Forest School

Welcome to our Forest School

Every week the children who come to Forest School will share with you what they have been doing outside in Peanut Park, the garden and in the Bear’s Den.

This term we will carry on growing and planting vegetables that will be used in the school kitchen, lots of team-building exercises and of course we have the Woodland Trust’s Platinum ‘Green Tree Schools’ award to work towards.

Mrs Henson


“What does it take to develop healthy, happy, confident children who are ready and open to learning?”

Recent advance in neuroscience, attachment theory and child development have provided some of the answers to this question.

STRIVE draws on insights from these fields to provide a powerful way of working with children and young people that supports optimal social and emotional development.

Mrs Makansi is our lead STRIVE practitioner who uses arts and play-based activities with children to support healthy neural development, promote a positive sense of self and build optimal learning capacity.

Therapeutic Arts & Play

Everybody experiences difficult times during their lives which can be challenging even for adults to manage. Our thoughts, feelings and memories can fly around our minds and stop us from making the most of our lives. We might find ourselves distracted or irritable all of the time and unable to hold onto the big, sad or scary feelings. Or sometimes we might fill our lives so full, to help us tightly control our emotions, that we can’t relax for fear they’ll catch up with us. We might feel that these things are our fault and that nobody can possibly understand, or that sharing these experiences might make everything worse.

Children naturally use play, artwork and metaphor to explore and share their feelings and experiences. Arts-based therapies work alongside this intuitive language, incorporating a number of creative activities, these are based around the preference of each individual but might include:

  • Painting and drawing

  • Sand tray

  • Play-doh and other model making

  • Drama and roleplay

  • Dance and music

  • Masks

  • Puppets

  • Story telling or poetry

  • Play or other imaginative work

Miss Petrina Gray has been working with St John’s Church School since Easter 2014. Her integrative training in the therapeutic arts and child and adolescent psychotherapy incorporates a range of art therapy techniques with up-to-date research in child development and neuroscience, along with counselling methods and psychological theory. By incorporating these the aim is to build safe relationships with children, from which they are able to explore the memories, thoughts and feelings which can be so difficult, painful, sad and frightening.


Sometimes the conversation is used, but more often their spontaneous imaginative work is the focus and provides access to their inner worlds in a less direct and threatening, but still powerful, transformative and healing way.

Music Mentoring

"When words fail, music speaks." William Shakespeare

Music creates many wonderful opportunities for our children at St John's   For some children, discovering, exploring and being inspired by music, in all its forms, is incredibly therapeutic and helps them to find a place to belong.

Our children find joy in spending time with expert musicians, many of whom have then played on the main stage at our successful Festival of Belonging - developing not only their passion for performance but also building upon their confidence and wellbeing.