Forest School is a unique method of outdoor learning. It is an opportunity for all classes to experience, play in and learn about a woodland environment. At Stickland’s our aim is to encourage and inspire children through positive outdoor experiences. Children will have the opportunity to learn about the natural environment, how to handle risks and most importantly to use their own initiative to solve problems and co-operate with others. Our intent is to create awe and wonder and a love of the outdoors. The Forest school learning environment provides opportunities for children to develop self-esteem, self-confidence, to form positive relationships with others, to develop a growing awareness of their emotional needs and the needs of others, to learn to co-operate and work with their peers and adults and to develop strategies in order to take risks within the boundaries of safety.
We aim to give all children a collective insight into the ethos of Forest School.
Forest School builds on a child’s innate motivation and positive attitude to learning, offering them the opportunities to take risks, make choices and initiate learning for themselves.
The children use full sized tools, play, learn physical boundaries and boundaries of behaviour, establish and grow in confidence, self-esteem and become self-motivated. Forest School enables children to solve problems, work collaboratively, be curious, build confidence, develop fine and gross motor skills, develop language, become empathetic and sympathetic to others, develop perseverance and experience achievement.
Forest School is about exploring and experiencing the natural world through practical activities. Some of the children go out in all weathers, all year round, exploring and learning from the seasons and environment changes. Appropriate clothing is worn, however, during high winds it is considered unsafe to out into our forest school area.
The children’s interests, along with the varied natural resources in our woodland, are used to stimulate creative thinking, problem solving and skill development. One of the principles of Forest School is to promote environmental awareness and encourage sustainability.
The children are taught safety, respect and responsibility for the world around them. Both the children and adults are encouraged to respect their environment and to be aware of conservation issues of the wild area in our locality. The aim is to promote respect for wildlife.
If appropriate, reclaimed, recycled and sustainable resources are used to maintain and develop our forest school site. Encouraging children to care for the environment is an essential part of Forest School. In order to encourage the children to look after the site we will always leave it tidy and never damage anything growing in it. We will only collect things that are on the ground and leave the area as we found it when we leave. The Forest School Leaders will monitor the site so that it does not become overused.
Activities may include playing games, den building, camp fires, making tree cookies using saws and drills, art, making habitats, identifying plants, and much more.
The success of forest school allows the children to:
- Grow in confidence as a result of the freedom, time and space they are given during their learning. This allows them to demonstrate independence.
- Develop team work, strengthen their bonds and social skills through activities such as sharing tools and participating in play as a group.
- Increase their vocabulary. The sensory experiences provided by Forest School helps prompt language development.
- Improve their communication skills, which also has a positive effect on their self-esteem.
- Have high levels of interest, which leads to high levels of attention. Spending time in the woodland is exciting for a child. It tends to fascinate them which develops a strong will to participate and concentrate over long periods of time.
- Develop physical stamina and improve gross and fine motor skills as well as mental health.
- Inspires children to gain a love of the outdoors, which encourages them to want to visit local woodlands more frequently and participate in general outdoor activities as they get older.