Hollinswood Values at Forest School

There are numerous opportunities at Forest School for children to be taught and to display the four Hollinswood Values of responsibility, respect, resilience and resourcefulness.  Below are some examples.

Being responsible

Being responsible when getting ready


From the youngest nursery age of 3 years old, children are encouraged to have the responsibility to get themselves ready and prepared for spending time outdoors.  For 3 and 4 year-olds, this is a big task; to put on waterproofs, change into wellies, zip up coats and remember hats and gloves in the winter.  However, with positivity and encouragement, the children take on this responsibility and gradually learn to look after themselves.

As the children get older, they are expected to turn waterproof trousers the right way out to dry, put away wellies in the right place and leave the Forest School courtyard tidy.  Having responsibility for their own and school belongings is a skill that translates well back into the classroom and home life.

Responsibility to keep yourself safe

All children are taught and soon learn about the 'boundaries' at Forest School.  Some of these are physical boundaries made by the undergrowth or trees at the edge of the Forest School area but many are explained when children start Forest School and staff give pupils the responsibility to respect and adhere to these boundaries to keep themselves safe. In the Foundations Stage, use of games like hide and seek allow staff to test whether the children have learned where the boundaries are and if necessary, reminders are given not to stray beyond them.

Being responsible with risky activities

At Forest School children are given the opportunity to take risks in a safe, controlled environment.  For younger children, getting onto the rope swing is not easy, it also takes resilience and the children have to be careful not to bang into the tree or knock each other over.

We encourage children to use tools such as secateurs, saws and penknives at Forest School, which requires great responsibility from the children.  We have found that the children rise well to this challenge and show respect for the rules they are asked to follow and the tools they are using. 

Being respectful

Being respectful of the Forest School rules


Adults place a lot of trust in the children at Forest School. We trust them to be responsible and stay within the boundaries, we trust them to be respectful of the fire square rule and not go near the fire square whether there is a fire in the fire square or not.  Children are very respectful of this rule and remind their peers if they forget to follow it.

Being respectful of others

When working constructively, for example by making a den, children are often looking for and collecting similar items from around the Forest School area.  They have to learn to be respectful of each other’s property, share resources fairly and not steal each other's sticks!

Being resilient

Being resilient in the outdoors

Some of the children that attend our school are unused to spending extended periods of time outdoors, particularly during colder weather. When a class attends Forest School, they will do so each week for half or a whole term for around two hours. They need to be dressed for the outdoors and prepared to remain outside without access to warmth or toilets during this time. This definitely tests their resilience. 

Resilience with activities

There are often physical challenges that children undertake at Forest School. Staff endeavour to allow children to strive and complete these physical challenges with a minimum of intervention, encouraging the children to build their own perseverance and resilience.

One example of this is showing resilience when learning to use tools like peelers, penknives and bow saws.

Being resourceful

Resourcefulness with practical activities


Sometimes children choose to do an activity, but find they have no-one or no resources to do it with. These Reception children wanted to do some balancing, but the balancing rope wasn't available on this day, After a suggestion that they could make their own, the children worked together to find the logs they needed from around the Forest School and roll them into position, one by one. Once all the logs were in position, there was no available adult to help the children to balance, so they managed by themselves.

Resourcefulness when problem solving


There are many opportunities for problem solving at Forest School. Children often take part in picture hunts, bird hunts, Easter egg hunts etc where clues have to be solved or found to progress to the next clue. Orienteering challenges require children's resourcefulness and skill in first understanding a map and then relating this to where they need to go to find their checkpoint.