Foresters Outdoor Learning

We are particularly lucky at Jollies House that we have a fabulous outdoor space that has wonderful Japanese Cherry blossom trees with natural resources and enough space to explore and investigate in. This provides us with the opportunity for outdoor learning and fun in all weathers. We are great advocates of nature, fresh air and for all of our children to be able to benefit from learning outdoors regardless of the elements.

About our Foresters

As part of our weekly curriculum, the children attend outdoor learning classes that allow them to use tools, whittling and get involved in fire sessions, use their creative side with mud, and so many other wonderful develop their self help skills and sense of nature and achievement on a weekly basis. We work in parity with Willow’s Forest School, who come to Jollies every week and use our wonderful wild garden and offer a unique outdoor experience to all of our Jollies children. All of the sessions support the forest school ethos.

Den Making

The materials available outdoors such as soil, leaves, sticks and stones, are ideal for children to manipulate and experiment with. Den’s are interesting and unusual places to hide, climb and balance, a whole range of elements to encourage imaginative challenging and creative play. Den building allows children to interact with natural elements. They learn to negotiate, problem solve, resolve, manage and work as a team. Learning to work together can be difficult at any age but den building can be a way of learning to cooperate. During this process they are often open to other children’s suggestions and learn from their own mistakes.

Fire Making

Children learn fire safety first! They learn how to responsibly position themselves around the fire in the ‘respect position’ and how to walk around the outside of the fire circle. When a child first sees a fire there is often an element of fear. Children are told that a fire is dangerous and to stay away from it, but when a fire is respected and managed it becomes a safe and enjoyable thing. We will contain the firepit, we remove anything flammable away from the fire and always keep a bucket of water nearby, and as explained previously, they manage their own risk to ensure safety at all times. Jollies children will learn how to toast marshmallows all of which will be cooked on the open fire by the children. The children will learn about determination and patience, and once we are confident that they are able to follow instructions well around the fire they may even get to light a fire with support from the Willow’s team.

Bug Hotels and Habitats

We all know that insects need somewhere safe to live so the children will be building a bug hotel placed in our Forester’s garden they will be able to see their very own eco system start to develop and be able to investigate. A bug hotel is a sheltered purpose built structure that provides a safe environment for those bugs to live in. Bug hotels offer children a handful of learning opportunities for all ages of children. Children will learn new vocabulary, play alongside others, spend quality time with practitioners and care about living creatures and their natural environment. It is important that children are exposed to life enhancing gardening experiences as children learn best through first hand experiences. We will add other resources such as clipboards pencils, magnifying glasses and images of insects to the area of where the bug hotel lives, these resources will help extend children’s learning.

Using Tools

Using tools is an important part of Forest School as it enables children to develop new, practical, and physical skills that help them build their self-confidence and an understanding of safe risk-taking processes.
Children will be taught how to handle tools properly and to treat them with respect and in safety, in order to bring their ideas to reality. They need to saw a branch to the right size, to drill holes in appropriate places or to whittle a little. And yes, the leaders could do it for them but then we’d be taking away the experience of something transformed in their hands and the satisfaction of having concentrated and worked carefully to create whatever fantastical item it is they have dreamt up. Being able to assess a situation and form your response to it based on experience, risk-benefit analysis and mutual respect is an amazing skill to have at any age and this is why we will let the children use potentially dangerous tools in a safe, supervised environment whilst outdoors with us.

Children's Clothing Requirements


• Long sleeved t-shirt top
• Fleece sweat shirt
• Loose fitting jogging bottoms
• Waterproof coat
• Waterproof trousers (to protect clothing from getting wet and muddy)
• Warm socks
• Sturdy footwear, waterproof (hiking boots are ideal)

Cold and Wet

• Waterproof warm coat
• Base Layers – Merino thermal trousers and long sleeved top
• Layers – add another long sleeved top or a jumper
• Another pair of warm socks
• Warm hat
• Tube scarf
• Warm gloves / mittens
• Snow boots or lined neoprene boots are a great alternative to hiking boots. No wellington boots on a cold day please.
• Ski wear is ideal

Warm Days

• Sun hat
• Applied suntan lotion
• Applied insect repellent
• Ensure long trousers and long sleeved tops are loose to prevent insect bites or ticks

Frequently Asked Grown-up Questions

There is no extra fee for your child to attend Willows Forest School.
We of course want all of our Jollies children to enjoy the benefits of outdoor learning, however if you do not wish your child to attend they do not have to.
If your child does not attend on the day the classes are held, they will be invited in.

Yes, all of our teachers are qualified and are trained with Surrey Wildlife Trust to become Forest School Leaders, and are supported by Qualified Early Years Educators and Practitioners.

Outdoor Learning aims to promote the holistic development of all involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners. Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.

Yes you will, we update regularly on FAMLY on our app that informs you of everything that goes on here at Jollies House, as well as individual messages, photos and updates. Your child will of course be full of enthusiasm to tell you all about it.