52-56 Hillsborough Road, Lisburn, BT28 1JJ

028 92665527


Lisburn Central Primary School & Nursery Unit

FOREST SCHOOL - latest news…

Outdoor Learning is a very valuable part of our N.Ireland school curriculum and its benefits are limitless!

Forest School Fridays are simply the best! And it’s good for our mental health!!

Summer Term

Outdoor Classroom Day

A great day was had by all yesterday as we celebrated "Outdoor Classroom Day"

Gardening Club Highlights 

As part of this amazing award many

Forest school activities were included.

We are so proud!

Dr Dunn (Stranmillis University College, Belfast) and ten final year students observe Literacy through Forest School at our school.

Autumn 2022.

Greatest Moments

Keep reading to find out what else we have been doing... 

Nature Art by P4 

Our Official Award has arrived!

Miss Cleland (Forest School Coordinator) with Mrs Poots (Principal)

Following us achieving Forest School status, at Lisburn Central, final year students from Stranmillis University College, Belfast came to observe Literacy through Forest School.  

We made birdfeeders using recycled milk cartons for the

Stranmillis students to see.

We then did some procedural writing as a follow up to our

Forest School outdoor activity.  

Lisburn Central as a Forest School

Forest School is a child-centered inspirational learning process.

The Northern Ireland Forest School Association encourages an innovative educational approach to outdoor play and learning and inspires local schools and organizations to become accredited Forest School practitioners.

To develop Outdoor Learning throughout our school Miss Julie-Anne Cleland, as World Around Us Coordinator and now Forest School Coordinator completed her Forest School Leadership Award (Level 3) with her class {beginning February 2021 and achieving this in October 2021}. 

This opportunity was provided by Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council for all of our pupils here at Lisburn Central.  Now that this prestigious award has been granted Miss Cleland, over the next number of years will lead and train each class from P1 through to P7, showing progression throughout our school as another thread to the teaching of The World Around Us.

For further information please visit their website on: www.nifsa.org.uk  

We are now as from, October 12th 2021 -

an official “Forest School” right here, at Lisburn Central.

We could not be prouder of this wonderful achievement for our school.

May 2021 we began planting in our new Outdoor Learning Garden.

 Why Forest School?

There are many benefits of Forest School Outdoor Learning:

  • It focuses on the interests of the individual child. Learning is child centred, children can take charge of their own learning.
  • It encourages each child to take their own risks in a safe manner, it highlights the importance of remaining safe.
  • Getting outdoors and being active also has mental and emotional benefits, it can play to the children's strengths. Outdoor learning encourages social skills such as cooperation and negotiation as children can work together to problem solve and overcome obstacles.
  • It encourages positive links between school and home as parents can join in with their children and engage with them whilst learning a new skill. Parents can become facilitators instead of directors.    

September 2021 NIFSA visited us at Lisburn Central.

The outdoor environment can also be:

  • Very stimulating, allowing children to build upon their observational and investigative skills. When doing the same activity over a period of time this can increase confidence and self-esteem in the individual child because challenging but achievable tasks can be set. 
  • Helpful in promoting good relationships and forming positive links between school/home and the wider community. The local council equally can become involved. Thank you to LCCC for funding our new school venture. Our thanks goes to them in helping us begin our exciting new Forest School project.  
  • Very helpful in catering for a high quality of play-based outdoor learning. Children can explore and develop at their own pace of learning and enjoy getting outdoors to do this.
  • Challenging, allowing the children to think in a creative way and helping them to learn how to problem solve within their natural environment. It has been argued that all aspects of the curriculum can be taught outside, stimulating the imagination and bringing many subjects to life in a very real way. 

Brian Poots (NIFSA) states,

"Teachers are starting to realize that the outdoors is a perfect environment for teaching the curriculum - all the resources are there - all of nature is outside."

Indeed in the current climate in which we find ourselves living in, there is no greater time to get outdoors and enjoy our wonderful world. Everything that we need is there and the benefits are limitless.

Through Forest School the whole curriculum can be taught outdoors. It is very much connected learning - Outdoor Play/Literacy/Numeracy/Art, it includes our whole school and school community.


The Northern Ireland Forest School Association (NIFSA), was established in 2008, since then the NIFSA has written and accredited the only nationally recognized Forest School Leader (Level 3) qualification in Northern Ireland. NIFSA have directly contributed to thousands of children engaging with their natural world.   

October 2021 saw the results of our hard work.

November 2021 - Final year students from Stranmillis University College, Belfast

came to see Forest School in action.

We always remember to evaluate!

December 2021 - We are so proud of our school and all that we have

achieved to date. Well done to everyone involved!

March/April 2022