‘Not all classrooms have four walls’
‘The best learning happens when the sky is the limit’
This autumn we have been lucky enough to start our own Forest School run by Miss Reed who has worked in the Outdoor Education industry for ten years; she is a qualified Forest School leader (FSL3) accredited by the Forest School Association (FSA) and holds a certificate in Outdoor First Aid.
The ethos of Forest School is to provide an opportunity for personal growth and development whilst engaging with nature. Those who take part will be given the chance to develop their curiosity, confidence, self-esteem, creativity, empathy, communication skills and knowledge of nature.
The development of Forest Schools in the UK is based on a Scandinavian idea that recognises the importance of children’s contact with nature. The first-hand experiences of learning outside can contribute significantly to pupils’ educational, personal, social and emotional development. The adult’s role is to teach skills and to facilitate learning; giving children the chance to make choices and to follow their own learning.
Sessions will run outside all year round and in all weathers (except in extreme circumstances) and include focused, planned activities including; bush craft, mud play, den building and team games, as well as child initiated activities. Natural resources are used to stimulate imagination, creativity, increase curiosity of the world and investigation. Sessions are a fantastic opportunity to explore and assess risk and to take the time to stop and reflect on their experiences, asking questions and making sense of their own thoughts and feelings in the natural world. Children gain soft skills like creativity, emotional intelligence and cooperation which will be valuable in the future.
In developing an appreciation of nature, we also begin to nurture a deep understanding of the Christian teachings of community, kindness and the beauty of the natural world. In developing respect for other living beings, we begin to understand our responsibilities as guardians and custodians of our planet. By attending Forest School children will develop a lifelong love and understanding of the natural world whilst building their social skills, self-esteem and confidence in a secure, natural environment. Through engaging in collaborative outside activities children can also learn transferable skills such as; how to work as a team, to encourage and support the efforts of others, to be good listeners and negotiators, to be brave, self-reliant and flexible, and, perhaps most importantly, it’s fun!