What is Forest school?
Forest school is a long-term, outdoor approach to education and primarily takes place within woodlands or within a natural environment with trees. It allows children to build confidence and resilience and promotes an ethos that puts the learner at the heart of the learning experience, an ethos that sits well with our own beliefs here at The Woodland Rose. Due to continually up and coming Forest School knowledge, education, training and research, there is a recognised need for children to access Forest School experiences. Also, there is much prominence for the Forest School Approach to be recognised and used within Early Years Practice.
Forest School at The Woodland Rose (from Summer 2018)
As highlighted, we are fortunate to have a small and onsite woodland area and our Forest School sessions will run from here. Our forest time will be sure to fill your curious little learners with oodles of high spirits, buoyancy, independence and creativity. Topics within our Forest School sessions will undoubtedly be broad and cross-curriculum, and although Forest School sessions will be planned, the themes and objectives will be influenced by the children's particular interests within woodland activities. What is more, our children will be enthusiastically encouraged to follow our ‘Forest School Values’. Here, your little ones will be positively introduced to achievable and manageable boundaries, creating an early and fundamental understanding of basic safety and ensuring safe and fun Forest School sessions. Although the longer planned sessions will be predominately attended by our pre-schoolers, babies and toddlers will also be offered the opportunity to experience the woodlands. These sessions will be called ’Baby Forest’ and these experiences will take place during age- and stage-appropriate planned periods.
Outdoor play & The Early Years Foundation Stage
Outdoor play is a paramount and fundamental necessity to ensure and secure the healthy development of each child. Much research emphasises that the great outdoors encourages and improves physical, social and emotional development, and well-being.
The Woodland Rose follows The Early Years Foundation Stage. This curriculum sets standards for the development, learning and care of children from birth up to 5 years of age and it places a huge emphasis on the need for outdoor play. With this in mind, the enabling environment that our child-led Forest School sessions offer will naturally support each child to meet their prime and specific developmental milestones.
To finish I would like to give you the insight into my enthusiasm, training, and experiences of Forest School.
My love for Forest School really began when I completed an academic project on it as part of my studies. Through this, I not only grasped a concrete understanding of how trees release oxygen and that mud releases serotonin (the endorphin that supports frame of mind), I also witnessed for myself how much calmer the children were. Learning and seeing the true benefits of this approach only heightened my fervour and interest of Forest School.
As well as attending and supporting Forest School sessions within my previous job role, I have also volunteered on a local forest school programme and attended stay and play sessions with my own children.
Completing my level 3 forest school training was an incredible and endearing experience. From learning of Flora and Fauna and making dens, to discovering forest fairies and how to use sticks to make both fire and stars! The fun, excitement, and sense of freedom that Forest School brings is that of a healthy, timeless, and ageless wonder. I am extremely excited to propel my knowledge into The Woodland Rose, and our Forest School ethos and passion will flow through the roots of our setting.
Emma Brownsell, Forest School Leader