What is the Forest School approach and how does it enhance my child’s learning?
At Michaelchurch, Acorn, Sapling and Oak participate in Forest School’s sessions every Friday afternoon (unless it’s ‘dangerous’ weather) and Squirrels take part on a Thursday morning.
Scandinavia led the way with Forest Schools and since the mid 1990s this approach to learning has become increasingly popular in the UK. It takes a long term sustained approach to outdoor learning. Forest schools seek to motivate, engage and inspire children through positive outdoor learning experiences.
Children learn new skills and then apply these as they navigate their own learning journeys and develop a deeper connection with nature. It takes a holistic approach to learning and the benefits are intellectual, physical, cognitive and emotional.
Research in Sweden concluded that pre-school children in a forest school setting:
*Had enhanced social and team building skills
*Took fewer days off sick
*Were more able to concentrate
*Had enhanced co-ordination
*Could play independently, for longer and had enhanced self-esteem and confidence
*Were more resilient as they had the opportunity to take risks in a safe, natural environment
*Improved motor skills
*Enhanced language and communication skills
We are very fortunate at Michaelchurch in that we have such a rich and varied environment. The children have lots of places where they can explore, get dirty and learn about plants and animals and how to care for them, thus setting the seeds for growth of environmental awareness and responsiveness. We have access to a woodland walk, a pond, growing gardens, outdoor classroom and a magical ancient woodland, on our doorstep.
The children will need to be appropriately dressed for the weather:
Every visit they will need trousers, long sleeve tops and wellies, trainers or walking boots.
If it is wet then children will need a waterproof jacket, waterproof trousers and wellies and for the colder months an additional warm jumper, scarf and hat. For sunny days a sun hat and sun cream will be needed.The children should come to school in their forest clothes, but wearing shoes. Their wellies should be in a bag, so that they can change out of them at the end of the session.