What is forest school?
Forest school is an inspirational process that offers ALL learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a natural environment.
Forest Schooling is ‘a method of working outdoors with children, young people and adults focusing on their needs and using the natural environment to promote social and emotional progress’ (Knight 2009 p119)
At Forest School all participants are viewed as:
- Equal, unique and valuable
- Competent to explore and discover
- Entitled to experience appropriate risk and challenges
- Entitled to choose and to initiate as well as drive their own learning and development
- Entitled to experience regular success
- Entitled to develop positive relationships with themselves and others
- Entitled to develop a strong, positive relationship with their natural world
We are lucky to have our Forest School site on the school premises which allows easy access and a vast range of opportunities for learning and exploration.
During our Forest School sessions,our children have the opportunity to explore the outdoors area whilst challenging themselves with different activities which include tree climbing, team building, tool use and den building. In addition to learning about the outdoor area they develop an understanding of how to protect and look after our environment. This allows the children to take appropriate risks in safe, natural surroundings.
How children are kept safe?
At each session there is always a Forest School leader who is trained in outdoor first aid. A walkie talkie enables contact to be made quickly with the main school where further staff are first aid trained. The schools accident and emergency procedures are followed at all times.
There is a high ratio of adults to children in Forest School.
Children are shown the boundaries of the outdoor learning space and are given the chance to consider their personal safety alongside risk assessments carried out by the Leader and Staff attending Forest school.
How can you help?
Children should have clothing appropriate to the weather (old clothing is better) - see below.
Forest School will only be cancelled in extreme weather if the site is deemed unsafe or if there are not enough adults to accompany the children.
Behaviour is managed in line with the schools Behaviour Policy. However, we reserve the right to exclude a child from attending Forest School if their behaviour is dangerous to themselves or anyone in Forest School.
Why is Forest School such a great opportunity for your children?
1. Research has shown that learning that takes place in the outdoors is much more powerful and memorable as all the senses are involved.
2. Forest Schools develop children through a child-led approach.
3. Children are taught how to assess risks for themselves.
4. Children are able to develop their speech, language, social skills and empathy.
5. They learn to respect and appreciate the natural environment.
- Welly boots or sturdy shoes – not school shoes please.
- Waterproof outer clothing – trousers and coat
- Warm clothing to put under water proofs – long sleeves and trousers
Please ensure you provide old clothes and a carrier bag to transport clothing home after Forest school as the children are likely to get muddy.
You will be informed of the day your child will be attending Forest School the term before.
What will they do there?
Children will gradually build up to different activities as trust is gained. These may include:
- Mud faces
- Shelter building
- Collecting fire wood
- Fire lighting safety
- Using basic tools under supervision.
- Using a talking stick for listening and talking to each other around the fire circle.
- Team building
- Tree climbing
Children will be in the Forest for about an hour and a half each time. The session usually starts with an opening discussion around the fire circle. Then the activities available are explained and any safety training given to them.
Children then choose what they would like to do and the session closes with a reflection around the fire circle.