Forest schools are becoming increasingly popular but a lot of people aren’t aware of the many forest schools in their area and just how much they can do for their children. Here we look at some of the forest schools available in Wirral…
Lots of schools hold their own forest schools, outdoor learning sessions, or woodland sessions on site. There are independent forest schools you can book and attend as a family too. Here we look at some of the forest school options available in Wirral.
Woodland sessions at Tam O’Shanter Woodland, Bidston
GROW-Wellbeing C.I.C. is a not-for-profit organisation that delivers creative, personally affirmative opportunities for children, young people, and adults to engage in activities in the natural environment. Their mission is to support healthy communities, strongly connected to the natural environment. To achieve this, they deliver programmes aimed at building relationships between people, with a commitment to diversity and inter-generational co-operation, and the natural world.
Using forest learning, creative arts, storytelling, nature studies, outdoor adventures, games, play, and eco-therapy, they aim to support the growth and development of resilient children and young people, committed to the future stewardship of the natural environment.
Kinder Garden Stay’n’Play | 12 months – 4 years
Sessions may include a sensory walk through their woodland area, touching, feeling, looking, and listening whilst collecting and interacting with trees, leaves, and insects (and other adults and children). The session is unhurried but responsive to the needs and interests of your little ones – the mud kitchen area is always popular, but there are lots of other resources, natural and brought, and there is always something for them to engage with, including just ‘being’ in the woods!
Woodland Explorers | 5-14 years
Woodland Explorers is for slightly more independent 5-14-year-olds, with a greater sense of adventure. Children and young people can explore the magical Woodland Glade at Tam O’Shanter Farm with lots of free play, which children relish, but the leaders also initiate activities connected with the natural world, including games, challenges, discovery, creativity, problem-solving, and forest craft skills.
Children love it when they get a chance to den build or learn how to light a fire using a fire steel! These sessions always finish off with hot chocolate, toasted apple, and marshmallows! Drop them off with waterproofs and wellies, and pick them up after the 2-hour session.
Family Forest Workshops
Family Forest fun activities in a woodland glade including storytelling, nature craft, den building, and marshmallows over the campfire. Opportunities for exploring the woodland, craft activities with natural materials, and opportunities for exploration, curiosity, and imagination… a woodland quest and finish off by toasting marshmallows for s’mores!
Claremont Farm, Old Clatterbridge Road, Bebington,
Wirral Wildlings, love the outdoors and really believes in the many benefits of nature play and connection. They also believe nature provides the ultimate platform to stimulate children’s curiosity and learning.
They provide opportunities for nature connection in the form of forest school sessions for tots, babies, and families. We also provide social and learning sessions for alternative education families, as well as holiday clubs, storytelling, and other outdoor events.
Wild Play | Ages: 1-7 | Usual Days: Tuesday & Wednesday | Price: From £6
A fun and exciting woodland playgroup for all ages (non-walking siblings are FREE). Each week provides an opportunity to explore the woods, swing in the hammocks, play in thier mud kitchens and water areas and enjoy the nature experience!
Wild Tots | Ages: 1-5 | Usual Days: Mondays & Fridays | Price: From £9
A fun and stimulating parents and tots group for 1-5-year-olds (Siblings under 18 months are FREE). The group incorporates crafts, wellbeing, wild play, stories, mud kitchens, and all the fun of the forest! Each week provides an opportunity to explore the woodland, swing in the hammocks, and connect with nature.
Wild Baby | Ages: 0-18 months | Usual Day: Thursday | Price: From £9
Wild Baby is a fantastic way to connect with other mums and dads over tea and biscuits in a delightful forest location. Make a natural toy for your little one to take home, relax in the hammocks, practice mindfulness, forest bathe in the sensory delights of the woodland, play in the mud kitchens, tuff trays, and water/music areas, and improve your wellbeing!
Wild Family | Ages: 1-14 | Usual Days: Saturday/Sunday | Price: From £9.50
An exciting opportunity for the whole family to connect, learn and play together in a stimulating natural environment! A fun, woodland wellbeing group for all ages with opportunities to explore the outdoors, swing in the hammocks, take part in craft activities and make special memories in the woods.
Siblings under 18 months are FREE.
Wild Explorers Holiday Club | Ages: 4-14 | Usual Days: Mondays & School Holidays | Price: From £11
Learning opportunities for youngsters to attend without parents. They will experience campfire cooking, bushcraft, tool use, stories, nature art, clay work, crafts, games, and much more – all designed to develop their confidence and self-esteem. There will be opportunities for youngsters to take supported and appropriate risks that aim to foster resilience and build independent and creative learners.
Birkenhead Park – A forest school for local schools to attend
Birkenhead Park has its own dedicated team of forest school leaders, offering sessions to children from five years upwards from local schools. They are passionate about assisting the development of local children through experiential learning. A connection to nature is a calming influence and their gentle nurturing approach encourages children to communicate, be active, increases confidence and has been shown to help with behavioural issues like ADHD, allowing learners to be less distracted by their environment while approaching real-life problems in real-time at their own speed in a relaxed fashion.
Forest schools sessions typically:
- Have a structured start and end.
- Last two hours.
- Involve a number of activities.
- Will have at least one creative craft available.
- Is child-led, and where possible child-initiated learning. Therefore, it’s structured but not directive.
Examples of activities:
- Den building.
- Games (educational/developmental)
- Tracking skills.
- Messy play.
- Broomstick building.
- Clay play.
- Exploring senses.
Staff and site qualities:
- Staff experienced in tool use, in a variety of ways.
- Sites managed by us, by people who know what hazards to look for.
- All activities insured and risk assessed by us.
- Local; delivery within a ten-minute walk from your school, or minibus transport provided.
- All Equipment provided, including the Forest!!
- All staff CRB or DBS checked.
- All sites assessed by experienced and qualified staff.
Schools in Wirral that offer forest schools
A lot of schools and preschools in Wirral offer forest schools to their students here is a selection of them:
Barnston Buddies – Their sessions are offered to their term-time pre-school children in small groups over a 5-or-6-week period and to primary children during school holidays as a 3-day course.
Birkenhead School – They offer outdoor classroom and forest school sessions to their students. Which offers an exciting and stimulating environment in which children not only learn about nature but also take part in a variety of outdoor activities connected to different areas of the curriculum.
Leasowe Nursery School and Family Centre – Their forest school is a wonderful place for children to learn. Weekly sessions are held for children aged 2 to 4 years. The sessions are run by qualified Forest School Leaders and children explore the forest area, climbing trees, splashing in mud pits, building dens, drinking hot chocolate, and roasting marshmallows by the fire. It’s a tell-tale sign of a good session when they come home a little muddier than when they were dropped off at school!
Heygarth Primary School – The Forest School journey at Heygarth Primary School began in February 2018 and since then has been full of fun, mud, laughter, and adventure! During their time in forest schools, children will engage in a variety of experiences and develop a range of skills.
Brackenwood Infant School – At Brackenwood they have invested in their forest school area. Forest school is a long-term process of regular sessions, rather than one-off or infrequent visits, with a cycle of planning, observation, adaptation, and review which links each session.
Poulton Lancelyn Primary School – Poulton Lancelyn Primary School operates the forest schools programme for groups of specifically identified pupils. Forest School is an exciting initiative that enables pupils to access outdoor learning and develop their curiosity for the world around them. Through pupil-led learning, the programme allows children to explore their creativity and ideas, bringing those ideas to life in the outdoors. Collaboratively, pupils will develop a respect for the outdoors and understand that the outdoors are to be treasured and not feared. Through the forest school programme, they aim to develop resilient, confident, logical, and independent learners
Does your child or young person attend a Wirral forest school? Let us know your own experiences in the comments.