Children at Hatherden School have explored the woodlands as part of an international learning programme.

Children in Saplings (Reception Class) have been taking part in the Forest School programme, which helps children develop by encouraging them to explore their surroundings through supported risk-taking.

Hatherden School says that children will be able to develop in three areas of learning: physical development, communication and language and personal, emotional and social development.

The school’s Headteacher, Mrs Lisa Bracken, said: “I have been really taken with the ethos of Forest School, in particular the aim to promote the holistic development of all involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners. As Headteacher of this wonderful school, set in a rural location, I felt that we could develop this area of teaching and learning, alongside our new curriculum which we devised in June.”

She said that if the scheme is successful, the school is considering expanding the programme to other year groups.

Forest School originally comes from Scandinavia, where it developed from the concept of friluftsliv, or free air life. It was bought to the UK in 1993, according to the Forest School Association, and has been expanding since then.

Children in the activities are taught a range of skills, such as learning how to tie knots, jump safely, and developing maths skills using the length of sticks.

To participate, a demonstrator shows the children how to do an activity, before giving the children the chance to try it for themselves. This has taught the children vital skills such as dressing and looking after personal possessions, as well as others such as looking at worms in the soil.

The school is currently training a member of staff towards becoming a Level 3 Forest School leader, which was funded by the Friends of Hatherden School. When this is completed at the end of November, the school plans to run regular Forest School sessions in a nearby wood, beyond the woodlands on their own grounds where sessions are currently held.