Forest school has been an integral part of Early Years education in Scandinavia since the 1950s. The philosophy was based upon a desire to provide young children with an education that encouraged an appreciation of the natural world and responsibility for nature conservation in later life.
What does it involve?
It involves taking the children on regular visits to the same area of woodland and allowing them to explore the natural environment. Our Forest School programme will initially run from our own playing fields. This will allow your child to become comfortable with the Forest School outdoor approach to learning and play whilst still in their familiar surroundings. Relationships will be developed based on trust and self awareness, these developments will facilitate the reflective child led approach to the outdoor curriculum that underpins the Forest School ethos.
What happens at forest school?
When we arrive at the Forest school area we count the children in and remind them of the rules. We then spend some time reflecting on any changes to the environment. We do an activity together and have a drink and then it is time to explore. Their own interests and play ideas will be the basis of activities to extend their learning. it might include :- Hide ; seek, den building, creating a picture on the floor using natural materials, making a nest or a shelter for an animal or ourselves, bug hunting, collecting ; sorting, singing, listening, observing growth ; decay, noting changes in seasons, leaf printing, tree rubbing ; many more.
Resources will not include worksheets but will include:- Mud, sticks, logs, leaves, stones, string, collecting boxes, magnifying glasses, tarpaulins, charcoal, water and imagination.
We then gather together and share some of our work, and finally count everybody out as we leave forest school.
Tool use, fire lighting and cooking are gradually introduced alongside strict safety procedures. Over time as the learners become more familiar and confident, not only do they learn how to use tools appropriately and safely but such activities can also promote trust and raise self-confidence and self-esteem.
How will the children benefit from forest school?
To help children understand, appreciate and care for the natural environment.
To help children develop a relationship with their environment through frequent and regular experiences throughout the year, not just as a one-off.
To build on children's confidence, independence and self esteem.
To develop the children's thinking, speaking and problem solving skills.
To support all areas of learning in the foundation stage and the early learning goals.
Health and safety
Risk assessments have been carried out for the area in consultation with the heath and safety handbook will be taken to Forest school, each week, with medical records and contact details for everyone taking part.
The health and safety handbook also contains information on emergency procedures.
The forest school leader will make a safety sweep of the forest school area before taking the children each week.
Woolly hat / sun hat
t-shirt / vest
Sturdy trainers, boots or wellies
waterproof jacket/over trousers supplied by school
A small rucksack. A light water bottle (fruit shoot size ideal).
An extra layer is useful in the rucksack in case weather changes. Rain will not cause a cancellation unless accompanied by high wind.
Please use old clothes and let your child know that at Forest School they CAN GET DIRTY and you don't mind! Sun cream should also be applied if weather is hot.