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Outdoor Learning and Forest School

More Outdoors -Outdoor Learning and Forest School at Moreland.

Why Outdoor Learning?



'Just as children need good nutrition, adequate sleep they also need to connect with nature.'- Richard Louv


'Natural places are singularly engaging, stimulating, life-enhancing environments, where children can reach new depths of understanding about themselves, their abilities and their relationship with the world around them.’ - Tim Gill


At Moreland children develop ecological awareness and have an understanding of their place in the world, they are learning to be active citizens so that they can appreciate and respect the world around them. 'No one will protect what they don’t care about; and no one will care about what they have never experienced.' - David Attenborough


The impact of COVID


Covid has restricted us all so much, we are living in uncertain times and have had to limit our social interaction in a way that has never happened before. Children need to be able to re-develop their interactions and connections with each other and the world around them.

Time in nature has many benefits for our health and well-being and being outside provides a safe environment for children to learn  and connect with others in these unprecedented times.



The Benefits of Outdoor Learning 


The Wildlife Trusts call for every child to have a daily one-hour nature boost.

Children’s well-being increased after they had spent time connecting with nature: the children showed an increase in their personal well-being and health over time, and they showed an increase in nature connection and demonstrated high levels of enjoyment.


The children also gained educational benefits as well as wider personal and social benefits:

  • 90% of children felt they learned something new about the natural world
  • 79% felt that their experience could help their school work
  • After their activities 84% of children felt that they were capable of doing new things when they tried
  • 79% of children reported feeling more confident in themselves
  • 81% agreed that they had better relationships with their teachers
  • 79% reported better relationships with their class-mates


Each class has the opportunity to have an hour outside everyday. In addition to play and lunchtimes, they also have take part in The Daily Mile and have at least one outdoor learning curriculum linked lesson a week.


The National Trust's 50 things to do before you're 11¾’ activity list:



In 2019 we surveyed our Year 6 and many children had not had the chance to complete the activities, this highlighted the need to provide our children with these experiences during school time and embed some of them as part of our curriculum.

Have a look at the ultimate 50 activities and see how many you have done? What would you like to do next?



Curriculum Linked Outdoor Learning


Prior to COVID each class had dedicated outdoor learning opportunities for each of their topics.

We had a comprehensive offer of trips and workshops and planned sessions within the school grounds that helped to stimulate learning and encourage exploration and discovery around topics and subjects.


Currently we are following government guidelines and are now able to go on trips again which has been brilliant for the children and staff.

See individual class pages for their most recent outdoor learning experiences.

Forest School at Moreland

What is Forest School?

'Forest School is a child-centred inspirational learning process, that offers opportunities for holistic growth through regular sessions. It is a long-term program that supports play, exploration and supported risk taking. It develops confidence and self-esteem through learner inspired, hands-on experiences in a natural setting.'-Forest School Association


Watch this video for an introduction to Forest School.

The benefits of Forest School:

Research has shown that children can benefit from Forest School sessions in a variety of ways:


Social skills



Physical skills

Knowledge and Understanding

New perspectives

Ripple effects 

(Murray and O'Brien, 2005, Jenner and Hughes, 2005) 



We are fortunate to have a dedicated Forest School Team at Moreland, our Assistant head is Level 3 trained and I am completing my level 3 training. We also have a very experienced outdoor learning teacher and 5 members of support staff who are completing their level 1 course. This means that every class can have a block of Forest School sessions during the year and throughout their time at Moreland they will be able to develop their Forest School skills each year.


Examples of experiences offered:

Make - shelter building, rope and knot work, fire safety, lighting and cooking

Create- natural arts and crafts, drama and music 

Play- team games, Natures Kitchen, tracking games

People- mindfulness, teamwork, reflection

Forests- hazard awareness and risk management, improving forest area, biodiversity and identifying living things


Forest School Rules:- poster to come

Fir Class (year 4) Using Tools at Forest School with The Garden Classroom

Fir Class Exploring, Discovering and Creating
This week we were learning more about who shares our Forest area, we found lots of interesting flowers and minibeasts. We also experimented with natural paints and mark making. We are developing our skills of identification, collaboration and reflection.

Worm Hunt

This week we went on a worm hunt! We were finding out what type of worms live in our forest area. We used ID charts and rulers, string and measuring tapes to measure the worms.

It was quite challenging to identify the worms because they were so small. If they were smaller than 2cm then they are not mature and we couldn’t use the identification guide, but we had loads of fun digging and searching for them.


Worms are Wonderful 

There are 5500 species of worm, 29 native to UK.

We found out that worms like to eat soil and dead leaves, plants and food scraps.

They help the soil by creating tunnels that increase the amount of air and water that gets into the soil. They need to be get moist, when it is hot they go deep underground. They don’t have lungs so they breathe through their skin.



Soil Scientists 

As part of our Forest skills we wanted to know what type of soil we had. We conducted three tests.

We conducted a test the soil composition. We made a ball and gave it a squeeze and found that we had clay soil.

Next we did a ribbon test by pressing the soil between our thumb and index finger and then measured the bits that broke off.  Then we did a texture test by making a puddle and feeling whether the soil was smooth or gritty or both. Finally we tested the PH levels of the soil.

“ The soil is gritty, but when you put your fingers on it, it is smooth too.” “I can feel crumbs.” 
As you can imagine we got very messy, but it was lots of fun being soil scientists! 
“I never knew there was clay and sand in mud.”- Malika

“We learned lots of facts about soil.”-Mayah

“I liked collecting the worms for the compost bin.” -Aras 




Rowan Class (year 5) First Forest School Session

Today we found out about how to be safe in the forest area and what lives in our forest.


We explored our space, did a nature scavenger hunt, some of us chose to look for minibeasts and we all learnt how to do an overhand knot.


To help us remember the rules ‘We look after each other’, ‘We look after ourselves’ and ‘We look after our Forest’ we used our new knot skills to make friendship bracelets by making a three strand plait or did a paired twisted bracelet.

The skills we were developing were teamwork, fine motor skills, concentration and perseverance when things are a challenge!
We had lots of fun and are looking forward to our next session.

Year 5 Forest School