Orston Village School pupils enjoy more outdoor learning thanks to their new purpose-built forest school
Pupils at a village school are enjoying more outdoor learning, thanks to the hard work of a family of volunteers.
Orston Forest School, in the grounds of the primary school, has been created by teaching assistant Lisa Rains and her family during the school holidays, with a budget of under £100 and lots of donated materials.
Acting head Nikki Crosby said: “We are so grateful to them. It’s a wonderful space.”
Mrs Rains and another staff member, assistant head David Smith, are both qualified Forest School leaders.
Sessions used to take place in outdoor locations round the village, and will continue, but this is the first time the school has had its own purpose-built area.
Nikki Crosby said pupils and staff used the new forest school area every day.
“There is constant free flow between inside school and outside,” she said. “The children learn just as much outdoors as indoors.”
There are areas for different age groups, including a puppet theatre, mud kitchen, bug house, mini-beast discovery area, maths table, fire circle, a car, and bean bags.
The children will be outside, whatever the weather, thanks to undercover spaces including a den and tarpaulin canopies in the trees.
“In the middle of a pandemic, being outdoors is so valuable,” Nikki Crosby said.
“The children love it. We have got some little ones that spend hours just collecting bugs,” Mrs Crosby said. “They are so engaged and excited.”
Lisa Rains, whose father, Stephen Storey, spent hours working on the project, said: “It is magical, so special.”