom to explore and experience the natural world in all seasons and in all weathers.

Views of some of our Forest School area

Still image for this video

Still image for this video

Planting silver birch trees in forest school

The Young People’s Forest Launch Event

Recently, Mrs McBean took a group of children to Shipley Park to help launch a project that will eventually see the planting of 150,000 new trees.


Activities that the children took part in were tree-signing – where all the children added their fingerprint to a tree; and working in groups with Derby College students, to source materials to make dream catchers.


After that, a tree was planted which will be the first tree in the new forest, so in tens of years to come our children will be able to bring their grandchildren and find the first trees which they planted.


The whole day was filmed by the BBC and Central News, so we felt famous for the day!


Mrs McBean

Forest School embraces an approach of nurturing, supporting and developing the self-esteem of everyone involved in this approach to learning.


It is an ideal environment in which to develop innovation, problem solving, risk taking, creativity and teamwork.


What are the benefits?


  • Growth in confidence and independence
  • Opportunities to take risks, make choices and initiate learning for themselves
  • Helps children to understand, appreciate and care for the natural environment
  • Allows children to become more confident in the natural environment
  • Enables a practical element to their learning
  • Additional physical, social and health benefits
  • Improved behaviour and motivation going back into school – and has an impact on achievement
  • Promotes self-discovery
  • Improved communication skills
  • Raised self-esteem.


Why are we doing Forest Schools?   


  • It is becoming widely acknowledged that children do not spend enough time outdoors enjoying the countryside and taking part in slightly riskier activities like den building and climbing trees.
  • We have Shipley Park so close to our school, also we are in the process of making our own Forest School area on the school grounds – we want to use it effectively to enhance our curriculum so children have opportunities to develop skills in the outside learning environment instead of always being in the classroom.
  • Some children learn better in the outside area where they feel there is more ‘freedom’ than in the inside classroom.

What activities do we do at Forest Schools?


  • We explore the forest and stay within our boundaries to help us stay safe.
  • We work together to make friendship bracelets by twisting wool  to show we belong together as a team and we are there for each other!
  • We get ‘hands on’ with nature!
  • We make animal homes  and fairy/elf houses using the tree branches and other natural items.
  • We explore knots to make a journey stick!   

Forest Schools - Spring Term


The children have been busy in their forest schools sessions, planting trees, cooking on a fire and playing team games. 

Forest Schools 2018-19

Forest schools 2017

Ground work October 2016

The children have been enjoying talking about Bonfire Night and making some lovely firework pictures.

They also learnt about why we wear poppies and they made some beautiful poppies to remember the people who died in the war.



Ground Work 2016

The children have really enjoyed working together this year, being outdoors and learning new skills.  They have enjoyed trips to Broomfield College and Shipley Park.  Please have a look at some of the photos from the year.

Ground Work May 2016

The children have enjoyed planting the bulbs, flowers and bushes that were donated for Howitt in Bloom.

Ground Work January 2016

The children really enjoyed making bug houses in the garden.

Ground Work   October 2015


We started off with a powerpoint about how important bees are, then went on to life cycles how the bee is at the start of most food source.


We then suited up in the protective bee suits and went to look at the bee hives.   


To finish the day we all got to sample some local honey taken from the hives we had just been looking at.


Everyone really enjoyed it.


Energy:  We talked about different sorts of energy.  We dug for coal, learnt about solar energy and made a wind turbine.


Dream Catchers: We used some willow from our willow den, moulded it into a circle and decorated it with wool, beads and feathers to make our very own dream catchers.


Bird Boxes. We have all made a bird box each. Mrs McBean’s dad cut out all of the pieces and we have screwed them together. They are amazing.


Our parents came to see us hard at work and look at the finished box.