Forest School is an educational programme developed from Danish ideas of working with children and young people in the outdoors, helping to build their self esteem, social skills and independence. Hands—on activities with natural materials develop practical and intellectual skills, which can be linked to the National Curriculum.
Forest School aims to boost confidence through setting students up to succeed. tasks are broken down into small achievable chunks that are matched to students’ capabilities. In addition, Forest School helps children become part of an effective and efficient team and to participate in a range of creative, sensory and environmental awareness activities. Forest School uses children’s learning styles as a basis for the presentation of all activities. Children who learn visually can access learning through the demonstrations. All activities are presented through speech for those children who learn aurally. Freedom to touch, feel and ‘do’ satisfies the kinaesthetic learner.
Every child in the lower school takes part in Forest School for 5 or 6 sessions a year. The team of trained leaders guide the children through the Forest School experience opening their senses to the wonders of the woodland world and instilling in them a care for the outdoors. Exploring and using natural materials from the woods the children create things – some permanent, some ephemeral. Their skills in safely using tools such as secateurs and saws are developed under close supervision by the team.
All classes experience the fascination of cooking on a real fire. Throughout the whole experience the children are encouraged to be independent, responsible and successful at what they do. The resulting effect on their confidence and self-esteem is very notable.
Forest School is a powerful and welcome addition to life at the school.
Forest School Activities
There are so many activities that take place during sessions but here are some examples:
Flora & Fauna Identification
Painting with mud
Building bug hotels
Campfire & cooking
Forest School by its nature encourages children to enjoy the outdoors and promotes healthy and active lifestyles.
By encouraging parent participation parents are supported in keeping their children active and healthy.
Through learning how to risk assess, children are learning about key risks and how to deal with them.
They are learning how to secure a safe environment.
Forest school is inclusive and children with a wide range of disabilities and special needs are safely accommodated.
Enjoy & Achieve
Forest school promotes children’s development and well-being both physical and mental and helps them meet their goals and achieve with enjoyment.
Children are enabled and encouraged through small achievable challenges to achieve highly.
Children with learning disabilities are supported to enjoy and achieve through forest school.
All children can access and learn to enjoy and achieve through active recreation.
Making a Positive Contribution
Through forest school children are supporting in developing socially and emotionally.
Children are supported to respond to challenges and experience success.
Children are encouraged to take part in decision making.
Children with disabilities and special educational needs are supported to make a positive contribution.
Forest school helps to challenge anti-social behaviour by addressing a range of learning styles and acknowledging and challenging children’s schema.
All children should have their basic needs met; a secure home, food to eat and a right to education. If we are to secure even these very basic of needs for future generations we must consider issues of sustainability. In giving children knowledge of and love for their environment and some ideas on how to conserve and care for it. Forest school contributes to economic security for the future.