Welcome to Forest school! This is where the journey begins......
Forest School is the place where magic can start to happen as imaginations, self-confidence and vocabulary start to grow. Every visit to the Forest will be to the same place, yet the story will always change and be different.
The amazing memories and adventures that take place in Forest School will always be enjoyed. In Forest school all children are given the opportunity to access, experience and enjoy learning while working in the outside environment. We take the “classroom” outside and use the surroundings, weather and sounds to enhance their learning visually, orally and sensually. This holistic approach encourages children’s imaginations, build’s self-esteem and creates the desire to understand, learn and respect the natural world around them. The children are in a safe environment where they can succeed!
In Forest School children are able to take calculated risks in a controlled environment. They learn cause and effect and what may or could happen. They are given the opportunity and responsibility under supervision, to use tools and help be part of a team, creating a fire to keep them warm and cook food. Equality, achievement and self-belief help children to return to the classroom feeling that they can accomplish and succeed in what they do. Every child is valued and their input is vital; we work as a team and they are able to respect and treat each other fairly and as equals.
At Kings Furlong Infant School and Nursery, we have recently had an outdoor roundhouse classroom and kitchen built on site. This is located at the end of the playground, on the grass behind the pond.
We are fortunate enough to be working alongside the company Embers Bushcraft, they will be coming in weekly to provide Forest School sessions alongside school staff.
Each year group will receive 12 weeks’ worth of Forest School Sessions as follows-
*Autumn term- Year 2
*Spring term- Year 1
*Summer term – Year R
Forest School will run on a Wednesday from September 2022. Children will work in smaller groups of 15.
Children will need to wear the following to school on the day of their Forest School session-
- Long sleeve top
- Long jogging bottoms/leggings
- Old trainers or wellies
- Coat/sun hat/sun cream – weather dependent
- Long hair must be tied back
What sort of activities do the children do? Are they safe?
Examples of some of the activities-
- Den building
- Fire making
- Tool use
All activities are fully supervised by school staff and the Embers Bushcraft staff member. All activities and equipment are risk assessed.
The health and safety of the children and adults is paramount at all times throughout any activity and session.
As a school, we also share the risk assessments with the children. We ask them to sign that they will listen and follow the rules. If they don't follow the rules or are a danger to themselves or others then they will have to leave the session. If this continues then they will not be able to attend future sessions.
What if it’s cold or raining? Will Forest School still take place?
Forest School takes part in all seasons and all bar very extreme weather conditions. We are very fortunate in having our wonderful Forest School roundhouse classroom and outdoor kitchen. Both of which are undercover. If weather conditions are poor the Forest School session will take place, where possible, in the classroom inside the school.
What about during hot weather?
During the summer months the children will need to be wearing hats and bring in sunscreen that they can reapply during the day. We will encourage them to drink plenty of fluids and there will be frequent drinks stops throughout the day. We are very fortunate in having our wonderful Forest School roundhouse classroom and outdoor kitchen. Both of which are undercover and can provide shade.
I have no waterproof clothing for my child!
If you do not have all the correct clothing for outdoors then we have invested in a variety of different sizes of waterproof trousers and jackets. We will make sure all children are wearing the correct clothing before we go outside.
How can Forest School help my child’s learning and development?
It is proven from research that learning that takes place in the outdoors is much more powerful and memorable as all the senses are involved. Forest Schools helps children develop through a child-led approach and teaches them how to assess risks for themselves.
- Health and fitness – Being active in an outdoor, natural environment.
- Increased emotional wellbeing
- 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 allows adults to tailor support to children’s own interests and stage of development.
- Curriculum Links – Forest Schools supports many areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage framework, National Curriculum and Every Child Matters agenda.