Forest School is a unique opportunity which enables children to initiate and develop their own learning through play in a natural environment, supported by adults who create a wide range of learning and developmental opportunities that meet the individual needs of the children.
It takes place regularly over a period of time in order to allow skills and experiences to be tried, built upon and developed.
The woodland or other natural environment provides the ideal setting for this and inspires the children to make a connection with the natural world that enhances their general well being.
As they learn to appreciate their environment, they are more likely to want to protect and sustain it.
The emphasis is on developing the whole child so that they become resilient, confident, independent and creative learners by learning to assess risk and apply boundaries, try new skills, solve problems and build on previous learning.
They are supported by leaders who observe the individual children’s progress and adapt the activities to the children’s needs and interests, encouraging them to take small achievable steps.
As they play, explore and discover, they are encouraged to take supported risks that are appropriate to them as individuals and the environment around them.
The repeated visits create a sense of community and facilitate the development of relationships.
Both children and leaders are encouraged to reflect on and review the learning that has taken place and this feeds into future planning.
Forest School leaders have all undergone training specific to the delivery of Forest School.
The activities can include craft using natural materials, identifying woodland flora and fauna, storytelling, making things out of wood using tools, den building, fire lighting and cooking.
Not all activities take place every session and every activity is rigorously assessed for risk and control measures put in place.
The children are taught how to undertake all activities safely before they embark on them.
The environmental impact on the woodland is also carefully monitored on a regular basis.