Why Forest School?

St. George’s Forest School is supported by a qualified Level 3 Forest School Practitioner. Caroline Watts undertook a year-long training programme with Bicton College, gaining an OCN Level 3 in Advanced Forest School Leadership. In addition, the programme will rely on parent volunteers, who would like to help on a weekly basis to work alongside the children, Leader and a support assistant.

Learning and Growing

In Forest School, children learn to take risks and learn to succeed with small, achievable tasks. They learn to manage their own risk levels to achieve personal safety, under the guidance of the Rangers and Leader. From an early age, the children learn to use and care for a range of tools, such as bill hooks, pen knives, bow saws and loppers as well as rope techniques. They will also learn about the flora and fauna in their environment, lighting a fire safely, and basic personal care in the outdoors. The tasks the children undertake promote the development of self-confidence, patience and determination to succeed. An important feature of Forest School sessions in the Autumn and Spring terms is the sharing of successes around, for example, a cup of hot chocolate heated on the fire.

Sessions will take place at the school’s own woodland which the children will be helping to prepare by clearing pathways and other conservation tasks.

If you want to find out more about Forest Schools, try some of these links..

http://www.foresteducation.org/woodland_learning/forest_schools/Forest

Schools website: www.forestschools.com

Why Forest School?

Forest School is not just an excuse for us all to have fun outdoors (although we do!!). Forest School is a movement which originated in Scandinavia and was brought to England by Bridgwater College in the 1990's. It has a secure pedagogical underpinning and uses the outside environment to secure vital elements which allow children to learn and grow as individuals. These elements are positive self-esteem, increased sense of motivation, a sense of purpose and an understanding and affinity with surroundings. There is much documentary evidence to show how regular experience of Forest School can have dramatic and profound influences on child development, reaching much further than the edge of the forest – statistics show that children of all abilities (less able, gifted and talented, emotionally damaged as well as 'average' ability children) all make better progress when Forest School experiences are brought back into the conventional classroom. In this respect,

Forest School fits perfectly with developing the 'whole' child and engender in our children a love and respect for the environment in which they live. By taking part in Forest School regularly, we believe our children will develop more strongly as individuals and have emotional and physical tools which will help them grow into successful and autonomous adults.

Clothing and Weather

We will go out in almost all weather except for strong winds, (due to the danger of falling branches). Postponement of a session will only take place at times of strong winds or  school closure due to snow. Therefore, it is important that the children are well prepared for the outdoors. This means keeping them dry and warm as far as possible.  'There is no such thing as bad weather, merely bad clothing'.  We recommend everyone (adults included) wear old clothes (with legs and arms covered in all weathers) under the waterproofs, with stout footwear, wellington boots if possible. Please provide them with the following on forest school days:

– Waterproof jacket and trousers (we will provide these)

– Wellies (ideally with thick socks, or even snow boots in cold weather)

– Gloves, Scarf and hat (cold weather)

– Warm jumper and old clothes you don’t mind getting muddy.

Tops

Layers are best, they can come off – but cannot be added if they are not there!. Vest and t-shirt underneath a long sleeved top works well.

We ask that children are not dressed in their very best coat and new shoes!  Parents are asked to dig out old clothes that they don’t mind getting grubby, and to let their child know that it’s ok to get their Forest School clothes dirty.  It’s surprising how many children are worried about being told off for getting mucky.

Mud

The wood will be muddy in places, even in the height of Summer.  We expect the children to get muddy, and enjoy doing so!  For a child to be allowed, if not positively encouraged by an adult to get muddy, can be a really liberating experience for that child.  We ask parents to be supportive in this and not make the child feel bad because they are dirty.