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Forest School

Our amazing Forest School is based near to our car park and this piece of land was saved from conversion to further car parking space by class teacher, Ann-Marie Gartland and a protest to the headteacher by her Year 1 class back in 2010. Since then, it has gone from strength to strength and is used widely across school from Nursery to KS2. Our Enrichment Club also use the facilities of Forest School. We work closely in partnership with Nest in the Woods who send their expert staff to ensure that the most is achieved outdoors.

Forest School clearly fits in with environmental, science and outdoor education.  But it is also about the whole child, their approach to learning and especially about their self-esteem.  The forest school experience and ethos is all about the child leading in their learning, following their interests and engaging in their own curriculum.  It gives leaders, teachers and assistants a chance to “step back” and see the whole picture without being constrained by the curriculum.

Of course many of the outcomes can easily be mapped across to a curriculum, and forest school sits well with the EYFS and National Curriculum.  The approach of small achievable tasks and a focus on the process rather than the end product helps develop the child’s personal, social and emotional development.  Tasks can be based around creative arts and design, physical development or understanding the world.  Questioning, commentary, sustained shared thinking and the use of active learning can incorporate aspects such as mathematics, literacy and communication and language.  Forest school particularly encourages children to explore the characteristics of effective learning.  The ethos of forest school is that it is child-led, so if a child would rather be doing something else than a particular small, achievable task that is fine, we can facilitate what they would like to do and provide inspiration and support.

Forest school can also be linked into the classroom to support class based activities.  For example, children could be drawn into a miniature world story in forest school and use their imagination to build a miniature town or city or factory, they could then write stories based on their miniature world.  They could make story sticks in forest school and then use them to support their work in the classroom.

Our Forest School at Oakwood Avenue boasts a mud kitchen, a fire pit, trees to climb and an allotment and provides our children with the skills to become more confident, independent and free to take risks.

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