What is forest school?
Forest school is an inspirational process that helps and offers ALL learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands on learning experiences in a natural environment with trees.
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
During our Forest School sessions the children will 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 as well as, how to protect and look after our environment. This allows the children to take appropriate risks in a safe and natural environment.
How children are kept safe?
At each session there is always a Forest School leader who is trained in outdoor first aid. A mobile phone enables contact to be made quickly with the main school, most school staff are first aid trained. The schools accident and emergency procedures will be followed at all time
There is a high ratio of adults to children in Forest School. (At least 1 adult to six children.)
Children are shown the boundaries of the outdoor learning space and are given the chance to look at self-risk benefits 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)
If you would like to come to help at Forest School we need all the help we can get... just contact Sam (Forest School Leader) through the office or for an informal conversation around school or in Breakfast or after school club. (We welcome parent help but ask that parents help out in classes that their own children do not attend-this is to allow your child to gain self-confidence).
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 will be dealt with in line with the schools Behaviour Management 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:
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.
About each session.
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.
Red Kites class – we have worked on Team building, which has resulted in some fantastic mud sculptures and Indian art using the resources in the woods and ourselves. We are now in the middle of building a fairy garden to go in the Cherry class garden area and we will finish the session at the end of this term with making damper bread and cooking it over a fire pit!
Heron class – We have been working on working together and listening skills , this has enabled us to build some fantastic dens as well as some good Indian art creations. Over the next few weeks we will be making simple wooden puppets using a different variety of tools and these hopefully will provide some fun for Acorn class as they use them in the garden area.
Puffins and Robins class - more information to follow nearer the end of this term.
If you would like to ask any questions or know more about Forest school then please feel free to drop me an email or contact me through the office.
Sam (Forest School Leader)