What is Forest School?
Forest School is an internationally recognised process in which children are educated in the outdoors environment, preferably a woodland setting, on a regular basis. It is a planned and well organised programme of child-centred learning. Through a balance of responsible risk taking and building trust, Forest School explicitly supports children’s social, emotional and physical development.
At Minsterley School, every child has the opportunity to experience Forest School learning in half-termly blocks for either one or one and a half terms per year. This is led by Mrs Judie Ellis, a fully qualified teacher and specifically trained Forest School Leader. Mrs Ellis works closely with class teachers to enrich and enhance the whole curriculum.
What happens at Forest School?
The session usually begins with a teacher-led, whole class activity and then the children move on to work in small groups at their own pace on a wide range of activities. These may include finding and collecting things, learning about the plants, trees animals and insects, creating art and sculpture using natural materials, making shelters and other structures and playing games. The session ends with sharing what we have discovered, enjoyed and found challenging.
How do children benefit from Forest School?
Through Forest School we aim:
• to help children understand, appreciate and care for the natural environment
• to develop children’s confidence, independence and self-esteem
• to develop children’s thinking and problem-solving skills
• to develop children’s ability to work effectively as part of a team
• to develop children’s understanding of the link between freedom and responsibility
• to support areas of the curriculum, in particular science.
Risk and Health & Safety
At Forest School, children have clear boundaries and rules and are supervised as appropriate to their age, development and Forest School experience. Risk assessments are carried out for the area, for activities and for any equipment they might use.