Originally a Scandinavian idea, Forest School operates on the principle that children of all ages can benefit from hands-on learning in a woodland environment. This child-led approach to learning encourages the development of:
Children can choose what they would like to do and who they would like to do it with, giving them control of their experiences.
A session lasts for around 1 1/2 to 2 hours and will be in the Forest School area and adjacent woodland at The Valley Primary School. During the session there are lots of different games and activities which will support your child in their learning. This may include making dens, scavenger hunts, using tools, creative environmental art, making shelters and lots more.
'There is no bad weather, only bad clothes’
Forest school will go ahead in most weathers so it is important that your child wears clothing that they can get wet and muddy. If the weather is very wet it may be advisable to send waterproofs and a change of clothes for after Forest School. Wellies or sturdy shoes are a must! In very warm weather they may need a sunhat and suncream.
The sessions are run by a fully qualified Forest School Leader and at least one member of staff will be First Aid qualified. The Forest School area and the adjacent woodland have been carefully assessed, children will be given detailed training for all activities and each session has a risk assessment.
Part of the ethos of Forest School is teaching children about risks and how to evaluate them. So children may be taught to climb trees, use tools, light fires, add fuel to fires, cook and make drinks using fires. These activities are only taught to children when they are developmentally ready for them and will be carefully supervised by an adult. By allowing children to take these measured risks, we help to prepare them for making choices when they are older and teach them to be actively responsible for themselves, their choices and their actions.
Talk to your child about their Forest School sessions, they may bring something home to show you or they may have a display board in school showing what they have been learning.
As Forest School is child-led, your child may not take part in what is offered each week and may decide to do something completely different. We encourage their independence and creativity!