The outdoor curriculum is an essential ingredient of our ethos. It allows children to understand and appreciate the natural cycles of the year, to respect nature, work as part of a team, develop their tolerance of each other, learn traditional skills, problem solve and have fun. We use the outdoors to learn across the school. We are in walking distance of a beautiful woodland, Coombe Woods and also have our own Willowbank, which is a hidden wonder for our children to explore.
Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilience, social skills, self-esteem, confidence, independence and creativity. Hands-on activities with natural materials develop practical and intellectual skills which can be linked to the EYFS and national curriculum. It offers children the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves, such as lighting a fire or climbing a tree.
At our school, children in EYFS, year one, year two and year three take part in weekly forest school sessions with our forest school ranger. For the younger children, the main task is to guide their interests and foster a sense of discovery in order for them to develop a sense of wonder for the world and also to give them the basis and excitement for science. Activities include building miniature bug houses, willow craft, digging, planting and weeding, saving seeds, cooking over the fire and playing a myriad of nature inspired games including mud sliding which is one of the children’s favourite things to do! Most of the lessons are group activities supporting the children to work together and communicate with their peers, however, if a child would prefer to reflect on something and be quiet within themselves, that is equally as important. Children use of a variety of tools which develop fine and gross motor skills as well as developing stamina and a strong work ethic.
Most importantly, children gain an understanding of the importance of nature and the role that we as humans have to care for our planet.
“I knew that Forest School was going to be really good, but I never imagined it was going to be so wonderful.”