What is Forest School?
Forest school is essentially outdoor, nature-based learning that focuses on the holistic development of the child. It is a regular, long-term process, rather than a one-off lesson. In forest school, activities are provided, but rather than being adult-led, each child chooses and tailors the activity to suit them, while we observe their preferences and development.
Children learn to assess, appreciate and take risks, making sensible, informed decisions about how to tackle the activities and experiences they encounter. They learn to be self-sufficient and take care of themselves, which boosts their confidence and self-esteem. Through trial and error they learn to deal with failure and develop the resilience to keep trying: a vital skill in the classroom as well as outside.
Forest school ties in with many areas of the National Curriculum. For example, being outdoors year-round helps children learn about weather and the seasons, which are part of the programme of study in geography, studying mini beasts and plant life relates to the science curriculum, and working on tasks like den building and woodwork links with design and technology
Children also benefit from the simple act of being outdoors. Research has shown that it improves mental and spiritual health, communication skills and social relationships, among other things. In this new era of COVID 19, there are even more benefits! Professor Alan Penn who is a member of SAGE has recommended that “The science suggests that being outside in sunlight, with good ventilation, are both highly protective against transmission of the virus,”
Here at CTK, we are beginning to develop our own woodland setting so that the children may benefit from all that Forest School has to offer. At the moment, your child will have a Forest School session every two weeks. They will be working outside with one half of their class in order that they can work in a smaller group. All years will take part in the Forest School from EYFS upwards. We will go outside in all weather except extreme storms.
When will my child have a FS session?
At the beginning of the school year, all children will be told the group (A or B) to which they belong. Each group will have a session every two weeks. As children have a variety of days and dates, it is not possible to print them out on here but the dates for week A or B will be posted up on the Parents’ notice board by the main gate and here on the website. If a session is cancelled for whatever reason or if a child is absent, the dates will remain the same and that session will simply be missed.
What should my child wear?
As Forest School is very muddy and wet (even when it isn’t raining) please make sure your child comes suitably prepared. As your child will also be having a PE session on the same day, we would like your child to come to school in the morning dressed in their PE kit with their school tracksuit on top of it. As your child will remain in these clothes for the remainder of the day, it is important to have waterproof outer layers also. We would encourage you to supply your child with their own waterproofs as this will obviously help to minimise the spread of COVID 19 but we do have a selection of waterproof over-trousers for your child to use if your child does not have their own.
It is important that your child has wellies (with their name in) as well as a dry pair of shoes to change back into at the end of the session. Muddy boots are messy to wear inside so children will change into their dry shoes after their session for their comfort and the cleanliness of the school. Wellies offer the most protection as there are some nettles and thistles in the wilder areas. In the past, we have been able to share wellies for children who had forgotten theirs. This will not now be possible as we are limiting shared equipment.