From small acorns- great oak trees grow
“THE BEST CLASSROOM AND THE RICHEST CUPBOARD IS ROOFED ONLY BY THE SKY” – MARGARET MCMILLAN.
What is Forest School?
Forest School England defines Forest School as:
‘an inspirational process that offers children, young people and adults,
regular opportunities to achieve, and develop confidence and self esteem
through hands-on learning experiences in a local woodland environment.’
Forest School was originally a Scandinavian idea. It operates on the principle that children of all ages given regular opportunities of a hands on approach in a woodland setting will develop confidence and self-esteem. It is an inspirational process that fosters independent, creative, resilient and confident learners.
Our children live in an increasing age of fewer opportunities to be outdoors to experience the woodland setting on a regular basis where they have time to explore, learn and investigate their natural world. The learning is initiated by them. They are encouraged and given opportunities to use their imagination and creativity through activities such as shelter building, using tools, fire lighting, campfire cooking and use of knots.
Forest School fosters a deeper relationship and understanding between the learner and the natural world, encouraging respect and a sense of responsibility. It provides a community of trust and belonging. It encourages the ability to recognise and manage risk as well as fun and positive attitude to learning.
Where and when?
Forest School currently takes place for our Year 2 pupils. The children are split into 2 groups accessing the forest fortnightly for a whole morning. At St. Mary’s we are lucky enough to have a fantastic woodland area where all of our forest school sessions take place.
Our Forest School runs all year round and we go out in all weather conditions (unless weather conditions are dangerous such as high winds).
What will my child need to bring?
‘There’s no such thing as bad weather just bad clothes’-Norwegian proverb
Children will need to bring a pair of Wellington boots with their name labelled clearly and a waterproof jacket. We provide all children with waterproof trousers. During the winter months they will also need a warm hat, scarf and gloves. Through the summer please apply sun cream to your child and provide a sun hat. Please ensure your child is dressed appropriately for the different weather conditions.
What happens during a session?
Our session starts with a game where everyone has the opportunity to speak and take a turn. Activities may be based on supporting the curriculum and will have a strong emphasis on raising a child’s independence and self-esteem. Children will have the opportunity to choose from a range of activities offered to them depending on their interest. This will include shelter building, collecting and using natural materials, using tools in a safe manner, observing mini beasts, natural artwork and much more. Opportunity is given for the children to have free play as well as snack, which is always an important part of the session! During this time the children reflect on what they have enjoyed and learnt. This helps the staff to plan for future sessions based on the children’s interests and their style of learning.
Mrs Gardner has recently undergone the level 3 training to be a Forest School practitioner. She is highly passionate about outdoor learning and the benefits for the pupils at St. Mary’s. Other staff have joined her during these sessions to begin to develop Forest School further across the school.
Forest School Updates
Keep track of our Forest School journey by checking our website for regular updates.
Click on the link below to find out further information about what forest School is and the many benefits: