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Forest School

Intent

Forest School sessions aim to enhance a child’s mental and physical wellbeing. Throughout the school year every child will take their learning outside into our woodland area, building on skills learned in the classroom and being introduced to new ones designed to encourage independent thinking and build confidence in their own abilities.

Principles of Forest School – taken from www.forestschoolassociation.org

Principle 1 – Forest School is a long-term process of frequent and regular sessions in a woodland or natural environment, rather than a one-off visit. Planning, adaptation, observations and reviewing are integral elements of Forest School.

Principle 2 – Forest School takes place in a woodland or natural wooded environment to support the development of a relationship between the learner and the natural world.

Principle 3 – Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners.

Principle 4 – Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.

Principle 5 – Forest School is run by qualified Forest School practitioners who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice.

Principle 6 – Forest School uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for development and learning.

To me, what makes Andrews’ is Forest School because it is great to be learning outside.  During these sessions, we find and use nature, build dens in our secret garden (wooded area) and use fire for a number of applications.  It’s great to learn with others in the class that we would not normally decide to learn with.  It is also great for us to take learning into our own hands a little more. 

Elliot

Implementation

Forest School as a concept originated in Scandinavia. It was observed that children taking part in regular outdoor learning where they were able to learn about and manage risk, showed increased self-esteem and confidence in other areas in their lives.

During our Forest School sessions pupils are encouraged to explore the environment around them, building an understanding of their place within the ecosystem, observe the changing seasons, flora and fauna and their own impact on the area.

Children are at the centre of planning at Forest School, adopting a whole-child ethos, rather than solely academic. Every child is an individual and will learn in different ways, varied tasks with opportunities for play, discovery and success aim to boost resilience and confidence. Regular observations take place to ensure task levels are appropriate and benefit those involved.

Children are given the space and freedom to explore and, with appropriate scaffolding from teachers, learn how to manage risk at their own pace.

A combination of games and tasks to encourage both movement and reflection aim to have a positive effect on the participants mental and physical wellbeing.

We use ropes, tarpaulins and natural materials in our activities and once confident in their surroundings pupils will also take part in tasks promoting the safe use of tools and fire.