At Charminster Pre-school we are able to implement learning through being Outdoor Explorers whilst in the natural environment of Forest School.
What is Forest School?
“Forest School is an inspirational process, that offers children and young people opportunities to achieve, develop confidence and self-esteem, through hands-on learning experiences in a local woodland environment” National Definition: Forest School (England) Network
The philosophy of Forest School
The philosophy of Forest School is to encourage and inspire individuals of all ages through positive experiences and participation in engaging, motivating and achievable tasks. Taking part in activities in woodland helps children and young people to develop a connection and respect for the natural world, promoting both physical and mental health. We believe all children should be regularly interacting with nature and this ethos underpins all our outdoor learning provision.
Background to Forest School
In Denmark Forest School has been a central component of Early Years Education since the 1980’s when it was first introduced as a part of an expansion of nursery provision. The philosophy of Forest School is based upon an aspiration to provide young children with an education which encourages appreciation of the wide, natural world and which encourages responsibility for nature conservation in later life.
What happens at a Forest School session?
Any outdoor environment with access to trees, bushes, plants, water, insects, or mud is fine – We use a small copse at the side of the school field, but can easily translate the learning to the river or any other natural environment.
For us it is about allowing children the time to explore, imagine and take risk. This enables the children to develop their self esteem and confidence within an outdoor environment throughout the year: To dig a big hole, to see who can find the longest stick, to discover the mini beasts that hide under logs, to hang upside down from a tree, work as a team to build a big den for everyone or a small den for a woodland animal, to make a mud pie, make some woodland art and under supervision to use real life tools.
During their time at Forest School the children will also be shown how to identify trees, learn about the many different types of large and small wildlife that live in our natural environment while also learning about poisonous plants and other hazards.
During play adult led activities will be delivered to filter in knowledge and understanding about the natural world and our woodland. The Outdoor Explorers ideas and interests will be incorporated when planning future Forest School sessions.
It’s about being allowed to be a child and having FUN!
Forest School Leaders
Sally Porter – Early Years Practitioner Level 3, Forest School Leader
Sioux Quinn-Smith -Early Years Practitioner Level 5, Forest School Leader