An otherwise overgrown piece of land in Upper Boddington has been reclaimed to become an outdoor educational oasis where children can learn, explore and express themselves.
Acorn to Oak Woodland Learning is the creation of Kate Johnson who, with her husband Chris and the blessing of the Parish Council, cleared away bramble and nettles to create a mulit-station woodland learning outdoor classroom.
Currently Kate runs classes with children up to 11-years-of age who immerse themselves in the various learning stations she has created.
The site boasts, among other things, a den building area, a tool tree, a play shop, a wildlife feeding station, a bug hotel and a fire pit where children and parents sit at the end of each session to roast marshmallows and sing songs.
Kate said: “The idea of Forrest School is that it is all year round, in rain or shine. The children don’t feel it , they’re all waterproofed up, they have lots of layers on, there’s extra mud. They love it. We just put up extra shelters.”
Acorn to Oak is open to any child but Kate hopes to share the unique learning environment with as many children as possible.
“What we are looking to do to is to go into schools. They can ask us to go to them and I will take equipment for whatever activities they want to do. I’ll try and recreate an outdoor learning environment in school.
“I also want to get schools to come here and they can either do natural Forrest school or we will do curriculum linked, outdoor learning sessions. They might be based on art, history, religious studies or maths. “
The Village Hall Committee have also supported the school and will allow use of its toilet facilities for visiting school parties.
Kate also hopes to host special needs only sessions as the informal structure of outdoor learning can inspire confidence and expression.
Kate said: “It’s giving children that permission just to be free, as long as they are safe anything goes. It’s amazing how we see them grow, their self esteem, they just come out of themselves.“
The space can also be reserved for birthday parties with a difference.
To contact Kate and find out more call 07721 585100 or email email@example.com.