What is Forest School - Background:
Forest School is an educational model that originates from Scandinavia which involved participants learning about and learning from nature. Ideally, it would take place in a local woodland where children have travelled by foot however the key principles can be applied in any location. It is a system that promotes social, emotional and physical development through activities in an outdoor environment where risk can be a factor.
Key Principles of Forest School
- Forest School takes place in a woodland or natural environment to support the development of a relationship between the learner and the natural world.
- Forest School uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for being, development and learning.
- Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners.
- Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves
Benefits of Forest School:
- Increased self-esteem and self-confidence
- Development of physical skills
- Development of language and communication skills
- Increased levels of motivation and concentration
- Demonstration of an improved relationship with and understanding of the outdoors
Information for parents:
Before each block of learning for Forest School you will receive a letter from your class teacher explaining when the sessions take place and listing what the children will need to wear. Children must have a complete change of clothing for Forest School. If children do not have the appropriate clothing, they will not be able to take part and will work independently in another class. Children should have:
- Waterproof footwear such as wellington boots or walking boots. Trainers can be worn unless they are not waterproof. These should be in a plastic bag as they will get wet and/or dirty during the sessions
- Long sleeved top – it is important that children have long sleeves even in warm weather as this is a layer of protection
- Jumper/sweatshirt in colder weather
- Long trousers – not jeans as these become uncomfortable and can reduce body temperature if they get wet. Again, long bottoms are a requirement even in warm weather as this is a layer of protection
- Waterproofs – waterproof coat and if possible waterproof trousers as well
- A woolly hat and scarf are advised in colder weather, while a sun hat and sun cream are advised in warmer weather.
Overview of action plan and how we are doing: Setting up Forest School is a lengthy process. Here are some of the steps we have had to go through this year to work towards it.
|What we hoped to do this year?||How are we doing?|
|Class teacher will deliver an extended block of lessons to confirm the routines, procedures and polices that will best work within the grounds of the school. ||Dragon Class have worked really hard during their Forest School lessons this year. They have helped test the best working practises for different elements of Forest School at St Benedict's. They worked well when all teachers joined us for a session to observe the practicalities of running sessions.|
|Mrs Dexter will deliver training to all teachers and support the initial blocks of Forest School sessions||Mrs Dexter has worked hard running different staff meetings and trainings to support teachers in understanding the theory behind Forest School, the different safety considerations and safe working practises for running Forest School sessions. She has supported all classes in their initial sequence of lessons and has continued to support teachers as needed in developing their understanding of Forest School.|
|Teachers will plan and deliver a sequence of 3 Forest School lessons |
So far, Griffins, Sprites and Imps have all had sample blocks of Forest School lessons. Unicorns and Pegasus will be having their sessions during Summer term one.
Phoenix class won't miss out! Mrs Dexter is going to run an extended sequence of lessons in Summer Term Two for them to
|School grounds will be developed to support Forest School|
Thanks to some fantastic support from Bridges and some parents, we have been able to do some much needed work in the quiet garden to remove weeds and dead plants as well as planting about 150 trees. There is now the space we need to establish appropriate storage of equipment and resources.
Further development to the boundary hedgerow of the school field has had to be put on hold due to potential works that may happen over the summer holidays.
|Acquire the necessary equipment to support Forest School sessions|
A large amount of equipment has been acquired to support different Forest School activities including:
Sawing and woodwork
Lashings and den building
But the hard work is far from over! Going forward we still need to do the following things:
- Develop the hedgerow around the school field with further plants that are specifically chosen for different Forest School activities
- Develop features in the quiet garden to support tool work, seating and safe working
- Continued support and training for teacher from Mrs Dexter to support the development of sequences of lessons
- Review all working procedures to support the best working practises of Forest School at St Benedict's
- Continued regular health and safety checks of the school grounds and equipment
How you can help: We are seeking donations of the following items to help supplement our resources:
- Old roasting tins
- Garden kneeling pads
- Gardening gloves of different sizes
During the school year there may be times where extra hands are needed to work on the grounds. In these cases information will be sent out and all help will be greatly received.
Forest School Handbook 2019-2020.pdf