At Martello Primary we are very fortunate to be able to offer Forest School lessons for each year group. Each class has a whole afternoon of outdoor learning with our trained Forest School Practitioner every other term.
Why do we include Forest Schools in our curriculum?
Forest School is an outdoor learning environment with a child-centred learning process that focuses on play, exploration and supported risk-taking. Both problem-solving and self-discovery are important features of Forest Schools.
Encouraging children to learn through hands-on experiential learning in a natural setting helps to develop their confidence and self-esteem. Outdoor learning and Forest School form a central component of pupils’ personal development and social, emotional and mental health provision.
Forest Schools encourage children to be physically active. The variety of sessions and activities that are offered provide a host of learning experiences for the child. As well as the physical and educational benefits of attending a Forest School, the social and emotional development of the child are at the forefront of Forest School learning. We know many children are less physically active than previous generations (1 in 3 have never climbed a tree, and 60% of primary aged children say they would prefer to play computer games indoors than be outside*), and so regular Forest School activities help to ensure that pupils have access to fresh air, exercise and time spent in natural surroundings.
What are the ethos and principles in a Forest School?
Forest Schools focus on the social, emotional, spiritual, physical and intellectual development of their learners. The nurturing environment encourages children to develop a positive relationship with the outdoor, natural world. The ethos of a Forest School is based on a fundamental respect for children and the encouragement of their curiosity in the world.
The Forest School Curriculum is inclusive for all children, including those with SEND.
Forest Schools believe in:
A child’s right to play.
A child’s right to access the outdoors.
A child’s right to access the natural world.
A child’s right to experience a healthy range of emotions.
Forest Schools aim to build resilience to encourage a learner’s creative engagement with other people, their environment, and their own potential. They aim to encourage self-reflection and build strong social and emotional skills that will follow them into adulthood.
Some of the benefits include:
An increase in self-belief, confidence and self-regulation
An increase in motivation and concentration
Improved problem-solving skills
Development of language and communication skills
Ability to collaborative and work with others
Development of gross and fine motor skills
Confidence to take risks
Stress-relief and improved mental health and wellbeing
A greater respect for the natural world and understanding of sustainability