What is Forest School?
Forest School is a long term outdoor programme of activities delivered by a trained practitioner within a natural environment and whatever the weather! Our programme will be tailored to meet the needs of the children as they grow in confidence, skills and understanding. The ethos of Forest School 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 in order to then encourage and inspire individuals to achieve through careful scaffolding and facilitating.
Where Will Our Forest School be Taking Place?
The area that we use for our Forest School is the environmental area adjacent to the school field. As well as access to the field there is a woodland, outdoor classroom space and a pond.
It is a secluded space which feels quite different to the areas where the children usually play and learn; a small wild space for nature. There are lots of birds and mini beasts, as well as a range of native trees. The area is fenced, and we will make sure, at every session that the children are secure in their understanding of the boundaries and of our Forest School rules. All areas have been thoroughly risk assessed and these are updated regularly.;
Who Will be Staffing the Forest School?
Rachel Sherlock is a Level 3 Forest School practitioner. Each session will also be supported by the class TA. If you have any questions regarding Forest School please email RSherlock@worplesdon.surrey.sch.uk.
Please make sure your child has long trousers and a long-sleeved top, wellingtons or sturdy shoes, warm and waterproof coat and waterproof trousers (if possible) in school. In summer, a sun hat would be advisable and in winter extra layers, a hat and gloves.
Health and Safety.
The health and safety of all participants is central to everything undertaken within Forest School. The Forest School leader is fully trained in risk assessment and emergency first aid. The Forest School operates under the school’s Health and Safety policy and policies and procedures regarding safeguarding and confidentiality. Alongside this the following are completed:
- A daily, seasonal risk assessment on site.
- Risk assessments for activities.
- Informed adult helpers.
- First aid and emergency equipment available within Forest School.
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.
What Sort of Activities Will go on at Forest School?
The first sessions will focus on core skills and safety. Activities will increase week on week and may include:
- Storytelling (around our fire circle, lit or unlit)
- Natural art activities
- Use of tools (if skills and behaviour indicators secured)
- Exploring the outdoor environment
- Nature watching
- Mini beast hunting
- Climbing, rolling and other physical activities
- Practical woodland skills (eg. whittling, charcoal making, rope and string use)
- Building dens
- Time to be quiet, reflect or talk
What Benefits Will My Child Get From Participating in Forest School?
Forest School supports the holistic development of the child:
- Health and fitness – Being active in an outdoor, natural environment.
- Increased emotional wellbeing – just being among trees has been shown to have a real and positive effect.
- Social development – Communicating, sharing, negotiating and problem solving, increased confidence.
- Skills development – Developing fine and gross motor skills and coordination for real purposes.
- Gaining knowledge and understanding – Multi–sensory, real-life learning, learning to care for our green spaces and wildlife.
- Individualised learning – Observation allows adults to tailor support to children’s own interests and stage of development.
- Curriculum Links – Forest School supports many areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum and the National Curriculum.
When Will Forest School be Taking Place & How Should the Children be Dressed?
Infant children will have weekly access to Forest School throughout the school year. This will allow children time to experience the different seasons.
Please make sure this your child has long trousers and a long-sleeved top, wellingtons or sturdy shoes, warm and waterproof coat and waterproof trousers (if possible) in school. In summer, a sun hat would be advisable and in winter extra layers, a hat and gloves.
How Can I Help?
- Put the dates for Forest School on your fridge / in your calendar / on your notice board.
- Make sure your child has the right clothing for the weather.
- Listen to what your child is learning and feedback to us.