If you go down to the woods today...

If you go down to the woods today … you might be surprised to see children from I CAN’s Meath School enjoying their learning at Willow’s Forest School. Each class are having the opportunity to use the woods to support and enhance their learning experience.

The session starts with the children, all of whom have speech, language and communication needs (SLCN), gathered around and chatting openly: saying “Hello!” to Willow the Fox, talking about their week and what they want to do today, without the pressure and expectations that may come from being in a classroom. There is an emphasis on safety in every activity the pupils do, with lessons that can be applied throughout their daily lives.

They head off and make their own decisions about what they want to do. They use their imaginations and ‘cook’ in the Mud Kitchen, re-enacting and exploring what they see happening in the kitchen at home and coming up with all sorts of wonderful concoctions!

There is always a craft or skill to be learned that comes from using basic equipment and can only add to their life skills: making spiders out of conkers using a bit drill; whittling sticks using a potato peeler; making sparks using a fire-steel – just in case they find themselves in the wilderness! But the message of safety with the children’s ever increasing need for independence is invaluable.

One child in particular, whose speech and language needs affect his confidence in the classroom, comes alive in Willow’s Forest School. He becomes at one with nature and is so engaged he wants to try everything. He is a natural stick-whittler! Stripping the stick successfully before your eyes! We look at him half an hour into his exploration and he’s beaming, covered in mud and starting conversations with his friends and trying to help them: a skill so hard for him but in this environment where he is comfortable and confident, is able to take this risk without a second thought.

At the end we all come back together round the campfire to talk about what we have enjoyed. Children, who, because of their educational needs, find ‘feelings’ challenging, are able to discuss their ideas because of a shared, memorable experience.

…And the best bit of a campfire? I’m sure all the children will agree, are the toasted marshmallows and a story.

I CAN's mission is that no child should be left out or left behind because of a difficulty speaking or understanding.


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© Willow's Forest School Ltd 2019

Registered in England and Wales with the registered number 9044392

VAT Registration 287677239

ICO ZA343691 


Registered address:

Willow's Forest School

Unit B1F

Main Entrance

Fairoaks Airport


GU24 8HU


07734 188174

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Willow’s Forest School is a safe place for your child to learn & grow, with a connection to nature. We provide a holistic approach to outdoor learning designed to improve your child’s self esteem & confidence, whilst allowing them to develop social skills and build friendships, with seasonal, nature based activities. 


With a huge variety of outdoor activities for children (and some for adults too!) including Bush Craft, Mud Play, Whittling, Tree Climbing, Toasting Marshmallows and more, there is always something happening to fire up your child’s imagination. Willow’s Forest School has several locations across Surrey, including Guildford, Ottershaw, Chertsey and Hersham. We will be adding more locations during 2019.