Welcome to our Forest School Page
Ms Brookes has been running Forest School sessions at Yardley Wood since 2017.
Starting by taking children to a local park, Forest School happened for just an hour a week. Mr Turner and Ms Brookes saw a really positive impact of these sessions and agreed more needed to be done!
We were very lucky to be able to use the Forest School woodland at Haslucks Green Junior School for a couple of years and children enjoyed whole afternoon sessions.
The site at Haslucks Green was inspiring and lots of fun but the journey to and from the site felt like wasted time so, in April 2020, Yardley Wood’s Forest School site was developed. Trees were planted, a fire circle arranged and wildflowers sown - the site had a year to grow but now in April 2021, Forest School starts again, this time on the school site. Though the trees are still young, there is so much potential for fun and learning!
Ms Brookes will be taking small groups out for Forest School sessions most days after Easter 2021. She is very excited!
What is Forest School?
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. Hopefully they will also learn resilience and resourcefulness (perseverance and determination), how to give and ask for help and support from peers and how to appropriately self-manage risk. Forest School is not simply an outside classroom or a nature lesson - there is no written academic work and no tests or exams. We hope the children will enjoy developing new skills, learning some facts and will gain an appreciation of nature.
What happens in Forest School?
Activities are provided during a forest school session but the emphasis is on the children learning their own ways to process activities. Initially the children will learn how to behave appropriately in an outdoor environment and the rules of our Forest School area. 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.
Where is Forest School?
Forest School sessions will take place on our new Forest School site. The site is full of young trees and plants. We will learn together about keeping the site maintained and allowing all plants to grow naturally so more children can enjoy it in the future. Children can only access the site when with a member of school staff.
Health and Safety
All Forest school sessions are led by Ms Brookes is a Level 3 qualified Forest School Leader. Ms Brookes is also qualified in paediatric First Aid.
All activities are risk assessed and the site will be checked 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.
There is a 3 strikes behaviour policy. If a child does not follow instructions or Ms Brookes or any other member of staff feels they are not acting safely they will get a warning. If they receive 3 warnings during a session they will miss the following session. We want everyone to enjoy Forest School but, as it can be full of risks, it is very important to be able to follow instructions to stay safe.
We will, as long as Ms Brookes deems it safe, be having a fire at the end of each block of sessions so that we can enjoy some marshmallows!
Clothing and weather
As long as Ms 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 Ms Brookes) including snow, rain and heat.