What is Forest School?
Forest School is a long term, learner-led, continuous learning process that takes place over a period of time using a natural space. The focus of Forest School ethos is on building relationships with the natural world and with each other to develop personal, emotional and social skills.
Forest School provides opportunities for children to explore the natural world, to develop confidence, self esteem, independence, the ability to solve problems, and to find joy and understanding of the natural world. There is a cycle of planning, observation, adaptation and review. Observing children is at the core of this approach, giving children the confidence to be creative and exploratory, while providing children with the natural space and tools to explore and care for this natural space.
Forest School offers children the opportunity to make choices about how they play and use the natural space, but under the understanding of Forest School Rules that help children to stay safe but also care for the natural environment.
The following information has been taken from http://www.forestschoolassociation.org/what-is-forest-school, please click the link below for more information.
At Forest School all participants are viewed as:
Principles and criteria for good practice
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.
Examples of the skills and learning that can be developed through Forest Schools
Communication and Language development: a wide range of outdoor experiences that provide rich language opportunities for both speaking and listening. Use the senses to develop rich language.
Physical development: co ordination, climbing, balancing, awareness of space, using tools, to make marks, cut, whittle, build, weave, pour. Move objects around the space with consideration to themselves and others.
Expressive Arts and Design -Creative: skills using natural materials to create, eg animal homes, shelters, bird cakes, pretend food, crowns, wands, magic potions, fences, imaginary gardens, stick people, treasure trails, paths, maps, stick towers, searching for hidden objects, using clay, mud, sticks, branches, hazel, willow, fir cones, leaves, nuts to create, for example pictures, creatures, sculptures, structures. Create stories, develop roleplay, create music using woodland objects. Invent and develop games. Use senses to explore the natural environment.
Personal, Social and Emotional development: develop confidence, explore, share, take turns, try new things, co operate with others, build emotional resilience, solve problems, link up with others, work independently, show involvement and concentration. Show respect for each other. Make choices about their activity. Have hot chocolate, snacks and cheese at Base Camp. Accept the Forest School Rules.
Understanding the World: Care for and learn about the plants and animals living in the outside environment. Learn how to safely use tools e.g. saw, mallet, vegetable peeler.
Literacy Development: Develop language to describe, name, develop and link ideas. Create stories and role play. Respond to questions. Take turns to talk around the circle, listen to what others have to say. Make marks with water, mud, use sticks, paint brushes etc. make links to initial sounds. Share rhymes and stories. Listen attentively to the sounds of Forest School eg bird song, wind rustling through the trees.
Mathematical Development Reinforce opportunities for the language of size, length, number, counting, texture, colour, shape.