Forest School in Hackney promises outdoor fun for youngsters

Children take part in a pilot session of the Forest School in Hackney           Pic: Hackney Forest School

Let your children make mud cakes, climb trees and build dens to help improve their education, that’s the message from Hackney Forest School, launching next month.

The first event at this school in the forest will be a family fun day on June 10 at Clapton Park Children’s Centre.

Running from 12-4pm, the free fun day will give children a first-hand taste of nature and let them see what a typical day is like with the Forest School.

The first 10 youngsters who sign up for the school will receive an additional free Forest School session for themselves and their family. Activities on offer include hula hooping, massages, tree planting, face painting and much more.

Forest schools started in Scandinavia and give children aged five to eight the opportunity to explore the natural environment in all types of weather. The organisers say research shows that learning from the great outdoors has a positive impact on children’s wellbeing, health, language skills, collaborative skills, awareness of nature and living things, while allowing them to take managed risks to build self-confidence.

A 2008 Forest School Research Summary, defined it as: “An inspirational process that offers children, young people and adults regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence through hands-on learning in a woodland environment.”

Star guest and Hackney resident Tommy Walsh, of Groundforce fame, will be coming along on Saturday June 10 to officially open the school, which has already run a highly successful pilot initiative.

Biddy Hutton, head of Forest School, shows a young pupil how to light a fire in the woods     Pic: Hackney Forest School

Georgia Norman, aged seven from Clapton, who has been attending the Hackney Forest School pilot said: “My favourite thing about Forest School is that we get to go out and play and have fires and eat marshmallows and it’s just really good for us.”

Georgia said she would recommend Forest School and would give it 20 gold stars. She wanted to encourage other children to come, adding: “You should go to Forest School because you can have some fresh air and you get to play everywhere in the forest.”

Lauren Mills, Georgia’s mum, said: “It is always a delight to pick up Georgia after a Forest School session. Seeing her along with friends, full of energy and excitement about the owls they might have heard in the woods, the trees they have climbed and showing me the various objects she has foraged from the outdoors. We feel very lucky that this is right on our doorstep and now we have the dilemma that the older one want’s to join too!”

Forest School programmes run throughout the year, based at Clapton Park Children’s Centre and Hackney Marshes. Sessions range from children-only activities to parent and children outdoor workshops.

The Forest School promises to be a great opportunity for your children to connect and engage with nature through a variety of outdoor activities including mini-beast hunting, tree climbing and mud painting.

You can find out more about Hackney Forest School and their fun day launch by visiting their eventbrite page. For more details of tickets click here.

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