Forest School

3Forest SchoolYour child will engage in quality learning opportunities keeping in lines with the Curriculum for Excellence, they will be taken to a local woodland setting one day a week over a 6 week period of time, where they will participate in real life experiences and hands on situations and develop an understanding and appreciation for the natural environment.

What is Forest school?

forest school Forest School arrived in Scotland in the 1990’s it has developed from the Scandinavian education system and is about children and young people building self esteem and independence through experiencing and exploring the natural world Forest Schools is a long term programme delivered by trained practitioners within a natural environment. Each Forest School programme is tailored to meet the needs of individuals within that group and is continuously developed as the children/young people grow in confidence, skills and understanding.

The ethos of Forest Schools allows learners the time and space to develop skills, interests and understanding through practical, hands-on experiences. It also allows practitioners to step back and observe the children/young people in order to then encourage and inspire individuals to achieve through careful scaffolding and facilitating.

What will my child be doing?
The children will begin their forest school session by preparing to go out as they dress in outdoor clothes such as waterproofs. Forest School will run all year round and in all weathers (unless weather conditions are dangerous).
Forest Schools has a child led ethos so once on the site the children can choose what to participate in, carefully supported and encouraged by trained adults.
Activities may include:
• Natural crafts – making necklaces, crowns or dreamcatchers, collages from natural material, tree cookies, weaving with long grasses, etc
• Mud sculptures
• Knot tying
forest school• Shelter building
• Hunting for mini beasts and/or pond dipping
• Tree climbing
• Using tools for a purpose – such as peeling bark from sticks with potato peelers to make toasting forks.
• Fire building and cooking on a camp fire

Earlier sessions will concentrate on safety, establishing routines and boundaries as the children develop in confidence and are more familiar with the woodland setting we will progress on to skilled opportunities where the children will develop an understanding of the ethos and concepts of Forest school.

All sessions are planned around both individuals and the groups needs to ensure a smooth transition to the outdoor classroom therefore ensuring high quality learning experiences.

What are the benefits of my child attending Forest Schools?

forestForest Schools supports the holistic development of the child:
• Health and fitness – Being active in an outdoor, natural environment.
• Increased emotional wellbeing – There is research available supporting this.
• Social development – Communicating, and negotiating with peers and adults to solve problems and share experiences.
• Skills development – Developing fine and gross motor skills and coordination for real purposes.
• Gaining knowledge and understanding – Multi–sensory, real-life learning.
• Individualised learning – Careful observation allows adults to tailor support to children’s own interests and stage of development.
• Curriculum Links – Forest Schools supports many areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage framework, National Curriculum and the Every Child Matters agenda.

forestAnother of the benefits of the Forest School Programme is our low staff/child ratios which is 1:4, this means for every adult the maximum number of children can be 4, this allows staff to work in small groups this will consist of one staff member to four children providing quality time with each child.

Health and Safety

The health and safety of all learners and leaders is central to everything done within a Forest Schools programme. Forest School leaders are fully trained in risk assessment and emergency outdoor first aid. Every Forest School will have; a Health and Safety policy; a seasonally and daily risk assessed site; risk assessments for activities; trained adult helpers; first aid and emergency equipment. Some of the activities the children may participate in are ‘higher-risk activities’ (such as campfire cooking or tool use). However, these activities are not available to the children until certain behaviours and boundaries are established. Children are encouraged and supported in recognising and managing risk for themselves, through real life situations and experiences.