'This is the best kind of classroom,
It's a journey through time and space,
From the smallest seed to the largest tree,
This is a Forest and a learning place.
This is the best kind of classroom,
Where the seasons don't happen in books,
Where learning is watching and thinking and talking,
And everyone notices, everyone looks'.
From 'The Best Kind of Classroom' by Ian Macmillan
The Forest School initiative originated in Scandinavia in the 1950s. The aim was to encourage children to learn social, physical and educational skills while encouraging an appreciation and understanding of the environment. By the 1980s it had become an integral part of the Danish early years programme.
Forest School provides an excellent opportunity to bring learning to life, allowing children to explore and learn in a constructive way. This inspirational process increases self-confidence, self-esteeem, improves the individuals' ability to work co-operatively and counters a lack of motivation and negative attitude towards learning, while offering the opportunities to take risks, make choices and initiate learning for themselves.
Each Forest School site is unique, designed to meet the needs of the group and fit the constraints of the site. Initially projects run from our site in the school grounds, allowing children to become comfortable with an outdoor approach to education and play whilst in familiar surroundings. This allows relationships based on trust and self-exploration to develop with the Forest School leaders, who start to facilitate a more child led outdoor curriculum.
Our Forest School site is based in the school grounds and has access to natural materials, branches and logs imported from outside forestry that are used in activities (such as shelter building). We have a circular seating area of log benches situated around a fire pit. There are also permanent willow structures, small hills, wooden plank bridges, climbing rocks and designated nature areas with long grass. The area is decorated with lots of natural art that each class has helped to make in their sessions. Once children are used to this area and are aware of risks, they will have the opportunity to visit local forestry commission sites.
All activities take place througout the year, so wellies and waterproofs are needed in school every day!
Find out more about Forest Schools at their website by clicking here.
Look at the images below of our wonderful 'BUG HOTEL' made by the Researchers and Discoverers and our advent wreaths. (November 2013)