The Forest School initiative was born in the UK after a visit to Denmark in the 1990s by the Nursery Nursing Department at Bridgewater College. The idea of Forest Schools came from Scandinavia where living outdoor is part of everyday life.
Red Rose Primary School has been offering and developing Forest School sessions to support children’s learning, for several years. The overall aim of Forest School is to encourage staff and pupils to promote learning outside the classroom environment.
Miss Sweet delivers our programme to EYFS and Key Stage 1 classes in our safe but accessible forest area within our grounds. Work will support many aspects of the Early Years and KS1 Curriculum and will have a strong emphasis on raising all children’s self-esteem and independence.
An integrated part of the Forest School experience is that children will experience the outdoors in all weathers (except high winds and thunder storms). Children should come to school dressed in their forest school clothes and will return home in their forest school clothes. They do not need to bring their school uniform with them. However, if they do not already have a spare change of clothes in school please provide this as they may get very muddy or wet!
It is paramount that your child is dressed in suitable clothing.
- All children need to wear sensible footwear, ideally wellies that are clearly labelled with your child’s name.
- Children to wear long trousers and socks to protect their legs from scratches and stings.
- During cold and damp weather children should wear a waterproof coat and suitable trousers (leggings are not acceptable). The school staff will assess whether they think the children are wearing sufficient layers of warm clothing.
Children gain confidence in caring for, managing and understanding the woodland environment. They can create campfires in a safe but enjoyable setting – often allowing children to cook marshmallows and popcorn. Overall a very positive learning experience is delivered in an outdoor setting.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS FOR CHILDREN?
Many studies have shown the following improvements in children taking part in Forest Schools.
- Increased self-esteem and self-confidence;
- Improved social skills;
- The development of language and communication
- Improved physical motor skills;
- Improved motivation and concentration;
- Increased knowledge and understanding
WHAT HAPPENS ON FOREST SCHOOLS?
- The children visit our woodland area within our school grounds on a weekly basis. Games are played and small achievable tasks are set, such as collecting natural materials and building shelters from sticks, ropes and other materials. The children learn basic woodland skills and simple tool use. The children use natural materials to develop both practical and intellectual skills.
- With careful supervision, they will be introduced to a range of tools and, with assistance and close supervision, use these to make objects. Group tasks and team-building activities will be regularly undertaken to encourage social interaction and communication, and the levels of challenge are adapted according to abilities.