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Contact Information

01303 815665 / Registered Charity No. 307889 / Registered in England & Wales No. 419256

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The Caldecott School, Station Road, Smeeth, Ashford, Kent, TN25 6PW

Forest School

18th July 2022

“In every walk with nature, one received far more than one seeks” – John Muir

We all learn in different ways and at different paces; wherever you went to school, and whatever you might do as an adult, you have a learning style that works for you.

At Caldecott School, our students learn in many different ways, and we match our teaching styles to what they need. Forest School has been an integral part of our curriculum since 2019, and in 2022, we moved our forest school to Bilsington; 50 acres of ancient woodland, it’s everything our Forest School could possibly hope for – streams, hills, and valleys to explore and learn in.

Caldecott’s Forest School is a perfect place to learn. Students can go off with their walkie-talkies to explore their surroundings, map out routes in their heads, and being creative. When we talk about creativity, we mean a lot of different things;

Building their imaginations through seeing nature in all its glory and doing proper bush craft activities.

Problem solving (some of our students help move some water barrels from the School to the forest, and came up with solutions for getting the filled barrels up to the site). Playing; allowing them to lead on things in the forest school that interest them, and them time and focus to explore these interests. Introducing the students to reasonable and safe risk-taking; climbing trees and helping them understand how to plan a route up and down, how to saw wood, light a fire, and so on.

Team work (working together to move a six-foot log, for example, that we needed for firewood). Resilience in trying new things.

Forest School is always open, and there are only two reasons why we wouldn’t use the full forest; strong winds (40+ mph) or thunderstorms. Both understandable reasons, and even then, we have other options; cabins where we can practice different skills whilst protected from the elements.

Our school is dedicated to children with special educational needs, and we ensure that they get the opportunities to learn, grow, and develop as they would in any other type of school. It can be hard to build relationships within the walls of a classroom, but in this environment, the walls are taken away and we are led by each student’s needs.

In Forest School, our students process and understand the world around them and the experiences they’ve had. Whether they are toasting marshmallows, whittling down sticks, or learning which type of tree is best to climb (it’s hornbeam, in case you were wondering), they are still experiencing the world around them; it helps build their confidence (they can do this), their independence (here’s a walkie talkie – let’s explore), and improves their mental health. We are very proud of our Forest School.