Forest School

Forest School is an inspirational process that offers all learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees, with a high adult to child ratio.

At Forest School, children run, make a noise, get their hands dirty and learn in a natural space by taking part in seasonal activities that may involve an element of managed risk; by succeeding here, they develop the self-esteem that will support them throughout their lives.

Within the South Hams Federation, our intent is to provide a nurturing space that supports our children’s wellbeing by providing and implementing positive, child-led experiences in a natural setting, the impact of which will help foster traits such as resilience, confidence and independence and develop motivation, co-operation, decision-making and social skills.

Intent

  • To build self-esteem and confidence in children.
  • To build resilient, determined and independent learners
  • To develop children’s personal, social and emotional development.
  • To develop and encourage creativity
  • To encourage collaboration.
  • To develop and build the ideas of risk management and risk benefit
  • To improve children’s life skills and experiences
  • To enable children to gain a respect for the natural environment and wildlife.
  • To let children be children

These aims will be covered through half termly Forest Schools sessions and will support the children in their learning in a positive, creative and inspiring manner that will allow them to transfer the skills and knowledge from the woods into the classroom and life outside of school.

Implementation

  • Reception children have weekly Forest School sessions.
  • Years 1-6 have a half terms worth of sessions of Forest School each year. In total children get 2 years of Forest School sessions, experiencing all the seasons.
  • Children have access to a progressive Forest School Curriculum, planned and delivered by trained teachers and Forest School practitioners.
  • Children access the Forest School curriculum through holistic learning. Forest School is child led and the children are able to access areas of the curriculum that inspires and excites them.
  • The child led nature of the curriculum and focus on social development engages children in a manner that is additional to the learning that happens in the classroom.
  • Children are encouraged to risk assess both their environment and activities by making personal choices.
  • Children make choices and select suitable clothing to ensure Forest School can occur in all weathers.

Impact

  • Respect for the environment and others helps relationships build in a more relaxed atmosphere so enabling and empowering all students to have the opportunity to achieve their complete and full potential.
  • Children are happier and more confident to approach challenge.
  • Children choose to play outside more often and are healthier both physically and mentally as a result.
  • Children develop into advocates for environmental issues.  They are more knowledgeable and enthusiastic about nature.