Forest School Awards
The outreach programme for Learning Without Walls

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Fairview Primary School

Council area: Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council
Forest School contact: Neil McAllister
Main Forest School contact email address: nmcallister634@c2kni.net
School website address: www.fairviewps.co.uk
Year of Forest School accreditation: 2009

Creepy Background: Fairview Primary School became involved with NIFSA in 2009 when three Primary 6 teachers were trained in Forest School leadership, thanks to funding provided by Newtownabbey Borough Council. The school completed the John Muir award under the guidance of Dot Blakely, our trainer. A further block of training was provided in 2013/2014 and, since then, Forest School has taken off in Fairview. Primary 6 visit the Sixmilewater Park for 6 sessions per year, including a 'buddy' session with P2. Primary 7 also visit the park. A bank of lessons has been created which are available to all year groups in the school and are used throughout the year in our extensive school grounds. Neil McAllister has spoken about the many benefits of Forest School at clusters, teachmeets and conferences recently.

Tree Forest School setting: Our Forest School site is our local park, the Sixmilewater Park in Ballyclare. The park is only 15 minutes walk from school but has a variety of locations where Forest School sessions can take place. We make extensive use of the Conservation Area, a part of the park not open to the public but available to Fairview with its own dedicated teaching area – perfect for 'Art al Fresco' and 'Literacy Logs'. The Meadow is on the other side of the river and has a number of locations perfect for accessing the river to do 'Kick Sampling' and gathering pebbles for 'Pebble Poems'. The Meadow also has great spots for ‘Den Building’ and excellent muddy paths to help with 'Tree Spirits'! The main part of the park is perfect for leaf identification due to the wide variety of trees. It really is the perfect park and Lindsay Houston, our local Biodiversity Officer, has worked very closely with us to ensure the park is the perfect outdoor classroom.

Read an evaluation of the NIFSA Forest School Programme for Fairview Primary School


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