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Forest School

All About Forest School

Forest School sessions are frequent and long term; they provide children with the opportunity to build up a relationship with the natural environment and each other while discovering their passions, interests and skills. Taking place in a natural or wooded area, there are many natural resources at the disposal of both adults and children alike, enabling everyone to be creative and inspired. Opportunities are varied and child led, they are not determined by a set curriculum. Structure is based upon observation and reflection, which serve to inform our child centred approach to learning and development. Learning and development is play based and open ended; the adult’s role is as a facilitator and to ensure children are safe.

Year 2 children playing on the swing.

Year 2 children playing on the swing. 1

Forest School also supports and encourages risky play, where children are given unique opportunities to learn about themselves, the world around them and important life skills such as risk management, reasoning strategies and how to risk assess. Development of children in this setting is holistic; it focuses on physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual aspects, engaging all areas as they interact with one another. Sessions are led by Mrs Mac, who is a trained level 3 Forest School practitioner; the qualification ensures that the Forest School ethos and principles are adhered to along with health and safety requirements.

Mrs Mac turning the chocolate bananas on the fire.

Mrs Mac turning the chocolate bananas on the fire. 1

Our aims at Forest School

Forest school is a place where everyone has the opportunity to learn, grow and develop. Here we can achieve our full potential, enjoy ourselves and develop skills we never knew we had. Forest school is a place where we can all shine.

 

  • Working with the holistic child we aim to build confidence, self esteem, independence, social skills (team working), self reliance, resilience and a positive disposition through forest school activities. We aim to encourage feelings of wellbeing and develop autonomy in a warm, welcoming and safe environment.

  • We aim to educate and encourage empathy for the natural world through a shared ownership of the site. Our children will develop an understanding and respect for our flora and fauna, while discovering how we can care for nature through our actions and sustainable methods.

  • Adults will model good leadership skills. Shadowing children in a supportive safe manner whilst allowing them to take risks, make choices and initiate their own learning through their chosen activities. By allowing learners to feel safe and uninhibited we want to promote spontaneous learning experiences which occur naturally.

  • We aim to allow the children to lead our planning by working as a continuum. Learning in forest school must be simple and flexible within our set boundaries, using observation as a key to developing further sessions. Our planning must always be appropriate for the age, stage and ability of our learners. Small achievable goals are far better for promoting greater confidence and self esteem.

  • We aim to support all adults who are part of our forest school community. The forest can be a daunting place for adults as well as children, so it is important to include everyone in our routines and explain their role within our forest with care.

Using a pruning saw.

Using a pruning saw. 1

Forest School Principles

We run our sessions based upon the Principles set out by Forest School England:

  • Forest School is for everybody.

  • Forest School is a process that builds on an individual's innate motivation and positive attitude to learning, offering the opportunities to take risks, make choices and initiate learning for themselves.

  • Forest School is organised and run by a qualified Forest School Leader.

  • Forest School maximises the learning potential of local woodlands through frequent and regular experiences throughout the year.

  • Forest School helps everyone appreciate and care for the environment.

A year 2 girl whittling a stick using a knife.

A year 2 girl whittling a stick using a knife.  1

Clothing

Appropriate clothing is very important when attending forest school. Children need to be warm, comfortable and able to stay dry in a variety of weather conditions. A list of clothing requirements will be provided to parents/carers prior to the commencement of Forest School sessions. In cold weather layers of clothing are recommended as they will provide the most warmth. Should a child become too hot layers can be removed in order to make them more comfortable.

Forest school clothing list:

 

Winter:

    • Vest or T-shirt
    • Long sleeved top
    • Hooded top or thick jumper
    • Fleece
    • Waterproof jacket
    • Thermal socks or multiple layers of thinner socks ( + spare socks)
    • Warm trousers
    • Waterproof trousers
    • Wellington boots
    • Hat
    • Gloves
    • Scarf

Children wearing winter layers in their den.

Children wearing winter layers in their den. 1

Summer:

    • Long sleeved T-shirt or top. (Arms must be covered in forest school)
    • Thin trousers. ( Legs must be covered in forest school- No shorts)
    • Socks (+ spare socks)
    • Wellington boots /walking boots
    • Sunhat
    • Sunscreen.
 

Shorts and sort sleeved tops cannot be worn as children’s arms and legs must always be covered within a woodland environment. The school will carry a selection of spare waterproof clothing, hats, gloves and wellington boots and socks in order to insure children are appropriately dressed.

Long sleeved T-shirts are ideal for the summer in Forest School.

Long sleeved T-shirts are ideal for the summer in Forest School. 1

Drinks and snacks

 

Children are encouraged to bring a water bottle and snack to forest school. In hot weather water bottles are essential in order to stay cool and well hydrated.

Throughout our sessions we aim to offer a warm drink such as hot chocolate, along with a variety of foods which will be cooked on the camp fire.


 

Children making chocolate bananas ready for the fire.

Children making chocolate bananas ready for the fire. 1
Click below for hedgehog's Forest School photos
Click below for Squirrel's forest school photos
Click below for Woodpecker's forest School photos

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