Provider:Doncaster College

Project:Forest School Out of School Club

Doncaster College is a large provider of further education in Doncaster delivering education and training to young people from 14 years to 18 years and to adults from 19 years upwards. It is one of the largest providers of higher education in the region successfully delivering vocational, academic, Apprenticeships and Traineeship programmes.

Forest School Out of School Club is an intervention programme designed to support disadvantaged children in Doncaster. Forest School is an experience building process that offers children regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence through hands-on learning in a woodland environment. Forest School programmes are child-centred and are deliberately designed to promote the holistic development of the child.

The experiences children will engage with include: den building, setting up shelters, fire lighting, cooking, using tools, investigating natural woodland, making mud pies, and a range of other experiences.  Children will be issued with a Children’s University passport, which will be stamped after each week’s attendance and will contribute towards the Children’s University bronze award.

Forest School is committed to a longitudinal approach to supporting children to become independent and resourceful learners who can respond appropriately, reciprocate experiences, and appreciate reflection as a key to learning. The holistic approach develops emotional intelligence through the development of: self-awareness, self-regulation, self-motivation, empathy and social skills. In addition children develop these attributes through physical and creative opportunities.

Children are supported through trusting relationships to recognise risk and make decisions about  their own safety, for example using tools to make a swing, or starting a fire for warmth and a source for cooking. Forest School creates a ‘can do’ attitude, self-esteem and resilience for children to build upon throughout their lives.  Meeting the personal, social and emotional needs of children at this young age will have a positive impact on their mental health in the future. 

The project involves working with 12 local schools within the Doncaster borough. Each school is offered 15 pupil places for children aged 4-11 on a Forest School intervention programme run as an out-of-school club for a 12 week period, one day a week.

Supporting quotes

I love Forest School, I can play with my friends and I love to find worms. 

I want to come to Forest School again because it’s not boring like school.  

Can we come everyday to Forest School, I want to use the  saw to make more cookies.