What is Forest School?
We believe our ‘Forest School’ offering allows our children to develop and enhance their skills and understand the importance outdoor play through learning at such a vital age. The philosophy of Forest School is to encourage and inspire children through positive outdoor experiences. Forest School is an inspirational process that offers children regular opportunities to achieve, develop confidence and self-esteem, through hands-on learning experiences in a safe and supportive woodland or natural environment. Originating from Scandinavia, Forest School developed in the UK in the mid 90’s to support Early Years education. The ethos is now shared by thousands of trained practitioners across the UK and beyond.
What does Forest School aim to develop?
Forest School compliments the early years curriculum and allows young children to be outdoors whilst reaping skills at such a young age through engaging with nature. The first five years of a child’s life are fundamental. We believe this foundation shapes children’s long term health, happiness, growth, development, learning achievements at school, in the family and in community, and has a massive impact on life in general.
Recent research confirms that the first five years are particularly important for the development of the child’s brain, and the first three years are the most critical in shaping the child’s brain architecture. Early experiences provide the base for the brain’s organisational development and functioning throughout life. They have a direct impact on how children develop learning skills as well as social and emotional abilities. Teaching children outdoors encourages curiosity and stimulates all the senses in a way that indoor learning simply cannot do. By participating through engagement, motivating and achievable tasks and activities in a woodland environment children are encouraged to develop in the following areas;
- Confidence; Forest School helps children grow in confidence as a result of freedom, time and space to learn and demonstrate independence. This confidence can then be carried into other areas of their lives.
- Social Skills; Children will learn how to communicate and negotiate with each other and adults to solve problems and share experiences. Sharing tools and participating in play teaches children to work together as a group, which strengthens their bonds and social ties.
- Communication; Language development is prompted by sensory experiences, there are always new things to see or hear which means new words or new knowledge. Writing and drawing with sticks in mud is a fun and creative way for children to develop their language and literacy skills.
- Health and Fitness; Forest School can help promote a healthier lifestyle for children by being active in an outdoor, natural environment. Increased outdoor activity has a positive physical impact, it offers the development of physical stamina as well as gross and fine motor skills.
- Motivation and Concentration; High levels of interest leads to high levels of attention, spending time in a woodland environment is exciting, children are fascinated with their surroundings which in turn develops a strong will to participate and concentrate over long periods of time.
Our qualified Forest School trainers’ deliver weekly woodland sessions between 3 locations; a privately owned three-acre woodland site in Wike, Roundhay Park and our very own Nursery garden. Having access to these locations enables our children to experience outdoor play, nature walks, den and shelter building, hunting for mini beasts, mud sculptures, alongside lots of bush craft activities. Woodland sessions take place all year round enabling children to experience seasonal changes. During each session leaders set attainable tasks on a range of levels to help children achieve goals whilst progressing at their own rate.
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