Welcome to our Forest School Page
What is Forest School?
Forest School originated in Scandinavia and was brought to the UK in the early 1990s. Sessions are always child led (to encourage independence), occur on a weekly basis for a number of weeks (to build trust and relationships) and outside (to gain the many physical and emotional benefits from being in nature).
The Forest School ethos aims to promote students’ confidence, social skills, sense of self-worth and emotional well-being in an outdoors environment. Students are taught some skills but the main focus is on encouraging them to find things out for themselves through play. This can include games, stories, creative expression and sharing. Through play the child develops their initiative and imagination (problem solving), learns resilience and resourcefulness (perseverance and determination), how to give and ask for help and support from peers (emotional intelligence and teamwork), and how to appropriately self-manage risk in an increasingly risky world. It is important to recognise that Forest School is not simply an outside classroom or a nature lesson.
There is no written academic work and no tests or exams. The aim is for the children to enjoy learning at its most organic – outside and through their interests and curiosities.
What happens in Forest School?
Activities are provided during a forest school session but the emphasis is on the children choosing what they do. Initially, the children will be learning about the rules and behaviour we expect in the forest. They will then go on to participate in more creative activities these could include:
Crafts, woodland treasure hunts, games, storytelling, singing, identifying flora and fauna and small group discussions.
The benefits of being outside will include improved coordination and physical health, the development of imagination and initiative; problem solving and perseverance. Children are 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.
Health and Safety
All Forest school sessions are led by Miss Brookes is a Level 3 qualified Forest School Leader. Miss Brookes is also qualified in paediatric First Aid.
All activities are risk assessed and the site will be every session. Dynamic risk assessments continually take place throughout each session with the children helping and therefore learning how to be safe and what risks to look for.
Clothing and weather
As long as Miss Brookes deems it safe, children are encouraged to get as messy as they like. Many children and young people miss out on experiential learning because they are overly concerned with getting dirty or spoiling their clothes. Parents can help them overcome this by making sure that they wear an old coat that they don’t have to worry about. Forest School happens in all weathers (unless extreme and deemed unsafe by the leader) including snow, rain and heat.