Engaging through nature
The Forest School concept originated in Denmark as an opportunity for pre-school children to develop their skills for socialising, building self-confidence and self-esteem as well as developing effective communication. In turn this would give them a better starting point for their formal education.
Using the natural environment to help expose the ‘nature smart’ self, activities within the Forest School experience encourage the development of concentration, motivation, better motor skills, communication, self-reflection, use of tools, evaluation, decision making and a discovery of how each child learns best as an individual. All of which links closely to the Learning@Woodbridge approach to learning that is adopted with in the classroom. From Reception to Year 6 there is a clear progression of skills that promotes independent learning, introduces and reinforces the use of tools, skills and safety procedures as well as promoting self-exploration.
The sessions are run by a qualified and experienced Forest School leader who also holds a Paediatric Outdoor First Aid qualification. During the sessions, children will be introduced to tools and fire in a controlled and progressive way so that they can learn to assess risk for themselves. By engaging in such activities, the children gain in confidence, self-motivation and concentration as well as learning new physical skills.
1, 2, 3 Where Are You?
During the Forest School session, the children develop a greater understanding of their outdoor environment by thinking about their safety and well-being as well as taking care of the other members of their group. They are dressed appropriately and rules are followed for walking to the site, behaviour and using equipment. Sessions involve games, crafts, tools and reflection on their feelings and experiences whilst outside. Whilst some of the session is adult led, the children also have the opportunity to follow their own interests.
Beyond Forest School
As well as being child led, Forest School sessions are a great opportunity to bring the classroom learning outdoors. This might involve an Anglo-Saxon feast where the children prepare and cook Anglo-Saxon bread and a pottage stew. It might be part of a Science lesson where the children hone their fire lighting skills so that they can observe what happens when they burn different materials.
Forest School for Families
Don’t let the children have all the fun! During the year we hold several sessions for the pupils and their families when the children love to show off their favourite tree or hiding place or to demonstrate how well they can light a fire or use a bow saw. This sharing of skills, knowledge and understanding about their outdoor environment is invaluable for the children.
Forest Schools enables us to bring the curriculum to life and is embedded into what we do and our philosophy for exploratory, investigation-led learning. Developing core life skills in a fun and challenging environment ensures that our pupils really embrace the education of the whole self. Not just available as a club or a hobby we value the benefits that the Forest School experience can bring.