What is Forest School?
Forest School arrived in Scotland in the 1990’s and was developed from the Scandinavian education system. Forest School is about children and young people building self-esteem and independence through experiencing and exploring the natural world around them. Forest Schools is a long term programme delivered by our staff who are trained Forest School leaders. Each Forest School programme is tailored to meet the needs of individuals within that group and is continuously developed as the children / young people grow in confidence, skills and understanding. These skills are continued to be supported and developed within the nursery, where our Forest School leaders compliment the Forest School learning with similar activities within our outdoor classroom.
The ethos of Forest Schools allows learners the time and space to develop skills, interests and understanding through practical, hands-on experiences. It also allows our practitioners to step back and observe the children / young people in order to then encourage and inspire individuals to achieve their full potential through careful scaffolding and facilitating.
What are the benefits of my child attending Forest School?
Your child will engage in quality learning opportunities in line with the Curriculum for Excellence. Children are taken to a local woodland setting one day a week over an 11 week block where they participate in real life experiences and hands on situations. This helps children develop an understanding and appreciation for the natural environment.
Forest Schools supports the holistic development of the child, these include:
- Health and Fitness - Being active in an outdoor, natural environment
- Increased Emotional Wellbeing - Significant research supports this
- Social Development - Communicating and negotiating with peers and adults to solve problems and share experiences
- Skills Development - Developing fine and gross motor skills and coordination for real purposes
- Gaining Knowledge and Understanding - Multi–sensory, real-life learning
- Individualised Learning - Careful observation enables staff to tailor support to children’s own individual interests and stages of development
- Curriculum Links - Forest Schools supports many areas of the Curriculum for Excellence
What will my child be doing?
Children begin their Forest School session by changing into suitable outdoor clothing such as waterproofs etc. Forest School runs all year round and in all weathers (unless weather conditions are dangerous). Forest Schools has a child led ethos so once on the site the children can choose what to participate in, carefully supported and encouraged by our trained staff.
Activities may include:
- Natural crafts - Making necklaces, crowns or dreamcatchers, collages from natural material, tree cookies, weaving with long grasses etc.
- Mud sculptures
- Knot tying
- Shelter building
- Hunting for mini beasts and / or pond dipping
- Tree climbing
- Using tools for a purpose - Such as peeling bark from sticks with potato peelers to make toasting forks
- Fire building and cooking on a camp fire
Initial sessions concentrate on safety and establishing routines and boundaries. As the children develop in confidence and are more familiar with the woodland setting we progress on to skilled opportunities where the children develop an understanding of the ethos and concepts of Forest School.
All sessions are planned around the needs of individuals and the group to ensure a smooth transition to the outdoor classroom which guarantees high quality learning experiences.