Forest School

We are proud to provide Forest School sessions that follow all six key principles that shape and govern the Forest School ethos.

What does that mean?

Our Forest School sessions are for selected children who we feel will benefit greatly from an alternative way of learning, in small groups, with activities tailored to their particular needs. Forest School is a child-centred inspirational learning process, that offers opportunities for holistic growth through regular sessions. It is a long-term program that supports play, exploration and supported risk taking. It develops confidence and self-esteem through learner inspired, hands-on experiences in a natural setting.

How can my child benefit?

Class teachers will usually identify children who they feel will benefit most from Forest School sessions. If a parent feels their child would especially benefit from Forest School, has particular needs relating to confidence, self-esteem or mental health, or that they may be struggling with elements of classroom  learning, then they can request a meeting with their class teacher and a member of the Forest School team to discuss options.



Many elements of Forest School at Carlyle extend well beyond the sessions themselves. We provide a wide range of well-being, positive mental health, physical and outdoor opportunities for all children that form part of the commitment we have to the Forest School approach.

  • All children will have many ‘Forest Explorer’ sessions each year, when their whole class will visit the school woods to do many of the same kind of play-based activities that Forest School groups do. This involves a half-day session with a Forest School Level 3 leader. Sessions will be a combination of creative, physical, problem solving, teamwork and bush craft activities. They have proved a big hit with all our children. We often see significant improvements in confidence, well-being, independence and engagement.
  • Our commitment to outdoor learning can also be seen on ‘Welly Wednesdays’: each class will do weekly organised outdoor learning. This may be more curriculum based (for example as part of an English or Science topic) but will also be a chance for children to use all their senses, immersed in nature.
  • We started with one Forest School leader, two more will qualify in 2021, and other members of staff are due to begin their training. As more staff complete this comprehensive one year training course, many of the principles of Forest School become embedded in the whole school. More outdoor learning, more child-led learning and more focus on well-being and mental health, giving happy confident children at Carlyle the best start possible.


The six key principles that shape and govern the Forest School ethos.

  1. Forest School is a long-term process of regular sessions, rather than one-off or infrequent visits; the cycle of planning, observation, adaptation and review links each session.
  2. Forest School takes place in a woodland or natural environment to support the development of a lifelong relationship between the learner and the natural world.
  3. Forest School uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for being, development and learning.
  4. Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners.
  5. Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.
  6. Forest School is led by qualified Forest School practitioners, who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice.

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Carlyle Infant and Nursery Academy

Carlisle Avenue, Littleover, Derby DE23 3ES

Catherine Hitchcock

01332 760369