We offer a permanent outdoor learning space for 3 – 11 year old children from the school. The space is managed by Forest Schooling UK CIC. The Forest School and allotment, including Chickens and Rabbits create a unique flexible outdoor space for all of our children to enjoy the benefits of learning outdoors.
Forest Schooling UK and St John's School believe that learning outdoors can foster resilient, confident, independent and creative learners that go on to use their new skills in the every changing world. In addition, the mental health and wellbeing of all our students is a priority and there is a lot of evidence to support being outdoors in green spaces greatly improves mental health and wellbeing.
Children from all classes use the area as part of their classroom learning. In addition, those children with additional need access the area on a more regular basis.
There is a covered outdoor classroom, a greenhouse and a fence and hedgerow to support wildlife and separate the area from the sports field. The allotment features raised beds for the growing of food and plants by all the classes. There is a small reflection and sensory garden as well as Forest School provision. We have a chicken coop, which the children look after. We have added solar and wind power meaning all energy on-site is self generated, and the addition of a rear locked gate into and out of the area allows the exploration of the Hogsmill River to be brought more easily into the program.
All year groups have a term of Forest School sessions once a year. The year group is split into two groups. One will attend for one half term, the other for the second half term. The class teacher chooses the groups.
Who runs the sessions
Kay and Laura will run the sessions. Both are very experienced Forest School leaders and are known to many of the children and staff as they have been at St John's running after school and holiday clubs.
When will my child's turn be?
What about Nursery?
The Nursery school access the Forest School every week.
SEN Forest School Intervention Groups
Children are referred to us by their class teacher or the school SENCO. We use a specialised outdoor learning approach, following the six principles of Forest School. This allows all our children regular opportunities to achieve, to develop confidence, to boost self-esteem, and enjoy a hands-on learning experience in a woodland and natural environment with trees. We have created a safe nurturing space which allows individuals to explore their feelings and behaviours at their own pace. We challenge them, through play-based activity, and support them through their decisions and processes to help them recognise how different choices and use of their emotional resilience “toolkit” may lead to different outcomes.
We offer 1:1 sessions to children identified as needing support in addition to our Forest School program. These are no longer than 45mins and usually comprise of Play Therapy/Zones of Regulation.
The Alternative Provision
The Alternative Provision enables young people struggling in mainstream education to access environments in which they feel comfortable to explore their feelings. Forest Schooling UK run two sites in Kingston upon Thames, one of which is at St John's. They welcome referrals from schools and Home School parents in local boroughs.
Referred children have an identified need of Social Emotional Mental Health (SEMH). They include children that don’t currently hold an Educational Health Care Plan (EHCP). All referrals are made directly through the Forest Schooling UK website.
We encourage outreach activity and community engagement. We have a visiting school who come for a Forest School session once a week. We have excellent links with Kingston University. We often engage architect students from the University to help us design projects on our site. We welcome students from teaching universities to come along and see our work and enjoy work experience with us.
We have a large allotment and greenhouse for the growing of fresh food. All our children have experience here and our 1:1 children benefit enormously from working with us on the day-to-day tasks here. We welcome parent volunteers and helpers.