CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Dorset Magazine today CLICK HERE

Stonars' Enchanting Forest School

PUBLISHED: 08:36 11 November 2010 | UPDATED: 18:08 20 February 2013

Stonars’ Enchanting Forest School

Stonars’ Enchanting Forest School

The children of Stonar Preparatory School gathered to celebrate the opening of Stonar's latest project, the Stonar Forest School. As the wind blew and the autumn leaves tumbled, parents, children and teachers gathered for the grand opening

The children of Stonar Preparatory School gathered to celebrate the opening of Stonars latest project, the Stonar Forest School. As the wind blew and the autumn leaves tumbled, parents, children and teachers gathered for the grand opening amid the beautiful autumn colours of Stonar Schools grounds.


Elizabeth Thomas, Head cut the ribbon to the magic tunnel leading the children in to the woodland area complete with its own story circle and giant bear chair. Some walked and others ran with excitement as they passed the crocodile lying by the swamp, then over the bridge to the glade and hidey hole where crowns of woodland jewels were sourced and adorned.


The Stonar Forest School is the brainchild of Sophie van Gerwen, Head of Pre-prep who has taken the original idea from Scandinavia where children spend time exploring the great outdoors. The forest allows children to build their self confidence and to give them a positive experience of life beyond the classroom, enriching their lives and development further. I was excited when I joined Stonar School because I could see the potential of the woodland area and I knew the children would get a lot out of being at one with nature, said Sophie. The Forest School is now a part of everyday school life, cloakrooms are lined with wellies in preparation and the children are so enthusiastic the autumn weather never deters them, The Forest School enables the children to interact with nature and teaches them about the birds, plants, smells and the dangers, all contributing to a practical learning experience. Continued Mrs van Gerwen.


Funds have been kindly raised by Friends of Stonar the Schools team of dedicated parents who arrange fundraising activities throughout the year and have kindly contributed 4000 to the project. Creative help has come from Ed Minty, the Schools Groundsman who has spent endless amounts of time ensuring the grounds are secure, safe and at the same time fun and entertaining. Everyone was suitably impressed with his efforts and thought.


In recent weeks Stonar has invited the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust to the Forest School, Dean Sherwin, Education Officer has been working with the children developing a nature trail and building nest boxes for the birds. En-route fungus is plentiful with foliage areas for wildlife and wood formations attracting an array of bugs and plant life, all ready for a beady-eyed inspection via a magnifying glass.


As a living growing site the Stonar Forest School is continually developing. In spring wild flowers will appear and the birds will be nesting. As the landscape and all its inhabitants develop, so will the children alongside them. There are many other items required for the Forest School, from bird boxes, plants, bird feeders, willow structures to a log cabin and we would be grateful if there are any companies who would be interested in supporting this project by way of donation or indeed by getting involved. In future Stonar intends to open the Forest School to all other local schools so that their children can also benefit from the magical woodlands and learn equally about the great outdoors.


If you are interested in helping the Stonar Forest School project then please call Karen-Ann Williamson Tel: 01225 701742 or e-mail k.williamson@stonarschool.com


Stonar provides an education that exceeds expectations combining a nurturing atmosphere that allows individuals to shine and succeed wherever their talents may lie.


You can visit Stonar School at anytime by prior appointment, kindly contact the Registrar to arrange a convenient date and time. Pupils are invited to sample a day or, for boarders, an overnight stay for a taste of Stonar School life.

Most Read

Latest from the Dorset