What is it?
What is it?
Forest School offers an alternative learning environment, whilst building self-esteem and independence of pupils through exploring, reflection and experiences which is well-disciplined and stimulating. The aim is to provide opportunities for 'positive experiences and participation in engaging, motivating and achievable tasks and activities in a woodland environment, helping to develop personal and social and emotional skills'. We are dedicated to cultivating a sense of care and connection between children and the natural world.
Strict safety routines and established boundaries are in placed that allows the flexibility and freedom for child-initiated learning.
The ethos of Forest Schools allows learners the time and space to develop skills, interests and understanding through practical, hands-on experiences.
Pupils gain a better understanding of how all of life is connected and experience how our actions influence the world around us. With this understanding, we hope that our children will make choices in their daily lives to improve the health of the earth, themselves and each other.
The Role of a Forest School Leader
Our staff are fully trained and have tailored the Forest School programme to meet the many needs of our pupils, continuously developing as the children grow in confidence, skills and understanding.
The children are closely supervised to ensure their safety, to observe and encourage their personal development and to support their learning.
The Forest School ethos is embedded into all we do, in which children can use their talents to thrive, equipping them to be life-long learners.
We value the partnership which exists between school, parents and community and the part it plays in securing this vision.
Forest School Leaders engage in ongoing risk assessment before, during and after activities.
Risk assessment is an integral part of Forest School as learners develop their self-esteem and learn to manage risk for themselves.
• Forest School uses tools and fires only where deemed appropriate to the learners, and dependent on completion of a baseline risk assessment.
• Any Forest School experience follows a 'Risk–Benefit' process managed jointly by the practitioner and learner that is tailored to the developmental stage of the learner.
- Routines established with the children before they go out into the 'forest'. These include safety signals – A hand in the air means 'stop and listen to me' a whistle means 'stop what you are doing and come to me at Base Camp.'
- A first aid kit, a mobile phone, medication and spare clothes are kept on site.
- Discipline is good and the children are offered a range of activities to keep them busy (and warm!).
- Children are encouraged to take responsibility for their own safety.
- Before each visit to the forest, the leader inspects the area and then shares what she has found with the children, explaining, for example, that because of the recent rain the paths are slippery, and then discussing with the children what they need to do to be safe. The children are taking risks, without being at risk.