The role of Forest School
Forest School gives the children an opportunity to spend a day outdoors learning in a completely different way to the conventional classroom model. Forest School celebrates the right of all children to play, as decreed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Whilst outside the children are involved in a diverse range of activities including:
- Team building games;
- Trust building activities;
- Safe construction, lighting and use of fire, Preparing and cooking food on an open fire;
- Use of cutting tools such as secateurs, loppers, bow-saw, knife and axe;
- Ground maintenance projects such as planting and staking trees, clearing nettles and brambles from pond and garden areas, keeping paths in good order, hedge laying;
- Use of knots;
- Gardening projects including preparing soil, planting, growing, harvesting and eating;
- Construction projects such as making stars, stick and leaf mobiles, fence building, labyrinth construction, birdhouses, etc;
- Creative art activities such as sketching, sculpture with natural materials found on site;
- Creating shelters with a range of materials from putting up tents to using tarpaulins and ropes;
- Solving problems in using a kinaesthetic approach in an outdoor context.
Through these activities children benefit in many ways:
- Respect for the environment – All our activities are based outside and we work with the natural resources around us. By noticing and using the environment children learn to appreciate and respect it.
- Physical health – Fresh air and physical activity make for a healthy body which helps everyone learn.
- Self esteem – The structured approach to tasks and the emphasis on setting children up to succeed raises self esteem – children who struggle in the confines of the classroom will often thrive outside and therefore they will have higher self esteem.
- Social skills – Children learn to be more cooperative and to respect each other. They learn that different people have different sets of skills and approach things in different ways – there is often no right or wrong way.
- Problem solving – Many of the activities require the children to think about how they can get a task done.
- Independence – Although always offered assistance, children will be left to try and achieve and complete tasks in small groups developing their independence.
In order to take a full and active part in Forest School, children should come properly prepared. They will get muddy, and clothes might get grass-stained and torn, so we recommend old clothes that are not valuable!
Summer Forest School – warm and sunny…
Winter Forest School – cold and wet…
Long sleeved hoody/jacket
Apply sun-cream at start of day
Hayfever sufferers - Take anti-histamine before coming to school
Old trainers or walking boots/shoes
Old warm clothes
Two pairs of socks when wearing welly boots
Gloves, hat and scarf if it is really cold
Several layers in the cold are better than one thick one
Alternative footwear for inside wear
Strappy tops/vest tops
Canvas shoes or ballet pumps
Remember how changeable the weather can be. Even on a hot summer morning there is always the chance that it will cloud over and rain, so a light waterproof (pac-a-mac) is a good idea even in the summer.