The Importance of Forest School
Forest School utilises the natural resources found in woodland environments to enhance learning, developing a deep appreciation and empathy for nature. Forest School practitioners are highly trained to deliver quality safe learning opportunities for adults and children.
The emphasis for learning is child centred and activities promote social and emotional development and well being. Practitioners skillfully identify individuals’ needs and preferred learning styles, planning activities that provide opportunities to enhance and develop their learning.
Forest School takes place over a long period of time ensuring that the practitioner and participants have built a strong and meaningful relationship with each other and the forest.
A Forest School Day
Each Forest School session starts with a review of previous learning this can take many forms and is linked to different learning styles. There is a reflection time at the end of each session encouraging the group to think about their learning. A true Forest School would run for a long time possibly as long as a year. The practitioner spends the first six weeks getting to know the children, making observations and identifying how the participants choose to learn. The children are given time to explore and develop their own interests. This time ensures that trust between the group is established and effective social and communication skills are developed. Other more challenging tasks may then be introduced.
Forest School at Pear Tree
We have been developing our use of Forest School at Pear Tree. We have created an outdoor learning curriculum that includes many of the features of Forest School. We hope to implement tool and fire lighting skills over the next year, across the school. Reception and key stage one classes take part in regular visits to the school grounds developing their curiosity in familiar and safe surroundings. Most classes take part in residential visits where they experience a campfire. Key stage two classes also make use of the school grounds and make trips to near by Milldale to experience a different environment. We strongly believe in the benefits of Forest School and learning outside.
How Forest School Enhances the Curriculum
We have developed a curriculum map, which outlines how each class will experience the outdoors, and what kind of Forest School skills they will learn. We hope that from being outside children will have a context for their learning and will benefit from first hand experiences. Research shows that if children have access to a rich outdoor environment full of irresistible stimuli, contexts for play, exploration and talk, and plenty of real experiences they will perform better in other areas of the curriculum, develop better concentration, resilience and independence.
How Safe Is It?
We believe that it is important for children to take risks and learn how to manage risk. Government documentation also backs this up. Every Child Matters highlights the importance of risk taking in the development of children as life long learners. Children need challenge and risk within a framework of security and safety. The outdoor environment lends itself to offering challenge, helping children learn how to be safe and to be aware of others.
Click on the link below to view our Forest School curriculum.
Useful Forest School Websites.