The children learn to walk, run, balance, climb, scramble and swing. They also learn about their environment and how to look after it through play, as well as how to respect each other’s personal space, (Joyce, 2004:4)
The ethos and definition of Forest School is to:
Forest School is an inspirational process, that offers ALL learners regular opportunities to achieve, develop confidence and self-esteem, through hands on experiences in a local woodland or natural environments with trees.
Forest School is a specialised approach that sits within and compliments the wider context of outdoor and woodland learning. (Knight, 2013.16)
“There will be challenges in this process. If the magic of Forest School is to be preserved then mud, rain, wind, sun and all the wilder aspects of the environment will have to be allowed their space in settings, without fuss and without tidiness. This requires communication and developing understanding” (Sara Knight, 2007).
Through Forest School resilience is promoted by encouraging learners to understand the importance of sharing. Everyone is encouraged to keep on achieving and that there is no wrong way to achieve their goal, so keep going.
Forest School builds confidence in learners encouraging them to try something new, experiment to find different ways of doing things. Be confident to trust their instincts. To join another/others to share their experiences, be confident with the outcome and able to talk about their achievements.
Independence is nurtured through learners making their own judgments and being in control of the outcomes. Having the confidence to trust own decisions therefore exploring possibilities and having to make choices.
Forest School promotes creative learners by allowing freedom and time to create enabling learners to use their imagination and be inspired by the natural resources around them.
Forest School Sessions may include:
Recognising and spotting flora and fauna
Caring for the environment
Mapping the area
Using a selection of tools to make, for example, name badges, stick men, tent pegs and elder beads.
Making shelters from either natural items found on the forest floor or tarpaulins.
Making a fire
Cooking on a fire
Learning different knots
Investigating the bug hotel
Exploring the mud kitchen
Using a bow saw