Forest Schools in Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire

Ecohab consultant Hannah Brett is Forest School trained to level 3 standard and has extensive experience running forest school sessions for Primary and Secondary schools in Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire. These skills are complemented by her past employment working with children both as a science teacher and as an educational park ranger.

Both Hannah Brett and Liz Powell have also worked with a charity, Heart of the Wild Wood (HofWW), in Oxfordshire, which runs forest school sessions for home education children and toddler/parent groups.

Forest school sessions are designed to maximise enjoyment whilst the leader facilitates specific activities in a woodland environment. Participants leave feeling motivated and more confident in themselves, whilst learning new skills and appreciating the great outdoors. Activities help the children develop in a holistic way whilst battling mental health issues and enhancing their wellbeing.

Forest school activities include experimental cooking on an open fire, climbing trees, shelter building and knot tying, safe tool use, pond dipping and mini beast hunting. We also offer some craft activities such as weaving, making bird feeders and making bug hotels. As ecohab consultants are experienced ecologist specialising in botany participants of forest school learn about native plant species and local wildlife whilst on nature walks.

Through the experience of being out in all weathers we are hoping to show everyone involved, teachers and volunteers included, that it can be fun and beneficial for children to become familiar with cold and rainy conditions. All activities including the use of tools allow the children to take appropriate risks in a safe environment.  

In 2015, both Hannah Brett and Melanie Kinghan, the founder of HofWW, were successful in receiving some funding support from the Society of Biology. Funds were used to open a forest school in Little Milton, Oxfordshire, on the local Nature Reserve, Wells Farm, managed by BBOWT (Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxford Wildlife Trust).