What is Forest School?
Forest schooling is an approach to outdoor learning. It is described as:
“An inspirational process that offers all learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hand-on learning within a woodland or natural environment with trees and plants.”
(Forest Schools Association)
Forest School is based on the principle that children of all ages can benefit greatly from the learning opportunities inherently present in a woodland environment. Forest Schools provides opportunities in an outdoor setting for children to develop a variety of skills: particularly PSHE skills such as independence, self-discovery, communication, self-esteem and confidence building. Children learn to take risks, use their initiatives and co-operate. Beyond this, teachers can use the outdoor environment as a vehicle for art activities, key science concepts, developing physical skills and a whole lot more! In a typical session there may be an adult-led activity, but the ethos of Forest Schools also allows time for children to follow their own learning pathways and interests and adults then support them in their learning.
During Forest School sessions at St. Augustine’s we aim to provide opportunities for children to;
- Learn and make choices and initiate their own learning
- Provide a safe and non-threatening environment in which children can take risks
- Help children understand, appreciate and care for the natural environment
- Develop practical life skills in an outdoor environment
- Promote self-esteem, confidence and a positive attitude to learning through small achievable tasks
- Develop social interactions and team working skills
- Enable participants to be independent, self-motivated and considerate
- Build self-esteem, confidence, independence and self-control
At St. Augustine’s, sessions are planned from observations to suit different learners and their needs. Each session has different learning objectives which link in with Forest School principals which enhance learning experiences and outcomes. Sessions are planned with cross curricular links. Listed below is example of the different activities that are carried out in Forest School sessions.
Our activities will depend on the ability and experience of participants. Examples of Forest School activities include:
- Woodland management
- Environmental exploration
- Nature exploration
- Building dens and other structures
- Fires and cooking
- Games and invitations for imaginative play and discovery
- Natural crafts
- Using tools, such as knives and saws
- Scavenger hunts and adventure
- Creative storytelling
Forest School Staff
Miss Gamble – Forest School Leader
Miss Bush – Forest School Assistant Leader
Both Miss Gamble and Miss Bush have regular, ongoing CPD in Forest Schools skills, techniques and activities from the team at Great Wood Farm, through our Inspire+ membership. Miss Gamble has full paediatric first aid training whilst Miss Bush has basic first aid training.
Clothing List for children.
Appropriate clothing for Forest School is essential as it can be the difference between a comfortable happy experience or an uncomfortable experience. Forest school runs in most weather conditions with the exception of high winds and heavy snow and ice. It is imperative that children come to school dressed for the weather conditions they may experience during the Forest school session that day.
When your child participates in Forest School they will need:
– Long sleeve t-shirt
– Full length trousers
– Warm jumper/fleece
– Sun/winter hat
– Waterproof coat/trousers
– Sun cream (applied before school if needed)