What is Forest School?
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.
The Forest School concept originated in Scandinavia and was originally aimed at pre-school children. It was found that children who had attended forest school seemed to benefit in many ways. They arrived at school with strong social and communication skills, had the ability to work in groups effectively, displayed high self-esteem and generally showed confidence in their own abilities.
What does Forest School look like at Scissett Academy?
At Scissett, Forest School sessions take place within the school woodland grounds. The area is fully fenced and includes a small area of woodland, hedgerows and some recently new woodland planting.
Forest School sessions will be run by Miss James who in addition to currently completing the Level 3 Forest School Practitioner course, has worked within the EYFS for several years.
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 in 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 (self-confidence, self-awareness, social skills, team work, empathy and communication etc.)
There are opportunities to learn practical skills that there is often little opportunity to learn in formal school settings or even in the home in modern lifestyles. 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 in tackling everyday life.
The following will give some indication of the type of activities that might be undertaken:
Spring Term 2023
This half term in forest school we have been focussing on using our senses. The woodland holds a whole host of wonders that test and entice our senses. On our journey there we collected lots of items to put in our feely bags to test our sense of touch. Some of the things the children felt were a smooth rock, a spiky holly leaf, rough bark and wet grass. We worked on using our sense of smell as we identified hidden scents including cinnamon, coffee and coriander throughout different layers of the woodland. In partners we worked together to build trust and communication skills as we took it in turns to remove our sense of sight and travel around the uneven ground, winding through the trees. Listening carefully, we often stopped to hear the undisturbed sounds in our immediate environment or when a bird song was identified.