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How to create a Forest School adventure area in your school grounds

Posted by Nick Riley on 23rd Mar, 2017 |

When did you last play in the woods with your children or enter a ‘Forest School’ classroom?

When did you last read The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson?

When did you last combine the two to create a Forest Adventure!

St Mary’s school, in Chorley, were successful in obtaining a grant to fund ‘outdoor classroom’ improvements. Tesco’s ‘Bags of Help’ is a great initiative giving schools the opportunity of accessing funds to add value to their school activities and grounds.

 

Check out our link and apply for your own grant of talk to us for inspiration.  http://www.groundwork.org.uk/Sites/tescocommunityscheme

”You wouldn’t believe what children were capable of in a world of gadgets and technology”, said a BBC Radio Lancashire Presenter during a stone carving session delivered by Playscape Engineering.

Innovation is what makes our play areas different, we look at opportunities the grounds present, look at the surroundings, talk with the teachers and utilize mood boards to develop a scheme. Mood boards work well in staff rooms when teachers want a visual stimulus and a break from form filling and paperwork. We all love Pinterest (Search Forest School), this provides fantastic resources for gathering thoughts and images when there is limited time and it can form a brief, pictures work, words sometimes get confused!

We all love Pinterest (Search Forest School), this provides fantastic resources for gathering thoughts and images when there is limited time and it can form a brief, pictures work, words sometimes get confused!

https://www.slideshare.net/pd81xz/zq4b This link gives a superb guide and some great phrases and words to use in your grant applications, it’s well worth a read!

So what have we done with St Mary’s….

Within the outer boundary of the school is a small copse of trees, over the adjacent grassland is a slope to the school building and a grassed area. However, in the school is a teacher, keen on the outdoors and a ‘Ray Mears fanatic’. This is the start of the solution, this is the brief!

We suggested creating a woodland glade or a Forest School, enclosed with Hazel hurdles (very tactile and a product that dates back to ancient times when forest communities needed to enclose livestock using hazel woven panels) and a hedgerow that will grow to the rear of this and provide wildlife habitats and food.

A natural mulch pathway meanders through the glade, no edging, just sawn logs and planks of timber positioned to enable re- routing if required, that’s what it’s all about, ‘resources to make’, not a constructed area set in concrete!

We have included some tactile experiences en route including glacial boulders, rustic logs, and a fire pit. Fire pits are an exciting sensory experience and what could be better than a toasted marshmallow in school time?!

A ‘bush shelter’ canopy creates a weather shelter and we install clips to make an easy fix. Our firepits are removable to ensure the weekend ‘youth’ don’t eat all the marshmallows!

Rustic gateways form an ‘entrance’ and lead out to a grassed area where we have installed a den building frame and a balance beam star. This slopes down to an existing amphitheatre and the brick wall of the school building on which we have fixed a wipe board and 20 stone carvings produced by the school children.

 

Traditional skills and crafts are key to what we do, Lancashire is well known for its ‘making’ industry and we are keen to help schools and teachers revive the art of ‘making’, Forest Schools are great for this, they inspire!

Our Forest School Packs help set you off with a batch of materials and basic tools, it will get you started and will save a lot of time hunting for the right materials. http://www.playscapeengineering.co.uk/products/sensory/forest-school-pack-loose-parts-pack/

Our designer will help you create a master plan of your space, source products and cost out a scheme. We will even engage with your children and run a design session that might just develop something totally unique.

 

 

Stone Carving for Children

www.id-photo-app.com

Willow Weaving

www.id-photo-app.com

Willow shapes and figures

www.id-photo-app.com

Fire Pit

www.id-photo-app.com