Forest School

Forest School has been proven to support the holistic development of children through child-led learning in an outdoor environment and is currently accessed by some Phase 2 classes. Forest School at Milestone Academy aims to support emotional, social and physical development of students through providing opportunities to take supported risks, work and play in social groups and explore nature through child-initiated activities. The use of tools and natural resources encourages creativity and imaginative skills. Forest school at Milestone Academy promotes independence, problem solving skills and communication skills, which in turn boosts confidence and self-esteem. Forest School encourages principled learners, who care about the environment and are aware of the changing world around them. Being in nature has been proven to have a positive impact on mental health and Forest School provides students with time outdoors, away from technology and the structured and directed classroom environment. Transdisciplinary learning will be brought from the classroom into Forest School making cross-curricular links to the IB topics students will be studying each term.

As part of our Outdoor Learning curriculum, students will attend Forest School sessions led by Cheryl, a trained Forest School leader, and the class teams. Students will have the freedom to guide their own learning, with activities such as exploring the woodland environment, building dens, finding minibeasts, climbing trees and erecting temporary shelters. Students shall be taught to use hand tools to create woodland crafts, building on skills they have learnt with each session. A key part of the Forest School experience is a campfire and completing campfire cooking, following safety procedures with adult supervision. Students will be supported in cooking a range of foods using different techniques.

Forest School is held in a secure area within the grounds of Milestone Academy main site in New Ash Green.

Forest School shall be held whatever the weather so students should be dressed appropriately. We recommend students wear layers, with a waterproof coat and wellington boots for cold weather and removable layers, boots and sun protection in warm weather. 

the principles of forest school

  • Principle 1: Forest School is a long-term process of frequent and regular sessions in a woodland or natural environment, rather than a one-off visit. Planning, adaptation, observations and reviewing are integral elements of Forest School.
  • Principle 2: Forest School takes place in a woodland or natural wooded environment to support the development of a relationship between the learner and the natural world.
  • Principle 3: Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners.
  • Principle 4: Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.
  • Principle 5: Forest School is run by qualified Forest School practitioners who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice.
  • Principle 6: Forest School uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for development and learning.

Can you help?

During Forest School, students have the opportunity to express their creativity and use problem solving skills in a range of different activities, using lots of different resources. We would gratefully receive any donations of the following items for use within our Forest School and outdoor learning areas:

  • Tree stumps 
  • Long branches (4 to 8 cm in diameter) 
  • Clean guttering
  • Tinder and kindling
  • White cotton sheets or pillow cases (torn, ripped or holey, we don’t mind!)
  • Gardening forks or trowels
  • Metal pots and saucepans 
A female student is seen smiling for the camera, whilst outdoors in her winter coat and holding onto a long tree branch.
A male student is pictured building a shelter beside a tree trunk in the forest using large tree branches.
A female student is pictured wearing her own clothes outdoors in the forest, using a knife to shave the bark off of a tree branch,
A female student is pictured using some saucepans to hold soil outside in the forest, alongside her peers.
A young girl is seen smiling for the camera, whilst leaning forward to toast a marshmallow on a stick over a fire in the forest.
A young male student is pictured wearing his winter coat outdoors in the forest, whilst holding a book in his hands all about insects.