At St. Stephen’s R C Primary School, we believe that Forest School is an inspirational process that offers children opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through play and hands on learning experiences, in a woodland environment.
Forest School builds on a child’s innate motivation and positive attitude to learning, offering them the opportunities to increase their self-reliance/independence, take risks in a well-managed, safe environment, make their own choices and initiate learning for themselves.
The Forest school and outdoor learning environment provides opportunities for children to develop self-esteem, self-confidence and encourages independence. It helps children to form positive relationships with others, to develop a growing awareness of their emotional needs and the needs of others, to learn to cooperate and work with their peers and adults and to develop strategies to take risks within the boundaries of safety.
Forest School is about exploring and experiencing the natural world and has a significant impact on children’s creative and spiritual development. It is a very powerful way of helping children to appreciate the spiritual dimension of their locality and allows them to learn how to become creative within it.
This is achieved through practical activities using natural objects that they find and opportunities to stop and wonder at the world around them.
The children go out in all weathers, all year round, exploring and learning from the seasons and environmental changes.
The children’s interests along with the varied natural resources in our school grounds and woodland are used to stimulate creative thinking, problem solving and skill development, all in the guise of play.
One of the principles of Forest School is to promote environmental awareness and encourage sustainability. The children are taught about respect and responsibility for the world around them. Both the children and adults are encouraged to respect their environment and to be aware of conservation issues of the woodland around them.
The aim is to engender ownership and pride in the local environment as well as promoting respect for the wildlife. This will be achieved through detailed session plans that give careful reference to our woodland management plan and ecological impact assessment and aim to instil in the children a love and respect for the environment and a sense of awe and wonder about their world.
If appropriate, reclaimed, recycled and sustainable resources will be used to maintain and develop our forest school site.
Examples of Forest School activities include:
- Woodland management and nature exploration
- Building dens and other structures
- Games and invitations for imaginative play
- Natural crafts
- Scavenger hunts and adventure