Canklow Woods Primary School

Canklow Woods Primary School

Part of White Woods Primary Academy Trust

Wood Lane, Rotherham, South Yorkshire, S60 2XJ

01709 828405

Forest School


"Children must be taught how to think, not what to think" - Margaret Mead

Forest School is all about getting children outdoors. It is child-led, which means children are given the freedom and responsibility to choose how they want to learn.

Adults support children’s learning by:

  • Observing - what are children exploring? How are they exploring? What are they learning?
  • Interacting - in the right moment, to support, reflect and extend
  • Reflecting - how can we take this further? What do the children need? What sparks their interests?
  • Planning - experiences which explore children’s interests and support their development based on observations.
  • Nurturing positive relationships built on mutual respect.

The child is at the heart of everything in Forest School and at Canklow Woods Primary, we believe the ethos of Forest Schools aligns with our own, as such, we aim to deliver sessions as authentically as possible.

Research has shown that regular, long-term access to Forest School builds independence and self-esteem in young children. Being outdoors has been proven to have a positive impact on physical and mental health and "playing out" helps children form friendships, develop communication skills, resolve conflict and build confidence. This has become increasingly important in recent years, particularly after the pandemic. Playing in mud has also been linked to a strong immune system!

Building a connection to the natural world is vital for children to understand their impact on the environment. At Canklow Woods, we are very fortunate to have access to a large outdoor area, which the children will be involved in managing, improving and conserving as part of Forest School sessions. Through Forest School, we aim to foster a love and respect for the natural world, inspiring children to value conservation, biodiversity and sustainability.

Click here and here for more information on the benefits of outdoor play.


Currently, FS2, Y2 and Y4 have regular access to Forest School.

FS2 - Friday AM

Y4 - Tuesday PM

Y2 - Thursday PM



The Forest School mantra is "there is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing." Different weather conditions offer different learning experiences. Forest School goes ahead in most weather so please ensure your child is dressed appropriately. We recommend a minimum of:

  • arms and legs covered
  • sturdy footwear or wellies (donations are greatly appreciated!)
  • waterproof coat (old ones are best!)
  • hats, scarves and gloves in colder weather
  • spare socks!

School uniform is usually adequate in the afternoons but children love puddles and they WILL get muddy! Please be aware that although we will always try to find spares for children who need them, we do not always have enough. Please return any spares to school. Donations of old clothes are very much appreciated!

Waterproof trousers are advised to protect clothing, we have a full class set of puddle suits in foundation.

Please do not feel that you have to buy anything new. Old clothes are best!



Keeping children safe is of utmost importance and even the weather has been risk assessed! The weather forecast will be checked and a site assessment will be carried out before each session. Forest School will not go ahead if the weather poses a risk, such as high winds, extreme temperatures and lightening storms.


Risky play

“The more risks you allow children to take, the better they learn to take care of themselves” - Roald Dahl

The nature of Forest Schools means children experience activities with a higher level of risk. This helps children identify and manage risk, helping them to understand how to keep themselves safe, understand their limits and develop accountability. Research has shown that experiencing and learning to manage risk has enormous benefits for children’s development. An extensive risk-benefit analysis has been carried out and all further activities are risk assessed before they go ahead to help keep your child safe. You can find the basic risk-benefit analysis below.