Newbigging Primary School Dives into Nature with Exciting Forest School Programme

Left to right LtoR – Children from Newbigging Primary School - Rosco, Sophie, George Patterson, ANGUSalive Countryside Ranger, Theo, Thomas, Emily Lang, ANGUSalive Outdoor Activity Instructor, Conner, Jacob, Norah and Kyle McLean, Teacher Newbigging PS.
Thursday 20 June 2024

Children at Newbigging Primary School in Angus have been the first to try out an exciting new forest school programme from ANGUSalive aimed at enhancing young people’s connection with nature by using local woodland areas to get involved in outdoor activities and fostering resilience through outdoor learning and play.

The forest school is a learner-centred programme that works alongside the Curriculum of Excellence complementing and enhancing traditional classroom teaching.

Rangers from ANGUSalive have been undertaking training to qualify as forest leaders to offer children unique opportunities to explore and learn about the local environment, build shelters, climb trees and participate in various activities designed to build resilience through hands-on experiences. 

Angus Council’s Head Teacher of Monikie and Newbigging Primary School, Kellie Smith said:

“We have established a good working relationship with the park rangers from ANGUSalive and George (park ranger) approached me to ask if the children would like to take part in eight sessions of forest school to allow the rangers to complete their qualification.

“I am very keen for the children to engage with their local environment, so I thought this was a perfect opportunity for some partnership working. The children have been really engaged with the sessions and have relished the opportunity to learn in a different environment. They have learned how to assess risk so they can use tools like saws and build fires in a safe way, independently. They enjoy their sessions each week and we are hoping to continue this into next session.”

Theo, P4 child from Newbigging PS said:

“The first week we did a fire and then the other we did sawing. It’s just really good.”

Emily Lang, ANGUSalive Outdoor Activity Instructor added:

“I’ve really enjoyed getting to know the children, their relationships between each other and us as leaders has grown and changed over the eight weeks already. Getting to see them get involved no matter the weather has been great, one of our best days so far has been during a down pour! Everyone got stuck in though, building shelters and playing our forest games.

“We have loved this eight-week introduction and are looking forward to bringing our Forest School offering to other Angus schools. The positive development we have fostered in our Newbigging Forest School is one we are excited to develop in the future.”

ANGUSalive is looking to expand the programme beyond school children, aiming to involve more young people and the wider community in the future. This expansion will allow even more participants to experience the benefits of forest based activities, encouraging a deeper appreciation for the environment and promoting community wellbeing.

Watch our video on YouTube to hear from George, ANGUSalive park ranger about the programme and see what the children got up to