What is Forest School?
The need for children to play and for that to be in the outdoors has been advocated by theorists such as Froebel, Montessori and McMillan since the 18th century. Children need to experience space, movement and sensory stimulation for healthy development. Forest School promotes child led outdoor play with an emphasis on sensory play, investigation and encouragement to learn to risk assess, challenge themselves and take responsibility. Forest School arrived in the UK from Scandinavia in 1993 and has become increasingly popular since. Participants engage in a long term process which takes place in a natural environment using a range of child-centred activities. Participants are encouraged to take risks at an appropriate level for their ability and the environment.
Research has shown that Forest School has a positive impact on a number of factors including:
- Increased self-esteem
- Improved confidence
- Development of social skills
- Improved communication skills
- Ability to work as a team
- Building resilience
- Gaining a sense of achievement
St Peter and St Paul Infant School has adopted the ethos and principles of the Forest School Association. These were agreed by the Forest School community in 2011:
- Forest School is a long-term process of regular sessions, rather than one-off or infrequent visits; the cycle of planning, observation, adaptation and review links each session. Our aim is for children to attend a minimum of six week blocks.
- Forest School takes place in a woodland or natural environment to support the development of a lifelong relationship between the learner and the natural world.
- Forest School uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for being, development and learning.
- Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners.
- Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.
- Forest School is run by a qualified Forest School practitioner who will continuously maintain and develop their professional practice. It is also supported by school staff and parent volunteers.
Forest School at St Peter and St Paul Infant School is a holistic learning process that takes advantage of the outside world and offers all learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands on learning experiences in the woodland environment within our school grounds. The site also benefits from a pond area. Through our Forest School sessions we hope to encourage independent, enthusiastic and creative learners who develop lifelong skills through a well planned and interesting child centred approach.
At St Peter and St Paul we aim to:
- Fulfil every child’s potential
- Develop a love of learning that creates independent and confident learners
- Promote a secure, exciting and fascinating learning environment
- Support a positive relationship with home and the wider community
- Promote children’s self-esteem
- Encourage independence
- Promote positive behaviour to ensure the safe running of Forest School sessions
- Provide appropriate adult to child ratios
- Plan sessions that contribute towards a safe environment and allow the learners to develop a deeper understanding of the curriculum subjects taught at our school
- Remember our school values of love, respect, courage, hope and wisdom