A new dimension to learning

The Rocking Horse Nursery offers outdoor Forest School sessions.

How do children benefit?

Forest School allows children to develop confidence and self-esteem through hands on experiences in a natural woodland environment. They have the freedom to direct their own learning and enter into a certain amount of ‘risky-play’. This in turn increases their sense of engagement and motivation.

The rich variety of activities on offer and the sense of independence can have very positive effects on a child’s intellectual, cognitive, physical and emotional development. The children benefit from close interaction in observing changing seasons and playing in natural and wild environments which stimulates their senses and forges connections with nature.

Our children especially love hunting for spiders, bugs and snails. The activities cover all seven Areas of Learning and Development and include exploration and appreciation of nature, using tools and cooking on an open fire. We often enjoy making hot chocolate, toasting marshmallows and baking bread.

The weather has no impact upon our Forest School sessions, whether it be rain or shine, snow or winds, the children will be outside making the most of the experience. As they say “there is no such thing as bad weather just bad clothing”.


At Forest School all participants are viewed as:

  • equal, unique and valuable
  • competent to explore & discover
  • entitled to experience appropriate risk and challenge
  • entitled to choose, and to initiate and drive their own learning and development
  • entitled to experience regular success
  • entitled to develop positive relationships with themselves and other people
  • entitled to develop a strong, positive relationship with their natural world

This learner-centred approach interweaves with the ever-changing moods and marvels, potential and challenges of the natural world through the seasons to fill every Forest School session and programme with discovery and difference. Yet each programme does also share a common set of principles, aimed at ensuring that all learners experience the cumulative and lasting benefits that quality Forest School offers.

Principles of Forest School

  • Takes place in a woodland or natural environment to support the development of a relationship between the learner and the natural world.
  • Uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for being, development and learning.
  • Aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners.
  • Offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.
  • Run by qualified Forest School practitioners who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice.

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