Calverley Parkside Primary School

Ready Respectful Responsible

Forest Five

Forest Five - Aims

Calverley Parkside is developing an independence curriculum, which we are naming the ‘Forest 5.’ The aim of the curriculum is to develop independence and key life skills that will support your children beyond primary school, ready for the wider world. 

The curriculum offers development opportunities in 5 key areas:

  • Communication
  • Social skills
  • Self-advocacy
  • Responsibility
  • Decision making


These sessions will be held three times a week on a long term basis. This curriculum will substitute some of the areas of the national curriculum. Research shows that the development of these key skills, in the way we are planning to deliver them, offer significant gains to young people in terms of supporting mental health, self-esteem, focus and attainment in core areas. 

These sessions will be held outdoors, in our outdoor area and will be structured with 5 key parts to every session, focusing on developing the 5 key areas above:


Gathering and Circle Time (<15 minutes):


Participants gather at a designated meeting point in the outdoor space.

The session often starts with a circle time where participants sit together to discuss plans, safety rules, and activities for the day.

This time may also include sharing thoughts, feelings, or observations related to the environment.

Exploration and Play (25 - 30 minutes):


Participants are encouraged to explore the natural surroundings. They may have the opportunity to engage in unstructured play, such as climbing trees, building dens, or investigating natural materials.

Play activities often support physical, social, and cognitive development.

Skills Development (25 - 30 minutes):


Depending on the session's objectives, there may be structured activities or workshops designed to teach specific skills. These can include shelter construction, identifying local wildlife.

Staff provide guidance and hands-on support to help participants acquire these skills.

Nature-Based Art and Craft (25 - 30 minutes):


Some sessions may include art and craft activities using natural materials found in the outdoor area. This encourages creativity and connection to the environment.

Closing Circle (<15 minutes):


The session closes with a circle time where participants share their favourite moments, express gratitude, and discuss plans for future sessions.


The sessions will be delivered by school staff, and will be under constant review cycles to be able to deliver the best outcomes for your children. Please find and complete the attached permission slip to allow your child to participate in the sessions. The return of the slip will also be accepted as acknowledgement that these sessions will be in place of other areas of the national curriculum, and that you value the development of these key areas. Older children will be expected to fulfil advanced leadership roles in the sessions, and will be developing their own skills alongside supporting the development of others.




At Parkside, we value being ‘Ready, Respectful and Responsible.’ These three values are all aimed at developing independent young people. To support the development of independence, Parkside has developed its Forest 5 curriculum. This alternative curriculum is accessed as a Wave 3 intervention to support the development of independence. The below is a framework, focusing on 5 key elements, to develop independence in our learners.


1. Communication:

Listening Skills


a. Actively listens to nature sounds and instructions during forest activities.


b. Listens attentively and responds appropriately to peers and adults.


c. Demonstrates improved auditory comprehension over time.


Expressive Communication


a. Uses non-verbal communication (gestures, visuals) to express needs.


b. Expresses basic needs verbally with peers and educators.


c. Engages in simple conversations and shares observations


Communication with Nature


a. Demonstrates awareness and responsiveness to natural surroundings.


b. Uses nature-based communication tools, such as sign language for birds or animal tracks.


c. Shows increased comfort and fluency in interacting with the natural world.



2. Social skills: 

Cooperative Play


a. Engages in parallel play alongside peers during outdoor activities.


b. Participates in cooperative play, sharing tasks and resources.


c. Demonstrates advanced social interaction within the forest setting.


Conflict Resolution


a. Recognizes conflicts and disagreements and seeks support.


b. Employs basic conflict resolution strategies during forest activities.


c. Demonstrates independent conflict resolution skills in nature-based scenarios.


Teamwork and Collaboration


a. Participates in simple group tasks within the forest environment.


b. Collaborates with peers on nature-based projects or tasks.


c. Demonstrates advanced teamwork and leadership skills in outdoor settings.



3. Self-Advocacy:



a. Expresses basic needs and preferences clearly during outdoor activities.


b. Seeks help or communicates discomfort to peers or educators.


c. Advocates for personal needs and preferences independently.




a. Recognizes personal emotions and sensory needs.


b. Identifies and communicates comfort or discomfort within the forest setting.


c. Demonstrates advanced self-awareness in a natural environment.


Independence Goals


a. Participates in setting and communicating simple independence goals.


b. Works towards achieving nature-based independence objectives.


c. Sets and pursues advanced independence goals with clarity.



4. Responsibility:

Safety Awareness


a. Recognizes basic safety guidelines in a forest school environment.


b. Follows safety rules consistently during outdoor activities.


c. Acts as a safety role model for peers and newcomers.


Environmental Responsibility


a. Demonstrates an understanding of responsible forest and environmental behaviour.


b. Participates in nature conservation activities within the forest.


c. Initiates and leads environmental responsibility projects.


Community Engagement


a. Participates in community activities connected to the forest school.


b. Recognizes the importance of community involvement in nature conservation.


c. Takes on leadership roles in community engagement within the forest setting.



5. Decision Making:



a. Recognizes simple challenges in the forest and seeks solutions.


b. Makes basic decisions to overcome obstacles independently.


c. Demonstrates advanced problem-solving skills during forest activities.


Risk Assessment


a. Identifies basic risks associated with forest activities.


b. Makes decisions to manage and minimise risks.


c. Demonstrates advanced risk assessment and decision-making skills.




a. Adapts to changes in weather, environment, and group dynamics.


b. Handles unexpected situations confidently and independently.


c. Shows advanced adaptability and innovation in the forest school context.