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Forest School Parent and Pupil Voice

Feedback - Term 1 2019/20

 

I just wanted to drop a note to say how much H enjoys the sessions. He is naturally quite outdoorsy and this really sparks his interest. I think it’s really important for children to be provided with opportunities like this - learning outside the classroom and developing a range of skills. It’s taken H a while to be really ready to sit and write etc and the formal, academic side of things can be tricky for him so Forest school is a great arena for him to thrive in school.
Many thanks

Year 4 parent

 

E took great pleasure in taking me to the field in Otford this week and showed me where he picked hawthorn and blackberries. He also identified many other trees and berries which he had learnt at forest school. E most enjoyed bread making this term. 

Year 4 parent
 

It was brilliant because I liked making lots of things out of nearby sticks and things and I also liked exploring the forest near the scout hut. It was very big and it was dark.

Year 4 pupil

Parent Feedback Term 5 2018/19

 

I just wanted to say a huge thank you for all you do at forest school it has made such a huge difference to D it’s always his favourite day when he’s got forest school. He always comes home and tells us everything he has learnt with such excitement. Being able to go twice a week has just been such a positive factor in his learning at school and I firmly believe all schools should be able to offer this fantastic learning opportunity.Thanks again it really is greatly appreciated.

 

Hi, I just wanted to say how much L enjoyed her forest school experience. Every week she has come home enthused by what she has learnt and has treated us to nettles, dandelion tea and her expanding knowledge at home. Thank you for sharing your expertise with the children.

 

A. enjoyed trying new things like eating stinging nettle tea. The walk to the river for just doing child fun things which they can’t always do nowadays.This helped her confidence of coming out of her shell with talking and making friends as she finds this hard sometimes.

 

M always comes home after forest school feeling enthused and enlightened about nature and the world around her. M has told me about eating nettles and making nettle tea, which I was thrilled to hear as she refuses to eat anything green normally! M loves to use the materials that she finds at forest school to make things, all of which is teaching her to become more resourceful and inventive whilst becoming more knowledgeable about natural materials. In contrast to the natural world, the theme of plastics and man-made waste this term,has been an interesting topic and kept M engaged. She particularly liked creating a Turtle from plastic waste, whilst thinking about how one use plastics and plastic waste in general is having such a detrimental effect on the planet. This was a good project to combine with creating functional objects too and I truly believe that the forest school time is as valuable as classroom time for M and her learning.

 

Dear Mr. Grobel
 
To my mind it is one of THE best and most valuable parts of the curriculum, which contributes not only to their academic knowledge, but MOST IMPORTANTLY, to their personal development in ways which would be difficult to replicate in other settings…
As to academic knowledge, I have found both boys have gained not just straightforward factual knowledge (which they actually remember!) but also a much greater understanding of the interaction of different processes and areas of knowledge in the practical Forest School context, which is sometimes overlooked or cannot be communicated and understood quite so vividly in the classroom (e.g. the engineering and chemical knowledge required to successfully start a fire; the biological / botanical / chemical knowledge gained from heating up or cooking different things on it; the physical understanding of what is taking place when they do…
As a direct result [of Forest School] my children….are more interested in the world around them and are better able to connect what they learn at School to “things that are useful”.  For example, it reinforces their environmental activism, they don’t just know why but want to help look after the bees in our garden, they want to build habitats for hedgehogs, insects, and many other creatures.  They also derive pride and pleasure from the knowledge they gain, and confidence in their use of that knowledge…
 
As to personal development, the sense of independence and resilience (two invaluable traits) they have developed through Forest School has been particularly noticeable, and it is not something which is easy to replicate at home.  I will never forget the days my two boys came home having whittled sticks for the first time – it was done in a safe way, but they felt as if they had done something so grown up, slightly dangerous – that’s part of it - and felt as if they had taken a huge leap towards the adult world.  The same thing has happened with A. this year in relation to making camp fires (without matches!) and cooking stuff on them.  It is probably not something we, as parents, would have considered letting him do at home independently.  It has opened my eyes to what he is capable of taking on.  The sessions which involved an element of perceived risk, danger, adventure and freedom are particular highlights, which they enjoy the most and which I feel they get the most benefit from.  
 
As you may recall, I had the privilege of helping out at Forest School for the first time last week...  It struck me that the playing of team-building games and tasks such as those you set was something which was also invaluable and not easy to replicate either in the classroom or at home, no matter how hard you try (and you can’t all the time).  The simple hoops game was intensely physical and required various different types of intellectual reasoning, as well as social skills, creativity, collaboration and competitiveness.  Unlike weekend / holiday activities where the children now select their particular friends, who usually have similar interests and abilities and are often of the same gender, or even sporting activities at school where a similar type of selection based on perceived ability in a particular skill takes place, they had to do this in a mixed group of peers, and had to draw on each other’s strengths as well as compensate for each other’s weaknesses.  I was particularly impressed with the way in which you made them confront and cope with feeling frustrated or let down by their classmates when doing the task.  It was fascinating, obviously extremely beneficial on multiple levels and I simply struggle to think of other settings which bring all these important life skills together.  A real practical manifestation of the ethos and mottos of the school.  
 
…I also love the fact that Forest School happens in all weathers.  I might not like having to deal with the wet and muddy clothes that come home, but too often in the modern world we don’t do things because it is too cold, too hot, too wet, too icy – children need to learn to just get on with it, and enjoy nature in all its manifestations.  A bit of washing is a small price to pay.  The feedback I get from the children is never a sense of misery, but a sense of excitement (even over-excitement) that they have been out there, in the elements. 
 
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I know that Forest School features prominently in some of their most vivid and happiest memories of their time at Primary School.  It is a great way of helping them understand and reminding them that school and learning is fun…as A. looks forward to the next chapter in his life, I can say confidently that Forest School has been a formative influence for him.  It has fuelled a real interest in nature, our environment and survival skills which is becoming quite important to his ideas about his future.  I know it has played a big part in him coming to learn of himself that he likes building things, that he likes doing things with his friends, that he likes being brave and adventurous, that he likes just being outdoors.  What is more important than young people knowing who they truly are?  If they learn something about the world around them along the way, even better.    
 

 

Term 4 2019, Year 1 parents’ feedback

 

C loves going to forest school. He wishes he could do it every week. He loves to be outside whatever the weather. He gets bored sitting at a desk and can sometimes loose concentration as his mind wonders, which doesn't down well with his teacher. This never happens during forest school as he loves to be creating and doing practical things. He gets so involved in what he's doing and is so proud of himself at the end. It also has made his confidence grow as he does not like speaking in front of a lot of people even if they are his class mates. He becomes very self conscious.The games you play are helping him to overcome this and had this been a weekly event I reckon he'd be well and truly on the way to being very confident. This would then rub off in class and help him become more involved in the class room and a happier teacher. 

His little sister C in Hedgehogs are having their first session next week. She is so excited as C has told her all about it in great detail. When we drive past the site he points it out to her. Their older brother has also added his enthusiasm about it.​

 

Hi Mr Grobel... A. wanted me to let you know that she absolutely loved Forest School (as did we!) and her favourite things were learning about fire, making chocolate orange cakes and learning about plants and outdoor fun. It was so beneficial for her to spend time outside whatever the weather and we’re so glad this was offered. A. also said she learned its good to be alive! Thank you for all your hard work.

 

Hi Mr Grobel

Forest school is amazing for the kids - getting the kids out and into an environment where they can discover how to create, play and learn using what they have. C applies what he learns at Forest school all the time and it has made him enjoy his outdoor surroundings immensely. It is so nice seeing how he can enjoy the outdoors without having to have any device or toy to enhance it.

It's so important.

 

Hi Mr Grobel, after what had been a challenging few terms with R’s behaviour due to a new arrival in the family, forest school provided some much needed relief for all concerned! It was so lovely to hear how calm R was in forest school and how much happier he was. I had lots of comments from mums who attended saying they saw him being both a team leader without being bossy and a good team player whilst behaving himself 95% of the time. R loves being outside and I honestly think he’d do all his lessons outside if he could! Thank you so much for a fab term!

 

Dear Mr Grobel, I would advocate the importance of Forest school, particularly as I saw S acting as a team leader and team player. He’s only 6 and I believe this was accentuated by being outdoors and the slight sense of freedom he had.

 

Dear Mr Grobel,

I wanted to thank you for giving F and all the other lucky children in his class, the opportunity to experience forest school last term.

This is an amazing learning experience for the children rich with educational values which can only be learnt out and about amongst nature itself.

The fresh air, the lessons learnt, you could see them all just loving every moment.

F wishes that he could have forest school every week!

Thank you again.

We really look forward to next year’s forest school and I would be happy to help again if I am needed.

 

M loved forest school. She enjoyed the opportunity to participate in outside activities such as roasting marshmallows and peeling sticks. Linking activities to what the children were learning in the classroom added an extra opportunity and made these elements memorable and creative.

M looks forward to future forest schools.

Thanks for your hard work.

 

 Hi Mr Grobel,

E says she really loves forest school because she likes being outside with her friends and doing stuff. Especially the meditation - listening to the birds - which has been useful when she's struggling to get to sleep. Also the campfire, toasting marshmallows and making/cooking the orange cakes. I have also noticed she's a lot more capable/brave when climbing trees and investigating things in the woods.

She really is looking forward to her sessions next year and was really disappointed that she wasn't scheduled to do it every week of every term.

Thank you so much. 😊

 

Hi Mr Grobel, G says it improved her attitude towards school and made her feel happier about attending. She felt more energetic learning outdoors. G enjoyed the opportunity to work with others. I hope this helps towards your evidence. Kind regards.

Term 2 2018/19 Forest School Feedback

 

6TW Wild Cats

 

Parent

 

Hi Mr Grobel,
A has enjoyed every session, in all weathers and is always full of interesting facts of what has been happening, smells of bonfire and damp and muddy which to me as a Mum means hes had the BEST time.
Such a fantastic way to teach and for our children to learn all sorts of life skills
Most importantly them being outside in the fresh air and reminding them they can have fun outside and away from devices....
Thank you so much for giving this oppourtinity to A.
Kind regards

 

Parent

 

M (6TW) and M (4H) have both loved their Forest School experiences-it has given them the chance to learn different skills, be in the fresh air and just behave as children should be, free from the constraints of the classroom.
The lessons have always been a highlight of their weeks, that they always talked about, and they regularly put into practice the skills they have learned at Forest School in the woods at the end of our road.

 

Parent

 

Dear Mr Grobel - K really enjoyed the lessons and hands on elements. She was enthusiastic about the activities and I saw a real benefit. Kind regards.

 

Parent

J's little creature he made is sitting with our Halloween decorations 😄♥️

 

Parent

L has thoroughly enjoyed every forest school session - regardless of the weather! She is always keen to share her latest experiences and to tell us about new skills that she has learnt...Many thanks for leading Forest School.

 

Parent

E enjoyed every session too and was always keen to pack her bag the night before! Definitely a highlight of the week for her. Many thanks

 

Parent

S loves Forest School and always has an excellent time. Great for them to be outside and experiencing new things. 

 

Parent

 

S loves forest school, it's a highlight of her school week. She comes home full of excitement about what she has been doing. The opportunity to learn outside the classroom, in a less structured environment really suits her. I think she also learns important team work skills without really realising! She's also really enjoying working with children from other years and getting to know them.Whatever the weather (cold/wet/grey), she is always excited to go.
 

6BW - Conkermunity

 

Parent

 

Hi Mr Grobel, Just wanted to say thanks for running the forest school with the kids. J absolutely loves these sessions and gets so much from them. I appreciate you giving up your time - it really is very kind and gives him so much pleasure. Thank you.

 

...forest school... gives the children a different approach to learning - problem solving in the real world! For kids that struggle with a formal classroom environment, forest school provides an alternative way for them to learn essential skills. I can't stress enough what an excellent opportunity forest school is for all children. It would be shortsighted not to have this as part of their learning journey. Thanks again Mr Grobel for all that you do for the kids. Both my two love forest school.

 

Parent

Absolutely- kids love it and learn loads.

 

Parent

...Forest school... is an important part of the curriculum teaching many different skills that children don’t get in the classroom such as taking manageable risks, empathy for others and nature,physical skills other than sports. It improves mental well-being and provides a sensory experience that sitting in a classroom cannot offer...

 

Parent

 

You asked for feedback on forest school. Both my children have really enjoyed forest school. They particularly like working outside. Learning new skills like lighting fires and cooking. They love Den building too. If I ask what they have done at school they will always speak enthusiastically about what they have done at forest school.

Regards

 

Parent

 

Re forest school email - Brilliant set up, children gain a lot from being outside exploring. Great asset to Otford Primary.

 

Parent

 

Following your message today, I just wanted to drop you a note to confirm how positive I feel about Forest School. R and O are lucky enough to attend Cubs and therefore do have exposure to “life outdoors” - camping, fires, nature etc. We as a family enjoy camping trips as well. However, I am mindful not all the children in their classes have that opportunity. Forest School gives all of the children the exposure to the great outdoors - which is so essential to their personal development. Both of my boys always enjoy every lesson they have at FS - and the muddier they get- the better in their opinion! We still have on our dining table a holly/log table centre piece that R made back in December! Whilst R and O are finishing their time at Otford, I am hopeful that this essential lesson continues at the school long after they have moved on. Kind regards

 

Pupil feedback

 

I like that we get access to lots of nature and can learn fun skills like fire lighting. Also, we are encouraged to work together but also be independent.

All of it is so much fun

I like it because I get to learn new things and I like being able to make new friends at forest school. Also you get to learn new strategies, like how to build a den properly.

The fun activities we do teaches us lessons also.

It is enjoyable and you get to go outside more often. The activities are interesting”

The fact that we get to learn new skills which help us build up our teamwork and gives us new ideas to try outdoors!

You get to play games in the forest.”

When we got to build a den and ours crashed we had to find a way round it work together

Popcorn making, hazel nut creatures, making fires, making bread

Last time, I had to drag a heavy branch across a tall tree and with M's help we achieved it.”

Making bow and arrow and dens and making fire also hide and seek

Term 1 2018/19 Forest School Feedback

 

Forest Explorers

 

Parent

Dear Mr Grobel

 

L came home last night after her final session at Forest school very enthusiastic showing me her pictures from her times spent there. She has absolutely loved these afternoons learning about the book ‘Stone Age Boy’, making bows and arrows, hair dye, face painting and so many other things.

 

Thank you very much for spending your time doing these sessions, as the children seem to be really enjoy them!

 

Parent

Hi,

I just wanted to email and say thank you for all that you do to make forest school so great. J was with you last term and he was very proud to have been asked to join in.

 

Both he and P always enjoy forest school and are always keen to attend. They both enjoy talking about it afterwards and sharing what they have made. The necklace J made me out of wood hangs on my jewellery stand and it makes him happy to see it 😄

P proudly shared the bread and popcorn she made with all the family!

 

Kind regards

 

4P Nutty Bears

 

Mr Platts (class teacher):

The children were well motivated and excited by the prospect of forest schools. It really helped them consider the importance of planning tasks before diving in!

 

Parent

I just wanted to send you a quick message to let you know how much M is enjoying Forest School. I was also like to thank you for the kindness you have shown when thinking of M's allergies. She was so excited when she came home with her bread today telling us that there was dairy free chocolate in it. This was so kind of you to sort this for her and help her to feel included. We are very thankful for this act of kindness.

 

Parent

Thanks for doing forest schooling, it is so important!

 

Parent

Good afternoon. I just wanted to say how much my son enjoys his Forest School lessons with you as I know you’d appreciate feedback. He particularly likes making food so was extra happy this week and is looking forward to making banana splits over the weekend with us! Thanks so much for your time and effort.

 

4H Wild Pigs

 

Mrs Harris (class teacher)

The children all enjoyed the sessions and certainly some like D seemed to grow in confidence as the weeks went on.

 

Parent

C has loved Forest School this year. He's gaining so much confidence and has been falling over himself to tell me what he's been doing.Thank you.

 

Parent

Thanks so much for all you do! Both J and P have really enjoyed forest school and are always eager to talk about it.

Feedback 2017/18

 

Pupil 5BW:

I think forest school is awesome! it gives me so many ideas for what I should do in the future. I wish we should have it every day.
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Parent

Forest school certainly seems to be the highlight of the week. More forest school please. Practical learning is so important. Not only are they learning skills but learning to work together. I'm sure it must have a positive effect on the kids and their attitudes towards each other. Seems to be a real confidence boost and sense of achievement. It's a great selling point for the school. 
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Parent

B loves Forest School. I second xx post that it is definitely one of the highlights of x's week. It fosters such a sense of camaraderie, team  work and accomplishment. It allows them to do and experience things that they wouldn't otherwise get the chance to participate in. Again, I can only echo x post, when I say, B wishes it would take place all the time.
To lose such a valuable and valued resource would be a real shame.
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Parent

My son loves forest school, he comes home from school and can't wait to tell me all about it. I think it's great fun for the kids and very educational.
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Parent

Both my sons love forest school and they always have things to tell me about what they have seen or learnt when they get back. It's so good for them to get outside and have a break from study to learn about nature and have hands-on experiences in the woods. Its been particularly good for one of my sons who isn't much of an outdoors person by choice. Thank you.

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Parent

R has had the best time at forest school -always buzzing with everything he has learnt. He had shown us how to measure trees looking through your legs, how to pick and eat nettles and that hawthorn leaves are tasty!
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Parent

G has had the best time ever. She is so happy about learning how to make a fire, building a den and making bread.
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Parent

D has absolutely loved forest school, always excited to tell us what she has learnt. From making bread on the fire, building a shelter, foraging and much much more. Thank you very much to everyone involved :-)
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Parent

L really enjoys forest school. She has loved using the mini saws and making bread on the fire and she has been very proud to show me how to eat Hawthorne leaves and nettles! It is such a pleasure to go on a nature walk with the kids because they are keen to help us discover new things and appreciate the natural world around us. I often mention the forest school when talking to others about the good things about Otford Primary. It's a great feature and an important resource for our kids. Thanks Mr Grobel.

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Parent

"Our son absolutely loves forest School, highlight of his week! He has benefited from being outside, able to explore & work as a team. He wants to tell us everything he has learnt & enjoyed."

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Parent

"Look at the smiles on the faces of the kids when they are learning at forest school! Says it all.  Our son loves going, he always comes home animated about the skills he has learnt and the fun he has had with his classmates. The children are very lucky to have this opportunity."

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Pupil, year 3

"It's the best day of the week"

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Parent

"Our daughter is mega excited and says it’s the best ever and comes home and goes straight out in the garden to carry on forest school.. I have holes with twigs and leaves. It’s a keeper thanks."

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Parent

"Our daughter has really enjoyed her first experience at forest school and learning outside of the classroom. In a world of cleanliness and technology it is brilliant for the children to be in the great outdoors whatever the weather. From making clay bugs, using their hands and getting dirty to making dens, working as team using the resources available in the woodland. "

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Parent

"Nowadays, when the temptation of virtual life is so present, it is important for our children to experience the gifts of nature, to learn skills which brings them closer to understanding, enjoying and appreciating their natural environment. Forest school shares this responsibility with us, parents, to help our kids grow into healthy, happy adults."

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