“Forest Schools is an inspirational process that offers children, young people and adults regular opportunities to achieve, and develop confidence through hands-on learning in a woodland environment.” (New Economics foundation 2006)
In regular sessions spread over a number of weeks, the children of year 1 and 3 take ownership of a small area of local woodland for their Forest School experience. Early sessions use games, rhymes and repetition to encourage safe and responsible behaviour in the outdoor environment. This builds a sense of security within which the children gain confidence to explore and interact with the woodland independently.
The unique setting of Forest Schools takes children out of their usual learning environment, providing the opportunity to experience learning from a different perspective. Over the weeks, the children learn to use a variety of tools and master new skills in an informal setting.
What do children gain from Forest Schools?
Woodland skills: understanding the weather and how to dress appropriately, shelter building, woodland tool expertise (whittling, cleaving, sawing, lopping),safe and controlled fire making for keeping warm and cooking.
Conservation: appreciation of wildlife in its natural habitat, identification of plants and trees, protection and preservation of local woodland, safe and comfortable interaction with nature, stewardship of their natural environment for the future.
Emotional Intelligence: research has shown that children attending a regular Forest School show improved inter/intra personal skills, empathy, motivation, self-esteem, self-regulation and confidence. (Forestry Commission/Forest Research study,2006).
Using sensory perception: visual – natural surroundings and varied lines of vision, changing colours of seasons; auditory – birds, crackling twigs, sounds of weather; kinaesthetic – navigating tree stumps/ roots/brambles, constructing from woodland materials; olfactory – wood smoke, seasonal smells ,humus of woodland floor; gustatory – eating/cooking on camp fire.
What the parents have to say…
“I have to say that since going to forest schools she asks me all sorts of questions about the countryside and we have to count all the animals and birds we see. She was also a bit upset when her turn came to an end to go to forest schools and is really looking forward to the next time she can go. Thank you so much for taking the children.”
“Forest Schools has I must admit, encouraged us to get out and about more as a family.”
“He appreciates the word and meaning of teamwork now!”
“I would definitely recommend this for all the children.”
What the children say…
“Miss Anstis makes it so much fun, I love Forest Schools!”
“I like to feel responsible and enjoy using tools I wouldn’t usually have at home.”