Outdoor learning - Portsmouth High School

Outdoor learning

Outdoor Learning with Forest School sessions


Portsmouth High Prep School has large gardens and teachers make regular use of a purpose-built outside classroom and learning space. Girls also enjoy weekly forest school sessions, an innovative educational approach to outdoor learning and play influenced by Scandinavian educational practices.

Forest school activities put the learner at the heart of the learning experience and give girls opportunities to engage with the rich diversity of the outdoors and develop confidence through risk taking in a safe environment and with appropriate support.

Forest school sessions start in the Pre-School and continue through to Year 6 with our accredited Forest School specialist Mrs West. The girls venture outside in all weathers and head down to make shelters, light fires and use tools as well as to look at the seasons and life cycles. Lessons often support all areas of the curriculum and girls get hands-on outside with science and nature activities. The girls have made waterproof shelters and tried them out during storms, have lit fires and made hot chocolate in the freezing cold.

Forest school activities increase self-esteem, self-confidence and resilience. Girls are taught skills to negotiate and problem solve, build friendships and develop communication skills. Fire is a part of our forest school learning and the school has a specially constructed outdoor fire pit area where the girls learn how to manage and build a fire appropriately. At Portsmouth High Prep School girls make the most of spacious outdoor grounds and increase their knowledge and understanding of the environment.

Beach School sessions are also part of the Prep School curriculum encouraging girls to have more time and scope for exploration. Beach School sessions run alongside Forest Schools. Children learn about tides and the moon and more fascinating facts about our blue planet.

At Portsmouth High Prep School we are proud to be offering girls excellent opportunities for developing grit and resilience with confidence building both inside the classroom and out.

The Guardian – The forest schools revolution – leaves, logs and life skills

The Telegraph – Reading, writing and mud, the growth of forest schools