Forest School is a child-led inspirational learning process. Children go to the woodland environment each week, at the same time throughout the year. Children see the changing Seasons within the environment and explore different types of weather.
Forest School sessions focus on supporting the child’s growth, holistically. They take part in a range of fun, motivational activities, games. This includes the development of emotional literacy and tasks including the safe use of tools and fire lighting. Through this, children develop their self-confidence, self-esteem and social skills. They learn to explore the environment, engage in supported risk taking and problem solving activities. Children also learn how to be resilient, for example, some children struggle to make a spark the first time they use a magnesium striker yet they persevere until they are able to do so.
Forest School was brought to the UK in 1993 by a group of Nursery Nurses who visited Scandinavia and witnessed the benefits of Forest School first hand.
The Forest School sessions at Chellow Heights are led by a trained Forest School Practitioner, Jenny Barbour.
There are 6 key Principles of Forest School which have been taken from The Forest School Association:
- “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.
- 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.
- Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners
- Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.
- Forest School is run by qualified Forest School practitioners who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice.
- Forest School uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for development and learning.”
At our Chellow Heights South site we have a large outdoor environment where there is an ‘Allotment’ plot and a pond. Pupils enjoy exploring the site and they engage in activities including digging, sowing seeds, watering produce and caring for it and harvesting it. The pond area helps pupils to learn about different habitats and life cycles. In small groups, pupils take part in pond dipping activities using fishing nets and learn how to keep safe near water.