Forest & Farm School

Forest School
Forest School is an inspirational process, where ALL learners are made to feel equal, unique and valued. They are offered regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees. The pace and atmosphere is relaxed; children have freedom to explore and discover, initiate and drive their own learning, often needing to recognise and take appropriate risks, work together, solve problems and build resilience. In addition, they have lots of time to develop a strong, positive relationship with the natural world and to learn new skills.

Lutley is a Green Flag Eco-School, so has for many years had a strong environmental focus. The inclusion of Forest School in our EYFS and Keystage 1 curriculum has given us a whole new way to help children learn and develop, complementing class-based topics as well reflecting all our school values. The year-round programmes are delivered by two trained members of staff and our Forest School site is well-managed and risk-assessed but also wonderfully special with lots of wildlife. Children love their afternoons at Forest School. Together, we witness magical moments, share discoveries, grow in confidence and find new abilities.

 

Farm School
We are lucky to be supported in this project by our ‘VIPs’ – parents and grandparents who kindly share their time and gardening skills, enabling the children to engage in several activities during their Farm School sessions.

Farm School is a project we began in 2014.

We have been growing fruit and vegetables at Lutley since 2006, but no single group of children had been responsible for our allotment; therefore, although children always enjoyed any gardening activities, there was no continuity to the learning and no great sense of ownership of the garden.
The Farm School project ensures not only that every child has an opportunity to enjoy growing their own fruit and vegetables but that there is a far greater impact on lifelong learning and that through regular sessions, children can build their knowledge of how food is produced and a sense of respect for their environment.

Over the summer term, each class in Year 3 spends three afternoons in our allotment, located in a wonderfully sunny and sheltered spot behind the Teaching School. During these outdoor lessons, the children participate in the whole process of food production, from weeding and tilling the bare soil in our six raised beds, to harvesting, preparing and sharing the produce. In teams of nine or ten, the children carry our different gardening activities or tend our two chickens, Mabel and Gingersnap. In addition, the children learn about seed germination, composting and organic food production. We celebrate our successes and when failures occur, we consider possible causes and solutions.
In addition, the children visit our orchard of 25 fruit trees on the school field. In autumn, they harvest the fruit and either press it to make juice or use it in cooking. In the winter, they view the bare trees and new buds and in spring, they observe the blossom and setting fruit. This learning complements their science topics.

A small team of selected pupils carry out extra tasks; sowing early seeds and seed potatoes, watering the beds and tending to the chickens between sessions.