The Forest School Ethos
Forest School is an approach to outdoor education, which originated in Scandinavia, where outdoor living and learning are totally embedded in society. In Scandinavia, there is a strong belief that nature and movement are essential to a young person’s overall development and well-being.
Forest School is a unique educational experience and process that offers children the opportunity to succeed and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or other natural environment.
Forest School is delivered by qualified practitioners. We hope that its inclusion into the schools activities will help our young people overcome some of the difficulties they face on a day-to-day basis.
Forest School at Oakwood Junior School aims to provide opportunities for and encourages children to:
- develop their personal and social skills
- develop their language and communication skills
- improve physical motor skills
- work through practical problems and challenges
- develop practical skills
- use tools to create, build or manage
- pursue knowledge that interests them
- build confidence in decision making
- evaluate risk
- explore connections between humans, wildlife and the earth
- reflect on learning and experiences
- regularly experience achievement and success
- learn how to manage failures
- discover how they learn best
- improve their concentration skills
- become more motivated
- understand the benefits of a balanced and healthy lifestyle
Forest School at Oakwood Junior School
At Oakwood Junior School, Forest School sessions generally take place within the school grounds. The area is fully fenced and includes a small area of woodland, hedgerows, planted orchard, a garden area, a fenced pond area, playing fields and grassland.
Forest School sessions are currently run by Mrs Kelsey who in addition to having completed the Level 3 Forest School Practitioner course, works within the school as a supply teacher.
What do the children do?
Children taking part in Forest School sessions are given an opportunity to participate in activities in a natural setting on a regular basis. The setting provides a safe environment for them to learn and explore. Activities take place throughout the year and generally in all weathers.
Whilst the sessions may provide opportunities to learn and understand more about the natural world, they also provide opportunities to develop their interpersonal skills.
There are opportunities to learn practical skills that there is often little opportunity to learn in formal school settings or even in the home these days. For tasks such as tree climbing, tool use, fire lighting or cooking there might be an element of managed risk. However by giving children these opportunities they ultimately become better equipped to manage risk and as a result have the opportunity to grow their self confidence.
Opportunities for reflection and to share experiences are provided and these help with the social and emotional development of participants.
Activities for Forest Schools are diverse and numerous but it should be reminded that we are trying to create independent learners who are inspired to try out their own ideas, explore their own interests and to attempt new ideas.