Empowering People, Launching lives

Woodland Connections

Author: Susan Davies, Therapies Assistant


9th April 2024 | 2 mins read

At Tram House School, the classroom extends far beyond its walls, reaching out into the embrace of nature itself. Through an initiative called Woodland Connections, Class TH5 embarked on a six-week adventure before Christmas into the heart of forest school education, immersing themselves in the wonders of Morden Hall Park and connecting with the natural world around them.


What is Forest School?

Forest school isn’t just about outdoor education; it’s a philosophy that nurtures holistic development through play, risk-taking and connections with nature. Forest school empowers learners to become independent, resilient, confident and creative individuals. Planning, observation, adaptation and review links each session with the intent of placing the learner at the centre of the experience and encouraging them to take supported risks and foster a lifelong relationship with the natural world.


Exploring Morden Hall Park

Morden Hall Park provided the perfect backdrop for the Woodland Connections experience. Governed by the National Trust, this sanctuary boasts diverse habitats including woodlands, meadows and wetlands. Utilising the excellent transport links between Tram House School and Modern Hall Park, our pupils hopped on trams, buses and underground trains over six weeks to embark on this exciting journey of exploration.

Journey highlights

Week 1: The first week began with an exploration of the park’s diverse ecosystems. From the calming flow of the river to ancient tree stumps covered in fungi, pupils delved into the sensory delights of nature. They touched, felt and smelled their surroundings, creating a deeper connection with their environment.

Week 2: Faces carved from natural materials and adventures among the trees marked the second week. Climbing over branches and capturing moments with an iPad, pupils unleashed their creativity while embracing the freedom of outdoor exploration.

Week 3: Despite changes due to weather conditions, pupils immersed themselves in hands-on activities, using tools to craft Christmas decorations from sawn wood. Through sensory experiences, they discovered the textures, smells and intricacies of the woodland environment. A pupil is asked ‘How are you feeling?’ The pupil signs that he is happy.

Week 4: Knots, stories and teamwork took centre stage as learners engaged in shelter-building activities. With each knot tied and tale woven, they learned the value of collaboration and resilience in the face of challenges.

Week 5: Shelter-building evolved into a lesson in risk exploration and sensory immersion. As pupils constructed shelters and explored the surrounding pond, they confronted frustration and triumphed through teamwork and determination.

Week 6: Journey sticks became symbols of the transformative journey undertaken by learners throughout Woodland Connections. With each natural material added to a stick during a walk in the park, they captured memories and experiences, weaving them into a tapestry of discovery and growth.

Enriching Learning and Personal Growth

The benefits of Woodland Connections extended far beyond the classroom. Pupils eagerly anticipated each visit to Morden Hall Park, demonstrating newfound confidence and independence as they navigated various modes of transport. The calm and relaxed atmosphere of the experience allowed them to explore at their own pace, leading to increased focus and engagement during school hours.


A Journey of Discovery

Woodland Connections wasn’t just about outdoor education, it was a journey of discovery, enrichment and transformation. From sensory exploration to hands-on activities, pupils embraced the wonders of the natural world, expanding their vocabulary, building resilience and fostering deep connections with the environment.

As educators, therapists and pupils reflect on their Woodland Connections experience, one thing is clear: the journey doesn’t end here. It’s a stepping stone towards a lifelong relationship with nature, empowering learners to embrace curiosity, creativity and the boundless possibilities of the world around them.


If you’re interested in finding out more about our approach and how we teach, get in touch today to book an open day at one of our schools. Or, if you’d like to help us create more experiences like this for our learners, please consider making a donation to help us expand our offer and make a difference in the lives of autistic children and young adults.

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