Forest School is an approach to learning that takes children out of the classroom and into the local natural environment. The initiative
originates from Scandinavia, based on the premise of increasing young people’s experience and resilient understanding of their natural environment.
Forest School involves learning through unstructured play outdoors in all weathers to enhance and support emotional, social, and behavioural development of children and adults.
Some activities will involve the use of tools, or fire. This may cause
some concern, but the children’s safety is absolutely paramount.
There will be elements of risk, but the children will learn to assess risk for themselves, think for themselves and have a go. However, every activity will be fully risk assessed by an adult and the children prepared before beginning any tasks involving tools or fire.
A high adult to child ratio allows children to undertake new experiences whilst they take appropriate risks.
The experience should be a child led approach which is fun and unhurried. Children are encouraged to discover, explore, observe and question what they find. The programme is a long term programme that allows repetition where children come into contact with nature using all their senses. It will build children’s confidence and self-esteem, as they are responsible for making their own decisions, and they are carefully supported in this to achieve tasks.
WHAT WILL THE CHILDREN ACTUALLY DO?
Den building, explore tracks, lay trails, use simple tools, cook on fires, create are, switch on their senses, play, climb, develop an understanding of the properties of the earth, work with water and stone, find wildlife, learn about eco-systems, create and follow maps, learn bush-craft skills and stories and songs. And more….
All of this will be in all weathers and all seasons.
We will be able to call ourselves a Forest School by Sept/Oct 2017