A Breath of Fresh Air: The Forest School Experience

May 1, 2024

A group of Year 4 students stood together in the Forest School area

Last term, Head of Prep School Mrs Ward spoke to the HMC (The Heads’ Conference) about our dedicated Forest School, what it means to have Forest School lessons and the benefits to the children. 

At Hulme Grammar Prep School, our commitment to education extends beyond the traditional classroom and embraces the boundless possibilities of the natural world. Our Forest School stands as a testament to our dedication to providing a unique and dynamic learning experience that fosters curiosity, promotes holistic development and nurtures a love for learning. It complements our curriculum and enhances the educational journey of our children from Pre-Prep through to Year 6.

Forest School is not merely an outdoor activity; it is an educational approach that prioritises outdoor learning, hands-on exploration and a profound connection to nature. It serves as a space where students actively engage with their environment, fostering confidence, resilience and a sense of wonder through practical activities. Unsurprisingly then, there are a myriad of benefits to Forest School.

Child playing in Forest School

The Benefits of Forest School

Holistic Development
Forest School activities are carefully crafted to stimulate physical, emotional, social and cognitive development. By participating in nature-inspired challenges, our students learn valuable life skills such as problem-solving, teamwork, and creativity. The holistic approach ensures that education goes beyond academic knowledge, nurturing well-rounded individuals.

Connection to Nature
In an era dominated by screens and technology, Forest School offers a precious opportunity for students to disconnect and immerse themselves in the beauty and tranquillity of the natural world. This connection to nature becomes a source of inspiration, fostering a deep appreciation for the environment and a sense of responsibility towards its preservation.

Boosted Confidence
Outdoor challenges and the mastery of new skills contribute to the natural flourishing of self-confidence and self-esteem among our pupils. Our beautiful Forest School setting provides a supportive environment for personal growth, where students are encouraged to take risks, overcome obstacles and celebrate their achievements, building a foundation for lifelong confidence.

Enhanced Wellbeing
Numerous studies have shown that spending time in nature can reduce stress and anxiety. Forest School at Hulme Prep School is a sanctuary where emotional wellbeing and mental clarity are prioritised. Our peaceful outdoor setting provides students with a respite from the demands of modern life, contributing to a positive and nurturing educational environment.

Respect for the Environment
Forest School instils a deep respect for the planet and promotes environmental awareness. Our students develop a sense of responsibility toward the natural world, cultivating a sustainable mindset that is crucial for addressing global challenges. Through hands-on experiences, they gain a profound understanding of the interconnectedness of all living things and the impact of human actions on the environment.


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Under the expert guidance of our Forest School Curriculum Lead, students have the invaluable opportunity to:

Investigate the wonders of our ancient forest setting and gardens, discovering the intricate relationships between plants, animals and natural ecosystems. Through guided exploration, students develop a genuine curiosity for the world around them, sparking a lifelong love of learning.

Engage in imaginative play, craft projects and natural art using materials sourced directly from these enriching environments. This creative expression fosters individuality, innovation and an appreciation for the beauty found in nature, enhancing the overall learning experience.

Confront challenges such as building shelters, navigating diverse terrain and finding creative solutions to real-world problems. These hands-on experiences not only develop critical thinking skills but also promote resilience and adaptability, essential qualities for success in the future.

Study Science and Geography in an outdoor setting, bringing classroom concepts to life amidst the vibrant backdrop of nature. The integration of academic subjects with practical, real-world experiences enhances understanding and retention, making education an immersive and memorable experience for our students.

The Forest School experience at Hulme Grammar Prep School goes beyond being an ’additional activity’; it is an integral part of our commitment to providing a well-rounded education, with classes spending a full morning or afternoon in the forest fortnightly.

By immersing our students in the wonders of the natural world, we not only complement classroom learning but also lay the foundation for a lifelong love of learning, curiosity and respect for the environment. As our pupils explore, create, problem-solve and learn in the embrace of nature, they are not just acquiring knowledge but cultivating a deep connection with the world around them, preparing them for a future where understanding, appreciation, and stewardship of the environment are paramount.

Read the article on the HMC website here.