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Dec 12 2012

Harrow Children learn skills at woodland school

Youngsters are learning vital skills outside the classroom thanks to a pioneering school.

Forest School , run by Harrow Council’s Education Strategy and School Organization Service and All Saints’ Church in Harrow Weald, has proved hugely successful during its first full term. The school, based on a Scandinavian approach to outdoor learning, is the first of its kind in North West London.

Children from schools across the borough visit to take part in all-weather sessions in woodland behind the church, which include using tools, building a fire, making shelters and willow weaving, all in a safe and supervised environment.  In the summer, scavenger hunts are organised and there is the chance to learn about plants and wildlife, while in the winter children can toast marshmallows and enjoy hot chocolate next to a warming camp fire.

The school, which is also supported by funding from the John Lyon’s charity, was piloted last summer and proved popular. Organisers are seeking additional funding so that it can expand even more.

Harrow Council Portfolio Holder for Children, Schools and Families, Cllr Mitzi Green, said: “This unique partnership has been a real success so far. It provides children with a different environment to boost their confidence and builds team work and communication skills. We are pleased with how this service has been received so far and look forward to its continued success in the future.”

Pupils from Weald Junior School have enjoyed a number of sessions.

Teacher Louise Kemp said: ‘This is a fantastic initiative. Our children have the opportunity to really work together as they explore the wood and make things from the natural materials they find there. It is a challenging but safe place for them to be.”

Joy Collins, Senior Professional, Harrow Education Strategy and School Organization Service, said: “The Forest School enables young people of all abilities to develop self confidence and a sense of achievement. Schools have told us that they have found it very valuable and pupils have really enjoyed taking part so we look forward to them returning next term.”

Reverend James Mercer, Vicar of All Saints Church, said: “Working in partnership to enable young people and adults to develop a self esteem and a sense of belonging is what the job is all about.”

For more information about the sessions, or to book, contact Joy Collins on 020 8416 8856 or joy.collins@harrow.gov.uk

Source: Harrow Council

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