Take life back to nature: explore, discover, play, learn - LIVE!
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Woods for Learning supports the Forest School Association principles which are:
1: FS is a long-term process of regular sessions, rather than a one-off or infrequent visits; the cycle of planning, observation, adaptation and review links each session.
2: FS takes place in a woodland or natural environment to support the development of a relationship between the learner and the natural world.
3: FS uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for being, development and learning.
4:FS aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners.
5: FS offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.
6: FS is run by qualified Forest School practitioners who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice
The Forest School ethos developed in Scandinavia for pre-school children in the 1950s and since the mid 1990s has become increasingly popular here in the UK. It's a concept that takes a long term sustained approach to outdoor learning. Forest Schools seek to encourage, motivate, engage and inspire children through positive outdoor experiences.
Research in Sweden found and concluded that pre-school children in a forest school setting were more balanced with greater social capability; they had fewer days off sick; were more able to concentrate and had better co-ordination. They played for a longer time, with less annoyance or interruption of each other compared to children in the city.
Children attending Forest School pre-schools were arriving at school with stronger social skills and a greater ability to work in groups. Generally the children had high self-esteem and confidence in their own capabilities. This was concluded as being as a consequence of being in a pleasant, natural, fun and less stressful environment.
Build and learn to cook on an open fire
Learn to identify trees and plants and examine the shape, scent, sound and surface of various trees
Create dens, shelters, bridges and sculptures
Collect colours from nature
Make art from natural products and draw and engrave using natural materials
Create a woodland assault course for a squirrel•Hunt for mini-beasts in trees, bushes, deadwood etc
Create a bug hotel
Develop the ability to observe silently -to look and hear what’s happening around them
All the above as well as English, Maths, Science, DT, PSHE, PE - this environment offers a huge amount of learning outside the class room!
Throughout the Forest School experience children develop their skills of teamwork, cooperation, listening and observation. A typical start to the day involves going over safety rules, setting camp, laying a fire (if needed) and putting up a shelter.
We have a listening and looking task every session. Children sit quietly with closed eyes and listen to the sounds of nature or look at what’s moving around them. Some children find sitting still very challenging and developing this skill can have a positive impact back in the classroom.
Being outdoors offers opportunities for doing things in different ways and on a different scale. Children create art work from twigs, leaves, stones and mud and use leaves, bark and berries to make dyes. From Reception to KS2 they learn to use tools, starting with a potato peeler to peel bark from twigs and create a point, through to using knives and saws for progressively demanding challenges. The natural world offers so many opportunities for learning.
In order to ensure quality, we can use the PEMS and Leuven Scale to montitor children, we recently did data collection of Pupil Premium children over just a 5 week period and we saw improvement in all of them - see attached