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Swaffham CE VC Infant and Nursery School
Learn to Love – Love to Learn!

Forest School

What is Forest School?


For all of you wondering 'What actually is forest school?' Forest School is a specialised learning approach that sits within and complements the wider context of outdoor and woodland education.


At Heartwood Forest School all Participants are Viewed as:


  • Equal, unique and valuable
  • Competent to explore and discover
  • Entitled to experience appropriate risk and challenge
  • Entitled to choose, and to initiate and drive their own learning and development
  • Entitled to experience regular success
  • Entitled to develop positive relationships with themselves and other people
  • Entitled  to develop a strong, positive relationship with their natural world


The Forest School Ethos has Six Principles


These principles are:


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


Heartwood Forest School at Swaffham CE VC Infant and Nursery School


At Swaffham CE VC Infant and Nursery School all the children take part in a weekly Forest School session, where their learning takes place outside in our wonderful, environmentally rich, onsite woodland setting. This enables the children experience and connect with nature.


The children will achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences, trying more risky activities such as tree climbing, building fires, using real tools and den building. 

Our School Value


This term our school value is Courage and we will be working on this value during our time in Heartwood Forest School.


What is courage?


It is the ability to face fear or danger; bravery. It takes courage to stand up for what you believe in.


Children need courage when they: 

  • Try new things even if they are scared, like learning to ride a bike or entering a new social situation.

  • Keep trying to master a new skill even when they are frustrated.

  • Do the ‘right’ thing in difficult situations, like standing up for another child. 


Having courage helps children to persevere against challenges, and in the process it raises their self-esteem. When children feel good about themselves and see that they have the personal power to make courageous choices, they are more likely to lead personally satisfying and successful lives.


Clothing for Forest School


Winter is now upon us and we wanted to remind you about what clothing will be best for your child/children.


We encourage children to dress themselves into their forest school clothing and provide support where necessary. Please bare this in mind, and provide clothing that encourages children to dress independently.


Wellies with linings are very difficult for the children to put on and if they get them wet its very difficult to dry them out. We advise wellies with no lining and plenty of extra socks :o)


If your child has forest school in the morning please can you make sure they are Forest School Ready with waterproofs and wellies on when they arrive at school. Please bring a change of shoes and a coat for when they come back into school.


'There's no bad weather, just bad clothing'

Due to the nature of the activities OLD CLOTHES are a necessity and parents/carers need to understand your child/children will get dirty!!


Spring/summer Autumn Winter
  • Long sleeved tops
  • Long bottoms (joggers/leggings)
  • Jumper/hoody/cardigan
  • Sturdy closed footwear/wellies (Not lined)
  • Waterproofs
  • Sun hats
  • Sun cream
  • Same as Spring/Summer plus
  • A thermal vest or vest
  • At least three layers on the top half, and one/two on the bottom half
  • Warm coat
  • Gloves, hats and scarfs
  • Wellies (Not lined) and at least two pairs of socks
  • Thermal waterproofs/all-in-ones/overalls

The key to keeping warm in Autumn/Winter time is lots of thin layers!!!!


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Co-op Local Community Fund


We are delighted that Heartwood Forest School at Swaffham Infant and Nursery School has been chosen to benefit from the Co-op Local Community Fund.


At a time when funds for community groups and charitable organisations are becoming more difficult to access, we are incredibly grateful for this opportunity to make a real difference to the children of Swaffham and surrounding villages. 


We are raising funds to help contribute towards the rebuild of the Forest after four mindless vandalism attacks. Also, the funds raised will enable the forest school to continue to educate over two hundred children a week, allowing them to connect with nature, improving their health and well-being. 


To help us raise vital funds, we will be relying on Co-op members. When a member buys selected products or services from the Co-op they earn five per cent reward for themselves, with a further one per cent for local causes like ours.


The Co-op is looking to support organisations that make a difference in their local communities by protecting and improving community spaces, helping people reach their full potential by developing their skills, or promoting health and well-being. 


Co-op members can choose a cause by going online We really hope that you will visit the website and choose to support us.


If you are not a member and would like to support us, you can join at your local store or online at


When a community comes together, we are able to achieve great things, so we hope you can help promote our project.


For more information about Heartwood Forest School, please visit


Thank you.



'Teaching children about the natural world should be treated as one of the most important events in their lives' - Thomas Berry


'Look deep, deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better' - Einstein

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