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Fair haired woman smiles in the sunlight, with a forest backdrop
Photo by Oleg Larkin

A new school year, a new start for teachers

And just like that, the summer holidays are nearly over and planning for the term ahead is happening in earnest.

But this will be a start of term like no other, and no doubt you are experiencing a whole range of emotions as you think about returning to school. As well as lessons to plan, there’s the added dimension of working differently so you can keep yourself and others safe.

We’ve put together a few forest-inspired ideas and resources to help you maintain your equilibrium and support your students as they adapt to being back in the classroom.  

Make time for yourself

You want to support the welfare of your students, but don’t forget to take regular time out for yourself.

After a long hard day, yoga can be a great way to slow your mind, reduce muscular tension and recharge your spirit. 

Learn from Karen how forest based yoga could benefit you this term.

If you're interested in giving it a go, dive into this 15 minute yoga session, created with you in mind. 

This short, relaxing yoga class – set in the beauty of the forest - has been created with the support of Mind, the mental health charity.  It is designed to help you feel uplifted and reconnect with your environment.

Find a comfortable space and take some time to restore yourself

Alternatively, close your eyes and let the sounds of the forest recover your inner quiet. You don’t need a screen to experience our guided forest meditation. Enjoy an audio guided meditative experience instead.

Allow time to dream

Everything will feel very strange for learners returning to school after lockdown. Some will be excited about being back, others may be apprehensive, some will have enjoyed a different style of learning at home and others may find it harder concentrating in class or not want to talk about their experiences. 

We hope this dream jar activity will be helpful in allowing your class to process their feelings, get to know each other and look forward to the future.  

Boy looking at leaves with microscope
Paul Box

Time to play

Robin Hood Play Area Sherwood Pines

As a teacher, you understand the importance of play for improving the cognitive, physical, social and emotional wellbeing of your pupils. Help your class to make sense of their thoughts by providing some play-time each day.

Learning through Landscapes have shared a variety of excellent ideas and resources which inspire play-led learning in the school grounds.

Go outside or bring the outdoors in

Exercising and spending time outdoors can stimulate the mood-enhancing endorphins which help us to look after our mental health. Invite your class to take a mindful walk, hunt for wildlife, play QI sticks, make an insect palace or collect as many different types of autumn leaves as they can.

When access to the outdoors isn’t possible, there are many ways we can bring the experiences, sights and sounds of nature back inside.

Download this activity sheet, to encourage creativity and safe collaboration from inside the classroom.

Find out more

Sign up to our learning and schools newsletter and look out next month for more ideas of how to bring the forest and its benefits into your classroom.

Don't stop exploring

Boy counting tree rings on a very old tree that's been felled.

Select from a range of materials to help enhance your visit to the forest. Activity ideas, lesson plans linked to the curriculum and more are all free to download so you can create a fun and informative learning experience to suit your needs.

Contact your local learning team if you require further information and support.

The Blog
Article
10 September 2018
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Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest Louisa Lake view in summer bench
Blog
21 July 2020
Being a teacher is hard work. Being a teacher during COVID-19 is incredibly hard work. You’ve been adapting to changing expectations, working at pace to develop new ways of delivering lessons, and continually striving to ensure children and young people remain engaged and learning.  We know that you’ve been looking out for everyone else’s wellbeing, but that can sap us of our energy and leave us feeling drained. That’s why we want you to take some time out and allow the forest to help you recharge, regain some balance and have some time for you. So sit back, make yourself a cuppa and allow us to look after you.
Forest learning and painting activities

Subscribe to our learning newsletter to receive more information and free resources on how the forest can be used as a classroom without walls for students of all ages. 

So what can you expect?

Termly updates from the forest Lesson plans for early years through to KS4 Downloadable resources Tips for your school visit

 

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