Outdoor & Community Learning

At Harlow Green, we have developed an environment and curriculum which takes children beyond the classroom and places them into their natural environment as well as their community.

Forest School

Harlow Green is different from most schools in that it is a Forest School.  The Forest School approach provides a hands-on, practical education in our outdoor environment. This part of the curriculum is managed by a qualified Forest School Leader – Miss Rowe – who continuously maintains and develops her professional practice. The Forest Education Community has put together the guiding principles for Forest Schools. These principles were agreed to ensure good practice across the country.

  • Forest School is a long-term process of regular sessions, rather than a one-off or infrequent visits; the cycle of planning, observation, adaptation and review links each session.
  • It takes place in a woodland or natural environment to support the development of a relationship between the learner and the natural world.
  • We use a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for development and learning.
  • Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners.
  • It offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.

Our approach at Harlow Green is centred on enabling children to develop a sense of independence and self-motivation, they become more courageous and can learn to realistically assess situations, are more self-reliant and opportunistic. This approach particularly supports the development of self-esteem and self-confidence. The focus in Forest School and Outdoor Learning is on short achievable tasks which then build in complexity based on observations of the children’s needs and interests.

Community Work

Developing children’s understanding about their local community and providing the opportunity to positively impact upon it is essential in developing the future generation.  Through the regular curriculum but also through our outdoor curriculum, children are involved in projects which allows them to work within the local community in a variety of ways and to actively engage within it.

The Gnomes are coming.
The Gnomes are coming.
Continuing with our Gnome theme, the children decided they wanted more ‘houselike’ structures. Some used our tools to create dwellings, other improvised, converting nesting boxes into a gnome village. The children also made some...
Homes for Gnomes.
Homes for Gnomes.
This week across all Forest School sessions we have been learning about the history of Gnomes. This is part of an RHS campaign linked to the film Sherlock Gnomes, the purpose of which is...
A mess or is it a nest?
A mess or is it a nest?
This week we see Year 1 starting to apply their stick safety training and knowledge of our site, during a nest building challenge. In class we did a quick recap of this terms sessions,...
Stick Safety Training.
Stick Safety Training.
All children at Harlow Green take part in Stick Safety Training when they begin their journey into our Forest School. Natural resources are a fundamental part of our Outdoor Learning experience but it is...
Summer Sunshine and Fairy Houses.
Summer Sunshine and Fairy Houses.
Whilst some children continued to work in our garden, rotating the compost and cleaning out the hen house, others built some great shelters, creating shade for the rest of the school to use during...
Lovely Leaves.
Lovely Leaves.
This week Year 1 began to learn about leaf shape and structure, a topic that links with their current science lessons. They were taught how to remove leaves from living plants and trees safely,...
Garden Preparation
Garden Preparation
This week Year 2 worked incredibly hard preparing our raised beds ready for planting. They turned over the soil in the poly tunnel, mixing in horse manure to help the plants to grow. Our...
Spikes and Stings
Spikes and Stings
Continuing their Forest School adventures, Year 1 have been locating plants in our school grounds that may cause harm. We talked about the many benefits of these plants and how we make sure we...
Magic Spots
Magic Spots
Year 1 have enjoyed their first Forest School session. Over the term we will be investigating our school grounds and today we have been looking for Magic Spots. Spots that can give us a...