Forest School

forest-school

‘There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing’

Scandinavian saying

 

Forest School by its very nature involves an element of risk. We provide opportunities to develop skills and confidence within each child by providing adventure and learning in our outdoor environments. This may include being near a fire, climbing trees and using tools. Forest School encourages children to discover and experience at their own pace either as individuals or with their peers. Our role as Forest School practitioners is to notice and support  the children and provide opportunities for them to develop their own real-life experiences. We ensure children stay safe and have respect for the environment and other people, whilst becoming active and independent learners.

Lesson plans are in place, but each session can be informed by the children’s experiences in the previous session. Every session includes organised activities that the children can choose as well as time for their own adventures.

Forest School sessions run weekly for children throughout the year and in all weathers (except high winds, thunder and lightning). Please make sure your child has appropriate outdoor clothing with weatherproof layers and spares - just in case they get wet!

All our Forest School sessions are run by fully qualified and experienced Forest School Level 3 leaders and supported by Forest School Level 1 and Level 2 practitioners. We also have an experienced body of volunteers who are also qualified Forest School practitioners.

A session usually runs as follows:

  • Travel to site
  • Request to enter (a short chant)
  • Circle time, settling in, sharing
  • Green Guidelines, keeping safe, environment aware
  • Idea ‘seeds’
  • Free Adventure
  • Gather and reflect
  • Thank you and goodbye (a short chant)

Being outdoors provides many benefits for our children including...

  • Improved physical and mental health
  • Opportunities to develop social skills
  • Opportunities to take risks
  • Learning to risk assess situations for themselves
  • Developing positive behaviour and friendships outside of the classroom
  • Time to practise skills in a real-life environment

Further Information

‘What is Forest School?’ - adapted from ‘Forest School Norfolk – A guide for practitioners’ (2009)

FSA (Forest School Association) Norfolk www.fsanorfolk.wix.com/fsan

More information about the Forest School approach www.forestschoolassociation.org

More information about the importance of play www.playwales.org.uk

A full copy of the Forest School handbook and our risk assessments are kept in the Forest School Handbook at both schools.

The Blue Sky Federation follow the Forest School Association six principles to ensure good quality Forest School is achieved. The six principles of Forest School come from... www.forestschoolassociation.org

Principle 1: Forest School is a long-term process of frequent and regular sessions in a woodland or natural environment, rather than a one-off visit. Planning, adaptation, observations and reviewing are integral elements of Forest School.

Principle 2: Forest School takes place in a woodland or natural wooded environment to support the development of a relationship between the learner and the natural world.

Principle 3: Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners.

Principle 4: Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.

Principle 5: Forest School is run by qualified Forest School practitioners who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice.

Principle 6: Forest School uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for development and learning.