An introduction to Forest School Oct 2019

Hello to you all. My name is Clare Harrison and I would like to introduce myself to you all as the new Forest School Leader at St Margaret’s Academy. 

I am very excited about working in your beautiful school and have already had a great start to the year this half term, making dens, finding bugs, creating apple monsters and of course toasting marshmallows over the fire as well as some Forest School style toffee apples with the orchard apples. 

I have worked in conservation and environmental education for many years and at one time was the National Trust Warden covering the coast and countryside between Kingswear and Brixham.  I am very passionate about working with children in the outdoors and particularly for getting them to explore what is on the own doorstep or in their own school grounds.  I also love storytelling and creating literary adventures with children in the outdoors so will be sure to be weaving some literacy into my sessions. 

As well as leading Forest School sessions I am also involved with leading a lunchtime Eco Club which gives all pupils, through a rotation system, a chance to enjoy tending the orchard and garden beds as well as getting involved with Citizen Science projects such as the one we took part in this half term with the British Trust for Ornithology, looking at soil invertebrates and whether a decline in them is linked to a decline in breeding bird numbers. 

I am also involved, alongside Mrs Turner, with a pupil-led Eco-Schools Award Scheme, giving pupils in the Eco Council a chance to make our school a greener place. 

Lastly, I am running a Forest School After School Club with a chance each half term, for 15 pupils from a particular year group to come along for craft activities, bushcraft and of course play in our beautiful orchard.  I look forward to getting to know pupils, staff and parents alike over the coming months and seeing new life breathed into the orchard as well as seeing children thrive and come alive with muddy fingers full of wiggly worms and beaming smiles!