A Forest School is a secure area of woodland, which acts as an outdoor classroom where children can explore, investigate and discover the natural environment. They provide a valuable teaching tool for curriculum subjects and are an effective way to support and enrich the learning process over a wide range of subjects.
Key Features of Forest Schools:
- Allows every child to have a voice, especially those who find it difficult to communicate in the more conventional learning environment.
- The use of a natural outdoor environment.
- Child-led approach to children’s learning which is fun and unhurried.
- A high adult to child ratio allows children to undertake new experiences and challenges whilst taking appropriate risks.
- Long term programme that allows repetition where children come into contact with nature using all their senses.
- Supports personalised learning.
- Builds children’s confidence and self esteem as they are responsible for making their own decisions and are carefully supported to achieve.
- Trained adults are facilitators and observers, rather than leaders and directors.
What are Forest Schools?. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
- Regular and ongoing
- A way of raising confidence and self-esteem
- Safe, outdoor play and education
- A way to learn how to manage risks
- The chance to develop emotionally and physically
- An opportunity to learn about the curriculum in a natural environment
What children do at Forest Schools?. . . . . . . . .
- Build dens and shelters
- Games and physical activity
- Music and lots of noise
- Trails and Treasure hunts
- Creativity and Art
- Using tools safely to make natural items
- Fires, cooking and healthy eating
- Science and technology
Forest Schools at Peel Park is a regular on-going programme, for lower KS2, KS1 and Foundation pupils, in experiencing varied activities specifically planned to key elements of the national curriculum.
Taking their learning outside raises all children’s confidence, self esteem, social and motivational skills as well as gaining knowledge of the natural environment around them and the world they live in.
This is done through daily 2 hourly sessions over a 6 – 8 week period with trained members of staff that monitors and assesses children’s progress and plan opportunities for them to develop holistically.
Children wear appropriate outdoor clothing and participate in Forest schools sessions every day……whatever the weather! Children may bring home items they have found and made during the sessions. This is encouraged and designed to be a ‘talking point’ at home for the child to link to the next session.
All sessions are fully risk assessed and staff have appropriate First Aid training and equipment with them at all times. Activities may involve the use of tools, such as saws and knives and the usage of a fire in order to develop co-operation and team work skills. Again, all these activities are risk assessed and children are given ‘tool talks’ on the safe handling and use of these items.