What is Forest School?
Forest Schools is not a place, not an individual lesson, it’s a philosophy. Our Forest School involves activities within the school grounds as well as engaging with the local wildlife and countryside.
Forest schools is different from outdoor education because it is a long term, sustainable approach to learning which builds children’s self-esteem, confidence, independence and well-being through the exploration of, and experiences in the natural world. It is not just a one-off outdoor activity with specific objectives in mind, it is a set a regular visits to a particular outdoor area where children can develop personal, social and other skills which have been proven to enhance their learning.
What happens on Forest Schools?
Each week the groups will change into their appropriate Forest School clothing and venture out to one of our Forest School sites. Games are played and small achievable tasks are set, such as collecting natural materials and building shelters from sticks, rope and other materials. Under careful supervision, the children will also be introduced to a range of tools such as sheaf knives, billhooks, bow saws and loppers (which the PTA kindly provided funding for). These tools present the opportunity to make objects such as mallets, tent pegs, picture frames and more.
Children will also learn about fire and outdoor cooking. Group tasks and team-building activities will be regularly undertaken to encourage social interaction and communication, and the levels of challenge will be adapted according to abilities. Although there is no prescribed list of activities at Forest School, many National Curriculum targets will be met through the Forest School programme, particularly PSHE, Science, PE, Maths, Literacy and Geography. Themes of study can be brought into sessions and developed back at school.
How will it work at Stanton-in-Peak Primary?
Every child who attends school at Stanton-in-Peak will experience Forest Schools. Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 pupils will participate on Monday afternoons, the Juniors on Thursday afternoons.
Each session will last all afternoon. Some activities will be within the school grounds, others will be either on Stanton Moor or in the woods close to the Stanton cricket pitch. All Forest School sites have been and will continue to be checked with the appropriate risk assessments carried out prior to each session.
Risk assessments are currently in place however, due to the changing seasons and because both off-school sites allow public access, these risk assessments are regularly reviewed. The ratio of staff to children will always be carefully considered and we are looking for some parent helpers too.
Mr Figg, a fully qualified level three practitioner and specialised outdoor first aider, will lead the Junior sessions and Mr Sizer, the Infant sessions. Please speak to your child's teacher if you have any questions about Forest Schools.