Forest School Intent:
The ethos of Forest School is based on a respect for children and their capacity to initiative, investigate and maintain curiosity in the world around them. It believes in a child's right to play; the right to access the outdoors (and in particular a woodland environment); the right to experience risk in a controlled way in the natural world along with the right to develop their emotional intelligence through social interaction, building a resilience to enable creative engagement with their peers and their potential.
Forest School is an inspirational process that offers all learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees. Children who struggle learning indoors are often enabled to develop new ways of learning and coping with the world. The opportunity to succeed in an alternative environment makes Forest School a great place for children of all ages showing challenging behaviour to have a “second chance” in a new environment.
Forest School is based on the process of learning - more on the 'how' than the 'what'. Forest School practice embraces collaborative unplanned, unexpected and ultimately unlimited learning. Children are encouraged to direct their own learning - this is often inspired by the Forest School leader either through stimulating play in the outdoors or through 'scaffolding' a child's learning, but mostly through simply observing how children are in the outdoors. The most important thing is to encourage the natural curiosity present in children and to enable them to open their eyes and experience the wonders of the world around them.
The woodland environment is central in supporting this approach to learning: the changing of the seasons, to the contemplation of an ancient tree; the dynamic nature of an outdoor environment - an infinite source of smells, textures, sounds and tastes and a range of visual stimuli all contribute to the Forest School learning experience.
A Forest School encourages children to:
Activities for Forest Schools are diverse and numerous, we are trying to create independent learners who are inspired to try out their own ideas, explore their own interests and to attempt new ideas.
Some activities might include:
No person will be permitted to go to Forest School without appropriate clothing that will protect them from extremes of heat or cold, keep them covered to reduce the likelihood of cuts and scrapes, that fits appropriately for comfort, and that meets any religious requirements.
Children and parents are encouraged to think about the usefulness of their clothing for outdoor activities, and to be aware they are likely to take some of our mud home with them after a session. In the woodland it can often be cooler than expected under the shade of the trees.
We work on the principle that “there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing”.
Before each session, the forest school leader must carry out a risk assessment of the forest school site.The forest school leader must identify and remove/reduce and risks that are found during the risk assessment.
Forest school lessons should make learning more relevant to their lives in the community and wider world. We encourage children to be responsible for and respect the local community and environment giving them a sense of belonging and ownership of the place in which they live. We explore the uses of the local area, integrating subjects so that meaningful activities can be planned and delivered effectively and regularly.
We measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods: