We provide weekly forest school sessions for our children, on-site in our woodland area. This is a wonderful and exciting opportunity for our children to get outdoors, explore nature and learn to appreciate the beauty of the natural world. Sessions take place all year-round allowing children to observe and experience the natural changes that happen during each season.
What is Forest School?
The Forest School concept is a holistic way of learning. It has been defined by Forest School England as
“…an inspirational process that offers children, young people and adults, regular opportunities to achieve, develop confidence and self-esteem, through hands-on learning experiences in a local woodland environment.”
In Forest School children get the chance to play, explore and discover. The sessions are all about the exploration of our surroundings. Adults can be as involved as they like. It may be a rare opportunity to simply take a step back and enjoy watching the children in a natural setting. Forest School can and is delivered alongside conventional education methods to provide children with the ability to transfer the skills they learn into everyday life. The focus is on reconnecting (or in some cases ‘connecting’) children with their local outdoor environment, giving them the space and freedom to discover, play, explore and learn within a natural, outdoor setting.
What should my child wear?
A part of the ethos of forest school is “There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing”. The idea is that if sufficient, comfortable and appropriate clothing is provided, all children can enjoy the forest school experience in all weathers. The only exception to this is high winds and lightning, it is not wise to be under the trees if there is a risk of falling trees or branches. however, the fields could be utilised.
All children and adults taking part are advised to wear the following kit for Forest School sessions;
- Long trousers – not shorts.
- Long-sleeved top – not short-sleeved t-shirts.
- Waterproof trousers and jacket/coat or an all-in-one suit.
- Waterproof boots/wellies.
- Layers of clothing depending on the season (especially during cold weather).
- Hats/gloves/sun hats – depending on the season.
- Spare Clothing in a bag - allowing children to get changed after the session if they need to.
Children do not need to arrive dressed in the morning; all additional clothing and boots can be brought in a bag. All clothing should be old as it will get dirty!
What will my child have to eat and drink?
Your child will have access to fresh water throughout the session. They will be offered a healthy snack and a cup of milk/water at snack time, just as they are in the nursery. During the cold weather months, children will enjoy warm drinks and warm snacks (hot chocolate/warm sugar-free juice) to help them stay warm while enjoying the outdoors.
What will my child be doing during Forest School sessions?
During our Forest School sessions, children will be exploring the woodland area in the corner of the school field. We will be spending time exploring this area allowing time for both planned activities and for the children to direct their own learning through their own interests. Some activities may include:
- Introduction to the session/ Recap of the previous session
- Listening/exploration walks
- Den building
- Arts and crafts
- Stories and rhymes
- Using tools and equipment
- Reflection of what has been done
Where will my child go to the toilet?
Children will be using the nursery toilets if they need to go during our Forest School sessions. This will ensure they can then wash their hands correctly afterward.
Health and Safety
Keeping your child safe is our utmost priority. However, there is always an element of risk when enjoying outdoor play. During Forest School sessions children will be taught and supported to manage risk while thriving from the benefits of it.
Risk assessments are carried out before every session and are constantly being reviewed throughout the session. Risk assessment is an integral part of Forest School as our children develop their self-esteem and learn to manage risk for themselves.
The Forest School Association says the 4 Principles of risk are;
- Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.
- Forest School opportunities are designed to build on an individual’s innate motivation, positive attitudes and/or interests.
- Forest School uses tools and fires only where deemed appropriate to the learners, and is dependent on the 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.
Further Information for Parents/Carers