Forest School Subject Leader: Mrs C Roberts
Forest School helps to increase our pupil’s confidence, problem-solving and self-esteem through exploration, and team building and encourages them to learn how to access and nurture the environment.
The activities in our Forest School support the holistic development of a child, including a child’s spiritual, physical, intellectual, communication, emotional and social development.
The learning and activities that take place in the Forest School are fostering our children to be resilient, confident, independent and creative learners, who love, care for and respect nature.
Children always get time to explore the Forest School as they wish after a teacher-directed activity, which encourages independent risk-taking, where children learn how to manage their own risks.
Our lesson plans ensure that a range of subjects, skills and knowledge are taught across the year, including Science, Geography, English, Maths, Art and DT. Examples of some of the lessons taught in Forest School are as follows:
- Maths – measuring trees and sorting natural materials
- English – writing poems
- Geography – drawing maps
- Science – identifying flora and fauna, building dens and animal homes, season hunts
- Art – sketching trees, mud painting, making pictures using natural resources
- DT – creating objects using natural materials and using tools, such as saws
Forest School has shown a marked improvement in the personal and social development of pupils. They demonstrate increased confidence, self-esteem, and resilience, thereby positively impacting their overall well-being and ability to engage confidently with their learning experiences.
Benefits of Forest School
Forest School enriches the curriculum and children have the opportunity to embark on experiences from the ’50 Things Before I Leave Sutton-at-Hone Primary School’ list. Examples of these experiences are: building a den or animal shelter; planting, growing and eating a vegetable; catching and releasing a spider.
Forest School promotes the holistic development of a child. It is particularly suited to children who struggle, for various reasons, to learn in a traditional classroom setting, as well as providing all children with a positive outlook which is then transferred to the classroom where they are found to be more motivated and have increased concentration levels.
Physical Development: Development of gross motor skills, building muscle, spatial awareness, balance, coordination and stamina. Fine Motor skills are enhanced when using hand tools as well as hand-eye coordination.
Emotional and Mental wellbeing: Spending time in woodland areas is calming and reduces stress.
Social Development: Development of communication and language skills, the ability to share, take turns and work as a team.
Behaviour: Research has shown that being outside has a calming influence on the brain, thereby improved behaviour is noticed.
Self-Regulation: The ability to recognise and manage risk as well as understand the reason for boundaries and rules.
Increased self-confidence and self-esteem: Learning new skills, and taking risks when using hand tools develops a sense of responsibility and pride. Increased knowledge, awareness, respect and understanding of the natural environment.
Creative Development: Through free play and exploration, children become naturally inquisitive of the natural environment, using it as a provocation for storytelling and role play.
Curriculum Links: The ethos and principles of Forest School support many of the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum and the National Curriculum for Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 and complement the topic-based curriculum we have at Sutton-at-Hone Primary.
Our SEND and disadvantaged pupils are given the necessary support in class to fully access the supported Forest School curriculum. Learning is adapted where necessary to support SEND/EAL pupils to give equal opportunities for all to be confident in approaching any problems faced. The above areas are robustly and continuously monitored to ensure any gaps in learning are addressed.
Forest School Extra Resources
How can you help at home?
You can support your child by helping them to explore their local area, green spaces and a variety of woodlands, such as Shorne Wood and Lullingstone Park. You can teach your child how to look after and respect nature, and our environment. Please encourage your child to be inquisitive and teach them new skills in a natural environment. There are lots of ideas and activities on the following website: Woodland Trust