Forest Schools

What is it?

Forest School is nature-based child-centred learning that takes place outdoors. 


It is a long-term programme that supports play, exploration and supported risk taking. It develops confidence and self-esteem through  hands-on experiences in natural settings.


It is closely linked to well-being recognising the social, emotional and physical needs of the students. 

 Forest Schools link –

Why we do it?

At Sandside Lodge School we follow a Forest Schools approach accessible to all students. Over the past five years students have loved this programme and benefited in many ways. Such as:

  • working as a team 
  • learning new skills
  • becoming more adventurous
  • increasing resilience when the weather has other ideas!
  • appreciating nature
  • caring for plants and animals
  • visiting new places and finding their way round
  • building confidence when doing new activities
  • respecting the environment and keeping it clean
  • sleeping better at night from all the fresh air!

Now the school is at a new site we have the advantage of having a small wood area attached to the school to use.

This is a new project and we are developing it to suit our students’ needs. The students will be very much involved in helping to make this area an interactive and enjoyable place to learn.

We already have two learning pods with electricity and and new outdoor tap.  It is exciting to see what ideas the staff and students will bring. Watch this space!

What impact it has?

Students engage better outdoors and remember what they have done. They have the chance to apply their learning in a new environment.

Students get a sense of real achievement and enjoyment.

The process helps students develop socially, emotionally, spiritually, physically and intellectually.

It creates a safe, non-judgemental, nurturing environment for students to try various activities out and take risks.

Forest School inspires a deep and meaningful connection to the world and an understanding of how we all fit within it.

Our approach to risk means that students constantly expand on their abilities by solving real-world issues, building self-belief and resilience.

Forest Schools helps students at Sandside Lodge School to become, healthy, resilient, creative and independent learners.

Example of session

We meet outside in the woodland. The birds are chirping, the gentle wind rolls across the hills while wellington boots search for puddles or mud!

The woodland has been checked and the equipment is ready. Our focus in on the well-being,  (physical and emotional) of each student. The woodland space is a blank canvas, full of textures and materials ready to be experienced.

During this time of exploration and discovery, the adults’ role is to provide the safety and security for students to take calculated risks and learn new skills whilst having lots of fun!


We love being outdoors and are very lucky to have so much natural beauty on our school doorstep.

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