What is Forest Schools?
Forest Schools originated in Scandinavia in the 1950s as a way of learning about the natural world, by the 1980s they had become an integral part of the Danish early years program. Forest Schools are successful for children of all ages who visit the same woodlands on a regular basis. Through play, they learn about the natural environment, how to handle risks and most importantly to use their own initiative to solve problems and co-operate with others. Sessions run throughout the year in all weathers. Children explore, play, learn boundaries of behaviour and grow in confidence, self-esteem and motivation.
Forest Schools: Intent, Implementation, Impact
At Collierley Primary and Nursery School, Forest Schools provides a nurturing space that supports our children’s wellbeing by providing and implementing positive, outdoor, child centred experiences in a natural setting.
Children participating in Forest Schools have a half day session weekly. Our provision is in a secure, large woodland and fielded area at the back of the school. These two hours provide children with the time to experience their environment and be fully emerged within their learning. Level three trained Forest School providers lead Forest School sessions across a variety of age ranges and children’s skills are developed as they progress through the school. Children develop practical skills such as knot tying, fire lighting and the safe, responsible use of tools.
Children are active, take ownership of their learning and develop their self-esteem through a variety of independent tasks they take ownership of. Children develop knowledge of sustainability and respect for their learning environment and the outdoors as a whole. Children develop their teamwork skills and increase their capability to work together to solve problems in a variety of ways, taking into account one another’s ideas. Positive relationships are built through these sessions and children are both enabled and empowered to achieve their holistic potential.
Our Forest School Site
We are exceptionally lucky at Collierley Primary School to have such a vast, natural site. Within our school site there is a variety of flora and fauna. The children love to observe the natural changes to the environment.
How will my child benefit from Forest School?
Through the Forest School ethos we aim to provide children with opportunities to take measured risks, learn more about themselves and their relationships with others. Under the guidance of a fully qualified Forest School Leader we aim for all children to experience nature in a hands on, safe secure and supported environment. Activities are carefully planned to provide small achievable tasks so that no child will fail thus helping to raise self-esteem and confidence in every child. Children learn how to work with and react to the natural environment.
Will my child be safe?
The short answer is yes, each Forest School session is fully risk assessed. There will always be at least 1 fully qualified Forest School leader at each session and one other adult. Forest School sessions take place on school grounds which are completely secure. Children will learn to manage their own risks and work within their personal physical and mental limitations.
Who will organise and run the Forest School sessions?
Sessions will be planned and run by fully qualified Forest School leaders: Mrs McGee or Mrs McDermid. All curriculum areas can be taught within the Forest School with some being taught through a range of adventurous activities: cooking on an open fire, shelter building, using hand tools and much, much more.
Why do children take part in Forest Schools?
At Collierley Primary we aim to use this powerful approach to learning to teach our children to be independent, self-motivated, courageous, considerate and set them up for lifelong learning. Read more about Nature deficit disorder discovered by Richard Louv. This disorder is a negative outcome of modern life for many. Watch this short clip of Richard Louv being interviewed by Canada AM.