Pupils are having fun getting back to nature in their outdoor “forest school” thanks to the help of lots of people in their community.

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Horsford Infant School, in Holt Road, has been developing the outdoor classroom since September 2011 – and the school is now celebrating the latest addition to the natural learning environment, an outdoor shelter which means that the children can enjoy learning in the forest school whatever the weather.

Teaching assistant Rachael Nolan, who looks after the forest school with fellow teaching assistant Carole Daynes, said: “Horsford Infant School would like to say a big thank you to our local and wider community.

“Many parents have been fundraising and giving up their spare time to help make our forest school a special place to be – with special thanks to Mark Sexton who built us a shelter so that we can go out in all weathers, and to Lin Turner and staff from Barclays Bank who kindly helped at our school fete this summer raising lots of money for some much needed resources.

“Without these kind people none of this would be possible.”

As well as the outdoor learning shelter, the forest school also includes a mud kitchen where pupils can make mud pies and mud stews, a bird hide, a pond, a minibeast hotel, a fire pit, and a space for the pupils to make dens and shelters.

Mrs Nolan said the forest school was an inspirational learning environment with great opportunities for team-building and developing maths and language skills.

She said: “As part of our curriculum at Horsford Infant School pupils can learn practical skills such as den building, making campfires, team building games, bug hunting and producing craft items using natural resources.

“They have the freedom to explore the ever changing environment using their senses through the seasons in a classroom without walls.”

The forest school is used by the 79 pupils in year one and two, and many of the youngsters have said they have a great time learning in their outdoor classroom.

Oliver Hubbard, seven, said he loved discovering things in the mud, while Niall Barrett, six, Hannah Lindsay, five, and Mia Kirby, six, all said they liked the campfires.

Lilia Collen, five, said: “I like finding the biggest worms.”

Is your school celebrating an achievement or holding a special event? Call reporter Emma Knights on 01603 772428 or email emma.knights@archant.co.uk

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