Forest School is an opportunity for your child to experience nature and the outdoor environment in a safe, secure and hands-on way. Our Year 2 children all have the opportunity to take part in a Forest School programme.
Learning outside offers opportunities to build on and extend skills taught and acquired inside. It also offers the chance to take on new challenges and risks and to investigate in a different way. Children often learn best from first hand experiences. Experiencing the weather, searching for insects, climbing a tree or working on a very large scale is learning that can only happen outside.
Through a range of activities (both designed by the leader and instigated by the children themselves), the children are encouraged to investigate and explore but also to respect all living things.
Building a sense of independence, high self esteem and team work are important parts of Forest School, but health and safety considerations are always of paramount importance.
HOW DID FOREST SCHOOL BEGIN?
Forest School originated in Scandinavia in the 1950’s when learning went outside the classroom. This had such a positive impact on children’s development that its reputation brought it to the UK where it is meeting many educational needs.
WHAT IS FOREST SCHOOL?
Forest School consists of regular sessions in a local area of woodland. Activities are carefully planned and thoroughly risk assessed. Child-initiated learning is a key Forest School ethos. A range of actitives are planned and the children's natural inquisitiveness and enthusiasm leads them into many areas of learning. For example, children have made pencils using natural resources. They learn from their current level of understanding, develop personal creativitiy and are encouraged to develop a long term connection to the natural world around them.
Adults are there to support the children’s learning choices, encouraging them to explore the many stimuli provided by the resources of the natural environment. They also enable the children to experience managed risk and employ positive discipline.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
We all know that when we are happy and confident we achieve so much more. Research has shown that this inspirational approach helps improve confidence, self esteem, emotional and social skills, whilst developing
a connection and respect for the natural environment. It allows children to develop independence, learning how to take responsibility and manage risk in a controlled way. The careful planning ensures success, helping children to have rewarding experiences. Regular access to the outdoor environment and practical activities will help enhance learning within all areas of the curriculum.
PREPARING FOR YOUR FOREST SCHOOL EXPERIENCE
Children need to wear clothing suitable for working outside in all weather! The thickness of clothing will depend on the season. We suggest:
• Sturdy trainers, boots or wellies, socks, long trousers, long sleeved top, waterproof jacket, waterproof over-trousers (or a spare pair of trousers).
• A water bottle.
• Hat (sun or winter).
Even if it is sunny and warm at the start of a session, a cold wind and rain can make a big difference when outside. More thin layers are best for warmth and can always be removed if too warm. Please use old clothes and let your child know that at Forest School they CAN GET DIRTY and you don’t mind! Sun cream should also be applied if the weather is hot. All clothing must be named.
These sessions are led by fully trained and CRB checked staff from West Sussex Wildlife Trust and
accompanied by a member of The Gattons Infant School staff.