Forest School at William Torbitt School is a holistic learning experience taking place in our school woodland area. It entails lots of exciting opportunities for the children, such as learning to use tools safely; such as carving knives, billhooks, palm drills and many more.
Forest school allows the children to explore nature, where they control the direction of learning. This means that each sessions is an awesome experience which can operate with a freedom only found outside the classroom, either through lighting fires and learning to cook outdoors, or by crafting something using the processes taught.
Our Forest School Specialist Teacher, Mrs Dunstan, works with children across the school on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
What to wear to Forest School?
Green Tree Silver Award
In Autumn 2022, we achieved the Green Tree School Silver Award. The children in Year 1 and the SEND groups that attended Forest School Sessions enjoyed creating a 'Party for the Trees' for National Tree Week. The planning and preparation included creating games, discussions and listing ideas for the party session, creating a resources list and a party plan.
On the day we:
created party hats decorated with leaves,
made a tree collage using natural resources collected on a walk around the school grounds looking at the variety of trees,
measured the trees to find out which was may be the oldest,
made bunting using charcoal from burnt wood from a previous Forest School fire lighting session,
made leaf bunting pictures celebrating the trees,
leaf mobiles: threaded leaves as part of a timed game then hung the mobile on a tree. They will be put in the bug hotel to create homes for insects too,
made celebration cakes and food in the mud kitchen,
hugged our favourite tree and told them they are special and loved,
discussed the impact trees have on our planet.
Queen's Platinum Jubilee, June 2022
Children at William Torbitt and Coppice Primary School got the royal seal of approval during the Platinum Jubilee Celebrations. They met Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, due to their involvement in planting the final trees in 'The Tree of Trees' - they were the only two schools involved in the Tree of Tree project - what an honour!
Due to our children taking part in The Junior Forester Award with Karen Dunstan, our Forest School Teacher, they were invited along to Buckingham Palace on Tuesday 24th May 2022. The Tree of Trees was an enormous sculpture designed by Thomas Heatherwick to commemorate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The individual trees were given to community projects around the country when the Tree of Trees was dismantled.
Whilst they were doing the planting at Buckingham Palace, they were interviewed by Blue Peter Presenter, Mwaksy Mudenda, and given green Blue Peter badges. Green badges are awarded when children show how much they care about nature, the environment and sustainability.
The children were then invited back to Buckingham Palace on Thursday 2nd June to watch as the lights on the Tree of Trees were lit. It was the principal beacon lit and signalled the start of the Jubilee celebrations and the lighting of over 3000 beacons nationally and internationally. The lighting of the tree was televised around the world and shown on ITV, BBC, Sky News and The Royal Family YouTube channel (link below).
Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge met and spoke with the children. He asked them about the kinds of trees they planted and whether they enjoy being out in nature. Some of them were a little star struck but spoke about the hundreds of trees planted at Coppice and William Torbitt this year.
On Friday 3rd June, the children were featured in a Jubilee special edition of Blue Peter (link below).
It has been fantastic for the children to have their tree-planting, eco-minded efforts recognised in such an important way. What an honour and what an incredible once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.