We’ve built a Forest School in Leeds!

Ice creams. Mud kitchen. Sensory walk. Reading corner. What a way to start a day?! Last Wednesday we got to attend the launch of Sherburn Hungate Primary School’s brand-new Forest School, and it was absolutely joyful.

The delivery of this fantastic new programme has only been possible through the partnership of Yorkshire Children’s Charity with Wastecare Group Environmental Trust and Battrecycle , with the facilities built by the brilliant team at Elite Forest School.

Sherburn Hungate Primary School is full to the brim of incredibly passionate teachers, consistently striving to deliver the best for their students. Sherburn’s students come from all walks of life, but an increasing number are living in homes hardest hit by the ‘perfect storm’ of the pandemic, cost of living and energy crisis. Access to outdoor green spaces isn’t always easy for many of Sherburn’s families, and lockdown was an incredibly hard and isolating experience for a number of students.

Niamh – Sherburn Hungate’s Forest School Lead and Class Teacher – is just one of Sherburn’s dedicated teachers. After hearing Niamh’s vision for Forest School and the impact it would undoubtedly have, our collective support was simply a no brainer. Open to the whole school, and with future plans to also open up to local community nurseries, Forest School provides a place for learning, connection, self-reflection and healing.  The pupils themselves have been at the heart of Forest School development and construction, from designing their very own entrance path to steering the benefits they themselves want to get out of it.

For Sherburn’s students, they believe Forest School will bring them:

  • Opportunities to learn about choice, independence, responsibility and risk.
  • A chance to be creative and discover nature.
  • Improved relationships with adults and their peers.
  • A better understanding of their emotions and the best ways to manage these.
  • A chance to build up their physical, emotional and mental strength.

Niamh says: “Children enter our school lacking confidence, social skills, communication, motivation, physical skills and knowledge and understanding of the wider world. A Forest School allows children to develop themselves through healthy engagement with risk, problem solving and self-discovery, all within a natural environment with a hands-on and thoughtful manner. We’re so, so lucky that our construction has finished and we’re in the process of launching Forest School into our curriculum, with the plan being for the next academic year every class will access the Forest School and we will start to see these incredible benefits come to life.”

Yorkshire Children’s Charity want to say a HUGE thank you to Wastecare Group Environmental Trust and Battrecycle for their incredible support with this initiative. We can only continue to make things better with the amazing support of people like them!

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