Green Farm Road, Colne Engaine, Colchester, CO6 2HA

Tel: 01787 222717

e-mail: (Mrs Sarah Cushney, School Business Manager)

Headteacher:  Mrs Julie Sarti

Chair of Local Governing Body:  Godfrey Evans c/o Colne Engaine C of E Primary School

SENCo: Mrs Julie Sarti 

The Diocese of Chelmsford Vine Schools Trust

Diocesan Offices

53 New Street Chelmsford Essex CM1 1AT

Telephone: 01255 863646









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The current movement called forest schools started in Sweden in the 1950’s as a way of helping young children to learn about the natural world. They did this through outdoor practical experiences, songs and stories. Over the last few years, environmental workers in Essex have started to spread the word and are helping local schools to follow in Swedish footsteps.
The college in Somerset found that for a child, being outside with both freedom and responsibility was beneficial. Children learn best when finding out for themselves and this is at the heart of a forest school experience. The effects are most powerful on confidence, self-esteem and independence. All of these are important in helping children to become life long learners. The 21st century is a time of rapid change and to survive in it we need to continually adapt and learn new things. To prepare children for this world they need to be learning how to learn.

Forest school is different from other outdoor activities giving it a longer lasting effect. It takes place all year and in all weathers (except strong wind.) The visits are half a day regularly, once a fortnight. It is not meant to be a taster or a one off but a life changing experience. Boundaries and negotiated rules are established. Activities from shelter building, cooking over a fire to imaginative play take place. The idea is that pupils have time to try out suggested activities as well as following their own ideas. This gives the pupils time and space to become fully engrossed in learning. The forestry commission in Scotland found that the regular contact over an extended period of time enabled children’s skills to grow through increasing levels of independence and challenge.

The fun and freedom factor gives some learners their first taste of independent or group ‘play’ in a natural outdoor environment, fostering new relationships between learners and with teachers. The children are given freedom to engage in hands on tasks and play activities that are challenging for them, without putting them in danger. It is also a good way for the children to learn about the world around them and how to care for it.

Colne Engaine School runs forest school sessions in woodland privately owned by George Courtauld. It is about 20 minutes walk from school and this also benefits the childrens’ fitness levels. Many parents especially dads like to help and bring their expertise to these outdoor sessions. Check out the pictures on our web site to find out more about it.


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