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Crumpets toasting on an open fire as John Rankin rolls out Forest School scheme across all year groups



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Children at a Newbury school are the first in the town to be offered frequent outside learning, as part of a new scheme.

Forest School will see pupils in all year groups at John Rankin primary school taught in the great outdoors on a regular basis.

And last week it was the turn of the foundation stage pupils to enjoy some fun and smiles over the firepit as they toasted their own crumpets outside.

John Rankin School - Forest School activities. Ref: 04-0222.
John Rankin School - Forest School activities. Ref: 04-0222.

The youngest pupils at the school have set the ball rolling over the past term in their quest for outdoor adventures, enjoying mud face paints, hot chocolate from a Kelly kettle and popcorn from the campfire.

But, determined to allow every pupil to reconnect with nature in the wake of stifling Covid lockdown restrictions, the school are forging ahead with their ambitious plan to make it accessible to all.

The Forest School scheme will give all age groups the chance to engage with wildlife and learn outdoors.

John Rankin School - Forest School activities. Ref: 04-0222.
John Rankin School - Forest School activities. Ref: 04-0222.

Felix Rayner, executive headteacher at John Rankin said: “We are very lucky to have an incredible outdoor space at John Rankin.

“We are proud and extremely excited to begin rolling out Forest School opportunities to all our year groups from foundation to year six over the coming terms.

“We feel this initiative will have a very positive effect on the children’s attitude to learning in and out of the classroom.

“It has already started to have great impact in supporting the mental health of our children. I would like to thank Miss Knape for leading on this work and the PTFA for supporting it financially.”

John Rankin School - Forest School activities. Ref: 04-0222.
John Rankin School - Forest School activities. Ref: 04-0222.

The school said that during their Forest School sessions pupils gain essential life skills and learn to foster resilience and creativity.

From the age of just four they are using real tools for cooking, hammering and peeling and are getting the chance to engage with nature, discover ways to give back to wildlife and learn how they can have an impact on the environment.

John Rankin is the only school in Newbury with its own woodland, making it ideal for a Forest School.

It sits in an enviable natural environment, which includes a fire pit circle, tall trees, space for den building and endless opportunities for big learning in the great outdoors, the school added.

John Rankin School - Forest School activities. Ref: 04-0222.
John Rankin School - Forest School activities. Ref: 04-0222.


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