When does Forest School happen?
We pride ourselves in the fact that all classes (Year R through to Year 6) take part in Forest School sessions
on a weekly basis throughout the year. This means that the children experience Forest School sessions through the seasons and it is a long term process for the children.
What is Forest School?
The Forest School concept originates from Scandinavia where outdoor learning is embedded and children
spend the majority of their time outdoors. Forest School was brought to the UK in the early 1990s.
A UK definition of Forest School was formulated in 2002:
'An inspirational process that offers children, young people
and adults regular opportunities to achieve, develop confidence and self esteem through hands-on learning
experiences in a local woodland environment.'
Forest School is a long term process for children where they have
regular contact with a local wooded environment over the seasons. It is child centred where the learning is predominantly
child led and they learn to manage risk. Careful observations of the children within Forest School sessions mean that
practitioners can help to scaffold the children’s learning. Independence is promoted. The children learn the countryside
code and how to care for the natural world. During Forest School activities the children will be physically active a lot of
the time and will build up their stamina. The children will grow in confidence, build resilience and perseverance and
over time their self-esteem will improve which will impact on their emotional and mental well-being.
What happens in Forest School?
During Forest School sessions there will be activities on offer for the children to access but the emphasis will be
on the children choosing what they do. Some of the activities the children can access may include things like den building,
chopping firewood, building fires and lighting them using flint and steel, whittling, wood crafts, team building games,
bug hunts, making rope swings and flora and fauna identification are just some examples! Your child will benefit from
these sessions in so many ways, physical health from being outside on a regular basis, improved coordination and fine
motor skills, for example knot tying, opportunities to be creative, develop their imagination, problem solve and take risks
and improve perseverance. They will be encouraged to build up their resilience and perseverance which means they will
continue to practise and develop a particular skill until they are successful.
Children will be encouraged to try things out and learn from experience, rather than rigidly following a set of instructions.
This often involves learning to work as a team to get something done, feeling comfortable with asking for and offering help
and learning how to cope with failure or setbacks. All crucial emotional skills to take with them into the adult world.
All Forest school sessions will be led by a Level 3 qualified leader (currently Mrs Robbins and Mrs Stewart) with
paediatric First Aid qualification (renewed every 3 years). Forest School assistants will have a minimum of
Level 1 Forest School training, or have been inducted by the Forest School leader. We have three more members of staff
about to embark on their Level 3 Forest School Leader training.
The Forest School site is risk assessed on a daily basis and a member of staff carries out a safety sweep before all
sessions. All activities that the children do are risk assessed. There are strict rules around the camp fire and
an adult will always be present whilst the fire is lit.