students playing sports

The Head’s reflections on the week

Posted: 30th September 2022

This week I am continuing on from my thoughts of last week and how important it is that children get outside. I am so pleased that St Christopher’s can offer Forest School, Wild Beach, and camping trips for our pupils. Just last Friday, our Year 8 braved the rain and went camping. They had a wonderful time and bonded over team building activities, hot chocolate and sing-alongs. You can see more about their trip on page 3. Once again, my sincere thanks to the staff who accompanied the trip.

I have asked two members of staff, Mrs S Griffiths and Mrs Sarjent to tell us a little bit about Forest School and Wild Beach and why they are such an important addition to the traditional ‘indoor’ curriculum. My question was, ‘What are Forest School and Wild Beach and how do they benefit our children and their learning?’ I’ve shared their thoughtful answers, below.

Forest School is an outdoor education programme which works to develop an individual’s character through connecting – personally and collectively – with nature. It promotes leadership, trust, responsibility, teamwork and resilience. During Forest School children work as individuals and as a community to learn more about themselves and their environment. Children learn to adapt and combine various skills to tackle challenging conditions outside. It is a fantastic way for children to interact with their local ‘outdoor classroom’ and develop both a love and respect for their environment. Children at St Christopher’s have the freedom to explore and play in a creative environment. Experiences include; cooking on a fire, using a range of tools, shelter building, natural crafts and much more! These experiences foster leadership, confidence and self-esteem, whilst gaining some useful skills at the same time.

Wild Beach takes the Forest School ethos to the beach. The aim of our sessions is for the children to make meaningful connections with the marine environment both above and below the waves. The children develop an understanding of the natural world through looking at the geology, weather, tidal patterns and marine flora and fauna. Regular sessions help us notice seasonal changes both with the weather and within the seashore environment. The children are able to initiate their own activities based on their interests including: rockpooling, collecting and sorting found objects for beach museums, discovering different types of seaweed, investigating the best way and place to build a sandcastle, seeing how the tide moves using pebble towers as a marker, making sundials, creating beach art, shelter building …. the list goes on. Time at Wild Beach also has many physical and mental health benefits too and it is great that we can offer this opportunity to all of the children at St Christopher’s.

It was lovely to see so many of you at the Harvest Festival yesterday. Upper School enjoyed a special Assembly with Paul Young, CEO of Off The Fence, who spoke to them about how the money we raise will be used, and how it is more important than ever that we support the homeless and vulnerable in our city.

As I write, the last guests have just departed our Open Morning. The visitors were hugely impressed by the vibrancy of life here, and particularly with the older children who did such an expert job of showing them round. Don’t forget to book your tickets for the forthcoming PA Quiz Night – the staff team, The St Trivians, are clearly the ones to beat! Finally, good luck to our U9A boys in the Shoreham Tournament tomorrow.

Ms Elizabeth Lyle, Head

Categories: Head's Reflections