"The best classroom and the richest cupboard are roofed only by the sky" - Margaret McMillan
Forest School is a unique method of outdoor learning. At St-Peter & St Paul Carbrooke Primary Academy and Nursery our aim is to encourage and inspire children through positive outdoor experiences. Children will have the opportunity to learn about the natural environment, how to handle risks and most importantly to use their own initiative to solve problems and co-operate with others. The children use full sized tools, play, learn boundaries of behaviour; both physical and social, establish and grow in confidence, self-esteem and become self-motivated.
Our Forest school sessions are planned to enrich and enhance all areas of the curriculum and take place each week, in EYFS, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, giving all children in our school the opportunity to take part in Outdoor learning. We are extremely fortunate that our school site features some excellent outdoor learning environments, including a fire-pit and pond. We are also in close proximity to the woodland and park of the Millennium Green which gives children a great opportunity to explore and become familiar with the local environment.
Children also have opportunities to learn specific outdoor skills and make connections with other areas of the curriculum. This provision provides our children with an array of engaging activities to support other areas of their learning, such as maths and science. Forest School is a recognised teaching system that aims to meet the intent of this curriculum through holistic and child-led learning.
One of the principles of Forest School is to promote environmental awareness and encourage sustainability. The children are taught about respect and responsibility for the world around them. Both the children and adults are encouraged to respect their environment and to be aware of conservation issues of the wild area around them.
The success of forest school allows the children to:
- become more confident and resilient learners, who are also more inquisitive about the world around them.
- Activities such as sharing tools and participating in play help teach the children to work together as a group, which strengthens their bonds and social skills.
- The sensory experiences provided by Forest School helps prompt language development. Improving communication skills has a positive effect on a child’s self-esteem and is a crucial part of their development.
- High levels of interest lead to high levels of attention. Spending time in the woodland is exciting for a child. It tends to fascinate them which develops a strong will to participate and concentrate over long periods of time.
- The increase in outdoor activity has a positive physical impact. Not only does the development of physical stamina improve but also gross and fine motor skills.
- Children develop an interest in the great outdoors and respect for the environment.
Forest Schools has shown to have a positive impact on the physical and mental wellbeing of our children and this effect is now beginning to resonate within the classroom environment too.