Saturday, 16 October 2021

Learning without walls

‘This is the best kind of classroom,

‘This is the best kind of classroom,

No walls, just sky and trees,

This is the best kind of classroom,

No radiators, just a gentle breeze’

SO said Ian MacMillan and this is the belief behind the Forest School movement, which has really taken hold in the UK.

Forest School practitioners take children out into a woodland area, to deliver the early years curriculum in a unique way, without the boundaries to learning that can arise within a traditional indoor classroom. Children have the freedom to explore using all their senses and really develop an appreciation of the environment through regular visits to the same woodland area.

The Old Station Nursery took over Orchard Farm Day Nursery on the Fair Mile in Henley in January, and the team are in the process of opening their own Forest School in a woodland area behind the nursery.

All children from babies upwards already have a lovely amount of outdoor play space, but toddlers and pre-schoolers will have regular sessions in the woodland area with a qualified Forest School leader.

All the staff have already undergone some initial training, but the whole team are really excited by this chance to really make the most of their lovely rural setting and to give the children even greater choice.

The nursery also plans to open the Forest School to other nurseries and schools in the area, so if anyone is interested they should contact the manager, Julie Crake on (01491) 577716 or email

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