Derby city school wants to ‘bring the community together’ by opening its Forest School to other schools

A Derby school wants to share the benefits of outdoor learning with other youngsters by inviting them into their hugely successful Forest School.

The inclusivity, confidence and self-esteem of youngsters at Carlyle Infant and Nursery School, in Carlisle Avenue, Littleover - a Derby school for three to seven-year-olds - has improved since the introduction of regular Forest School sessions; a specialised learning approach which compliments the wider context of outdoor learning and woodland education.

Youngsters from Carlyle Infant & Nursery School enjoying their Forest School session with Mr Wallace. Penguin PR: public relations, media and communications.

Pupils are invited to spend time exploring the woodland area at the back of the school, looking for wildlife, playing games and building dens.

With NHS guidelines suggesting that, to maintain a basic level of health, children aged five to 18 should get at least one hour of physical activity every day, Headteacher Laura Besenzi, is keen to demonstrate their provision as inclusivity for all and nurture to support academics.

She said: “This has made a real difference to our children. When looking at the children’s learning we recognise as a staff and parents/carers that they learn best with the balance of Forest Schools, outdoor learning, indoor classroom and visiting real places further afield.”

Forest School at Carlyle Infant and Nursery School is led by teacher Simon Wallace, a level three Forest School leader.

He said: “The children really look forward to Forest School and the improvement in their general well-being and confidence is hugely successful.

“One of our most recent sessions involved building nests for birds with Reception class; the youngsters – all aged between four and five – scoured the woods for twigs and moss suitable for making a nest in pairs. They then made clay eggs and hid them in trees.

“It got them using all of their senses and thinking about the world around them; how high up they need to place the nests so that the young birds won’t fall victim to prey.”

Carlyle are working towards official accreditation as a Forest School and have welcomed pupils from St Giles School – the city’s only special primary school – in to share their facilities, working together. Ivy House – a day community special school for pupils aged between two and 19 – have also begun work with Carlyle’s Forest School.

Mrs Besenzi said: “We want to strengthen our links with other Derby schools, so want other schools using our site and working with us. We want to bring Derby children together to make a stronger community and understanding of the wider world beyond Carlyle School.”

In November, pupils, staff and carers from Carlyle Infant & Nursery School worked alongside families to plant 350 trees, which were donated by the Woodland Trust.

And, in the Spring, Carlyle will be hoping to unveil their brand-new Immersion Room and Sensory Space.

The school, which has been working in partnership with the Local Authority, has seen a rise in numbers of children with Special Educational Needs and is working on strategies to support these children. It is hoped that the Immersion Room and Sensory Space will benefit these youngsters – but they require further funding and donations.

Councillor Amo Raju and other charitable organisations have been contributing to the funds but anyone wishing to support Carlyle Infant & Nursery further should contact the school on

01332 760369 for more details.


For further information please contact Kerry Ganly at Penguin PR on 01332 416228 or email

NOTE FOR EDITORS: Forest Schools is a unique way of building independence in children as they explore and experience the natural world around them. Youngsters learn valuable life skills including communication, team working and responsibility.

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