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I’m sure it won’t have escaped your notice that children have had precious-little time outside in the last three years. Covid disrupted the natural harmony of all our lives and had such a profound impact of children’s education that, I fear, we are only just starting to see the full impact of. Children’s ability to play, explore, take risks and generally just enjoy being outdoors has been completely fractured, and it is our collective job to try and mend this.

Since becoming Headteacher at Kirkburton CE Frist School, myself and all the staff here have been determined to do what we can to, in the words of Joel 2:25 – repay the years that the locust has eaten. We are blessed here at Kirkburton with a relatively small school in stunning, large grounds. As a school, we decided to invest a massive (for us) sum of money to make the most of this space by installing a 30-seater outdoor classroom complete with whiteboard. Our offer at Kirkburton First School is that every child in our school will get (an average of) half an afternoon of Forest School and Outdoor Learning every week. We have two members of staff who are currently undertaking the Level 2 Forest School Accreditation and this outdoor classroom now gives them a high-quality base for lessons to take place. It also gives staff and children some protection from the elements, which when you live in Huddersfield is too-often much-needed!


Since we started our Forest School initiative in September, the children have taken part in a huge range of activities, from tree surveys to shelter building, from making bird feeders to exploring the different micro-habitats the woodland has to offer.

The reaction from children and parents has been hugely positive. Children are so excited about their forest school sessions as it gives them a genuine opportunity to explore and stretch themselves, both as individuals and as groups of children, in a safe environment. We are really looking forward to moving on to higher-level activities such as using fire-pits, building dens and creating natural art as we head into the spring. We are also taking part in the community project, organised by WOVEN where we will be working with different artists to grow flowers for colour, dye wools and create textile designs. We firmly believe that children need to be outside, need to be working together and need to be learning to take risks like never before. Forest Schools is really helping them to achieve this.

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