Mrs Julie King, the new Head of Elleray Campus, the Preparatory division of Windermere School, says she will…
The Forest School site within the grounds of Windermere School’s Elleray Campus provides a wealth of opportunities for exploration and personal development.
There are small trees and bushes to climb, magical places to hide, spaces for den building, secret passageways through shrubbery and a log circle for stories, songs, discoveries and even toasted marshmallows.
The sessions are delivered by our residential Level 3 qualified instructor. Each Forest School is unique and we have designed ours to utilise the wonderful wooded grounds of nearly 20 acres here in the Lake District.
The sessions take place either at the Forest School site or elsewhere within the grounds at the Elleray Campus, depending on the particular focus of the lesson.
Pupils from Pre-School, Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 take part in weekly Forest School sessions throughout each school year. The focus is on specialised woodland activities with our youngest children, and here we start to nurture the life skills that we believe are so important in children’s education:
We embrace the Forest School philosophy, which is to encourage and inspire individuals of any age through positive outdoor experiences.
During Forest School sessions, students learn about topics such as: how to identify local species of plant and wildlife, how to care for and conserve our environment, how to build a den, tool use (peelers, saws, flint and steel), making boats, dam building and storytelling and role play.
The Forest School site offers a wealth of opportunities for exploration and personal development. Natural resources are available for mark-making, mud and water play and craft and construction activities.
The natural growth of the site offers secluded areas to play quietly as well as large open spaces for collaborative play and learning.
The students are encouraged to follow their own personal journey of development by setting a series of self-motivated and achievable goals. This helps to foster a sense of responsibility and pride in their achievements.
These classes are key for developing leadership, collaboration and cooperation as they focus on a series of linked challenges.
The first time my daughter and I visited the school she said to me “that is a happy school no question.” The scholastic achievements of the school are evident and an easy measure for a school to demonstrate. What is hard to quantify is the holistic development of a pupil at which, in my experience, Windermere School excels.
Windermere School is such a unique community to be a part of. Not only is it based in a truly beautiful and inspiring national park, but the environment created by staff and students alike makes for an incredibly supportive, proactive, exciting and international place of learning in which everyone can thrive and be the best they can be.