Forest School Subject Leader
My name is Miss Peace and I organise the Forest School Provision in school. At Fairmeadows the focus of our Forest School is to engage and provide children with a unique educational experience including opportunities for children to develop and succeed through hands-on experiences in a natural woodland environment.
I am passionate about the Forest School as it is an approach which supports all children to get involved. Forest School offers children with many different experiences to make sense of the world and build a love of nature. Sessions aim to develop practical skills, collaborative working skills, self esteem and confidence through enjoyable and unique opportunities that can be transferred to not only their learning within the classroom, but provide them with lifelong skills and understanding of the natural world.
What is Forest School?
Forest School is an inspirational process that offers ALL learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees. Forest School is a specialised learning approach that sits within and complements the wider context of outdoor and woodland education. The ethos is shared by thousands of trained practitioners across the UK and beyond. Its roots reach back to early years pioneers in outdoor learning and across the sea to Scandinavia.
At Forest School all participants are viewed as:
This learner-centred approach interweaves with the ever-changing moods and marvels, potential and challenges of the natural world through the seasons to fill every Forest School session and programme with discovery and difference. Yet each programme does also share a common set of principles, aimed at ensuring that all learners experience the cumulative and lasting benefits that quality Forest School offers.
These principles were first articulated by the Forest School Community in 2002. They were reviewed in 2011 and sent out for a 5-month consultation to Forest School networks and practitioners in all UK nations. They were published on the Institute for Outdoor Learning Forest School SIG page in Feb 2012, and in the minutes of the GB trainers’ network.
This ethos creates learning communities where deep-level learning and progression are the norm.
(What is Forest School? extracted from The Forest School Association. www.forestschoolassociation.org)
Forest School at Fairmeadows Foundation Primary School
We aim to provide children with a natural learning environment, that offers opportunities and experiences, along with the time and space to develop and learn through hands-on experiences, risk taking and choice to initiate their own learning.
Fairmeadows Forest School Aim 2020
Fairmeadows Forest School aims to offer every child the opportunity of a regular Forest School learning programme over their school years with our qualified Forest School Practitioner, Miss Peace. In addition the Forest School provision, can be used for outdoor cross curricular learning and children are able to apply their new learning within the classroom.
What happens at Forest School?
Children will engage in motivating and achievable tasks and activities throughout the year and in almost all weathers, with the appropriate footwear and clothing. Children will work with tools, play, learn and begin to understand the boundaries of behaviour, both physical and social They will grow in confidence, self- esteem and motivation whilst developing an understanding of the natural world.
All sessions will be planned and led by led by our Forest School practitioner. Each session will last approximately an hour, activities will be dependent upon group size, capabilities and knowledge of Forest Schools, although as the weeks progress children’s confidence, skills and abilities will grow and sessions will begin to follow the Forest School principles of encouraging participant led learning, allowing more responsibility and freedom for children to initiate and direction the focus of learning.
The Forest Schools setting at Fairmeadows will primarily use natural materials to encourage children’s investigation, creativity and imagination. Activities may include:
- Woodworking and use of tools
- Shelter building
- Fire building
- Climbing and balancing
- Creating wildlife habitats and homes
- Collecting, sorting and identifying natural resources
- Using knots
- Team games and activities
The activities will also be used to support curriculum-based learning and can link to a number of subjects including Art, English, Maths and Science. Therefore, enhancing children’s learning in a unique manner and fitting the active learning approach used at Fairmeadows.