Unveiling the Magic of Forest Schools: Where New Learning Happens Naturally.

Children in forest schoolA unique approach by a school in Ellesmere Port is having a huge impact on children who find learning in the conventional way a challenge.

Rivacre Primary School works in partnership with Groundwork to provide a forest school that makes learning an unforgettable adventure.

Making Memories
At Rivacre, every child is given a ‘Memory Maker Passport’ that is stamped with ‘life experiences’. The Forest School has quickly become a weekly ‘memory maker’.

It is my favourite day of the week.

Huge Impact
Groundwork Project Officer Ian Jones has been working with a class of 26 children from Years One and Two. Of those 26 children, 11 have an EHCP Education Health Care Plan (EHCP). This means that their needs are unique and varied and each requires adult support. By integrating fun with practical learning, the sessions ignite curiosity, resilience and huge anticipation for Forest School, which takes place every Wednesday morning. They even get to vote on the activities they’d like to take part in that day. Year 2 pupil Harry says; “It is my favourite day of the week”.

Hands-On Exploration
The forest school is funded by the Firethorn Trust and since September 2023, 134 pupils have benefitted from Ian’s structured sessions and developing practical learning skills. From firelighting, cooking and bug hunting, to crafting bird feeders with lard and seeds, the Forest School has become an area that all of the children are involved in, where they are planting, making and enhancing the garden through their weekly lessons.

Personal Connections
Ian’s 1-1 engagement fosters trust and a safe space for questions. In a recent session, Lola has seamlessly applied counting skills, while creating decorations and sawing up logs, showcasing the cross-curricular magic.

It’s such a joy to work with these amazing children.

Ian says: “It’s such a joy to work with these amazing children and to see how outdoor learning is transforming their lives. Each week you can see a visible difference in their self-confidence and their willingness to engage and explore. I honestly look forward to these sessions as much, if not more, than they do.”

Life Skills Unleashed
Groundwork’s Forest School isn’t just about learning; it’s a chance for every child to acquire invaluable life skills.

The school wants the learning to continue beyond the current funding and are looking to engage Ian to deliver even more sessions so that every pupil in the school can take part.

Ian has weaved his magic with this group of children.

Trish Harrison who is one of the teachers at Rivacre’s says, “Ian clearly has great subject knowledge which he shares willingly with the children. They look forward to their sessions each week and each one is like a mini adventure. Good learning happens when the children don’t even realise they are doing it. Ian has weaved his magic with this group of children – creating a memory maker they’ll cherish forever!”

If you’re a local school interested in working with Groundwork to deliver a forest school, contact Ian Jones on 07860 839 294 to find out more.

Ian Jones with Rivacre pupils   Personalised logs created by pupils