FOREST SCHOOL & OUTSIDE LEARNING
Forest school is an inspirational concept which provides a range of different opportunities for children. This is done through participating in a range of practical activities and experiences outdoors. Even though the name of the concept is Forest School the outdoor environment does not necessarily need to be a forest itself. It can be any suitable outdoor environment that is set up under the Forest School ethos. This ethos is to provide the children with the freedom to explore, touch, smell, listen to and feel what it is like to be in the great outdoors. Although, of course we are very fortunate at Dovery Down to have the woodland on our door step!
Forest Schools originated in Scandinavia in the 1950’s where practitioners noticed that children who had regular contact with nature and access to outdoor play and experienced more practical and physical outdoor play. By doing this, the children showed greater self-awareness and self-regulation of behaviour and developed better social and communication skills as well as showing an improvement in their physical skills and independence.
How does it work?
Sessions are planned to incorporate different learning styles; auditory, visual, kinaesthetic and schematic behaviours; transporting, enclosure, trajectory, connection and rotation. Children are given practical opportunities to think, question and justify what they are thinking and share this with peers and adults, building on their confidence.
Through practical and creative activities, which can be linked to any curriculum or programme, all are given the opportunity to explore the unique natural world. Forest School is a long term process and sessions should be at least an hour and a half. They are carefully planned to allow all learners to take supported risks, emotional as well as physical, work within their own limits, as well as offering the opportunity to embrace new experiences and succeed.
Forest School is delivered throughout the year, therefore offering the participants the opportunity to experience and hopefully value all seasons, all weathers and the natural world around them locally as well as worldwide. They are able to get outside and learn without realising they are learning. The school has a small supply of wet weather outer clothing available for the children.
Forest School is designed to be a happy time and is planned to offer a positive experience for everyone taking part. Planning for a good day rather than hoping for a good day!