You can find 100 reasons why you shouldn’t start teaching outdoors. There’s health and safely or not enough time in the curriculum. But if you have the belief that it is going to be good for the children, then you can overcome those hurdles.
In 2006 the concept of Forest School took hold at Copthill. Like many adults, Jonathan Teesdale felt that his childhood experiences benefitted from endless hours spent exploring and playing outdoors. When he came across the Forest School idea he was excited, realising that the perfect facilities at Copthill would allow all pupils to enjoy this unique and rewarding style of learning. With an unwavering commitment he set about turning this idea into reality. Over time, the Forest School department has grown and developed into one that has been described as an outstanding facility by the Independent Schools Inspectorate.
Copthill’s ideal location on a working farm offers access to a variety of environments. An area of magical woodland and a breath taking river have helped to shape the sheltered outdoor areas. This type of learning caters for all abilities and is a positive and fun experience for everyone.
There are fixed camps, a large teepee, small shelters and an impressive wooden fort. Pupils are encouraged through the mastery of small achievable outdoor tasks to grow in self-esteem and self- confidence. Wherever possible natural materials are used for teaching and by experiencing a variety of adult tools, including saws, drills and peelers, pupils quickly learn the boundaries within which they must work.
Our pupils go out in all weathers as we believe there is no such thing as bad weather – just inappropriate clothing!