Woodland Learning at Goddard Park enables the children to learn and develop skills for life and to connect with the natural world. The children take part in Forest School and food growing in our beautiful school grounds throughout the year in all weather.
They learn many things including practical skills; where food comes from; how to be healthy; how to work together; how to safely use tools; the wonder of nature; how to cook on a fire; how to take risks; how to make up games and entertain themselves and how to respect themselves, others and the world of which we are a part. All this takes place in a nurturing, inspirational environment whilst having fun! It brings out the best in the children boosting confidence, developing imagination and developing language and communication skills and enabling them to lead their own learning.
The Woodland Learning program at Goddard Park is co-ordinated by Ruth Parsons of Woodland Learning Ltd. In partnership with the School and Day Care she delivers sessions to children aged from 2 to 11 and trains and supports staff to do the same – ensuring as many children as possible experience Woodland Learning.
Facilities for Woodland Learning
Over 25 years ago a woodland was planted in the school grounds as part of The Great Western Community Forest. That woodland now has some quite tall trees and is very well used. Some of the trees are big enough to climb! The woodland has two shelters and a fire circle.
The woodland is so well used we want to ensure it is not spoiled by over use and we want to extend the opportunity for Woodland Learning in the future. In 2015 a new woodland was planted with hedgerows around the field boundaries. The native trees were given to us by the Woodland Trust. The 850 trees were planted by the children and Goddard Park families and volunteers from Nationwide. When the trees are large enough to withstand use the fence between the old wood and new will be removed. We estimate this will be in 2020.
In the far corner of the field is a newly planted orchard of 20 fruit trees:- apples, pears, plums, cherries, a quince and a medlar. This will provide fruit for cooking lessons where the children will learn to make crumbles, jams and chutney.
There are 3 living willow dens in the school grounds, providing a shady, hidden place where children can play, rest and read stories.
Beside the astro pitches there is a vegetable growing area with raised beds and a small poly tunnel which was paid for by the Wiltshire Gardens Trust and put up by volunteers from Nationwide. There is also a large raise vegetable bed near Y1. This is where the y5’s grow vegetables from seed – learning the process from seed to fork; understanding life cycles and developing the practical skills needed. Nursery and Day Care children also grow vegetables in their outside areas and there is a strawberry bed and espalier apples beside the boiler house. In 2015 the school won the Best School Garden award from the Swindon Allotment and Leisure Gardens Association.
Some food grown at school is used for school dinners and some gets cooked in the woods over a fire. Some is used for cookery classes and some never gets any further than being picked and eaten straight away! No strawberry has ever made it more than 2m from the strawberry beds!
Last Updated: 24th January 2018