The intent of our forest school policy is to:
- Foster an appreciation of the natural world in children and therefore an increased desire to protect it.
- To build children’s self-awareness and equip children with some metacognitive skills so that they are more able to reflect on their own personal development.
- To develop children’s confidence, social skills, ability to work as a team, their empathy, perseverance and resilience.
- Children at South Kilvington will complete 30 forest school sessions throughout their time at our school. Each year group will receive 10 consecutive sessions every second year in years 1, 3 and 5. This ensures that children reinforce and build on their learning from previous sessions.
- Children will attend forest school sessions run by Yorkshire Forest Folk at Kilburn Woods, a woodland of 70 acres including broadleaf and coniferous woodland, varied topography and a stream. This woodland environment provides a myriad of learning possibilities.
- At the end of each forest school session there will be time to reflect on what we’ve found challenging, how we’ve overcome these challenges and what we’ve learnt about one another, ourselves and the woodland around us.
- Our sessions will adhere to the Forest School Associations definition of forest school:
- Learning at Forest school is child led. This means that whilst the Forest School Practitioner will introduce activities, ideas, games etc. the child will ultimately follow their own interests and learning within a forest school session will be scaffolded around the needs of the child. This means that children learn to think for themselves, grow in confidence and become more resilient.
- Learning is facilitated by a Forest Schools practitioner who observes a child’s interests, social skills, levels of wellbeing, emotional intelligence, level of development, and confidence. They then scaffold learning through play to support a child’s holistic development. This might mean creating small achievable tasks in whatever area needed to meet a child’s needs. It will involve playing alongside, supporting, suggesting, and facilitating. It will not involve directing or ordering.
- Learning at Forest School develops a child’s social, personal and emotional skills. A child’s holistic development rather than a specific adult led learning objective is the aim. The ultimate goal of any Forest School practitioner is to develop independence, confidence and resilience in the children they work with.
- Learning takes place in a natural environment where a myriad of learning opportunities present themselves in such an open ended environment. A respect for and connection to the natural world is developed and learners seek to have as little impact on this world as possible.
- Learning takes place over a long period of time. Forest school is not a one-off session. Change, growth and development take time and at the very minimum should take place over 6 sessions, ideally over a whole year or longer.
- Learning involves encountering risks. Many potential hazards exist when playing in a woodland setting. Children need to encounter these hazards so that they learn how to manage them in preparation for reaching adulthood. The Forest School Practitioner constantly manages the level of risk so that it is within acceptable limits.
- By the end of Year 6 we aim to send children to secondary school who are ready for the challenges of a new environment. We aim to develop well rounded, confident individuals who can work as a team, persevere when presented with a challenge, think for themselves and from others’ points of view.
- Children will have more self-awareness.
- Children will have an appreciation of the natural world, particularly in their local environment. They will have an understanding of the benefits of nature connection on our mental health and they will have a strong desire to protect the natural world for future generations.
John Muir trust https://www.johnmuirtrust.org/john-muir-award/
https://www.ltl.org.uk/free-resources/ Brilliant resources with learning ideas across all ages and subject areas (the resources in the leaflets I sent home at the start of lockdown in March are just a few from this fantastic site)
The Woodland Trust https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk http://www.naturedetectives.org.uk/packs
The National trust https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk
Outdoor inspired ideas- 50 things to do before you are 11 ¾ https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/50-things-to-do
Child friendly app with plenty of great learning ideas and starting points https://www.missionexplore.net/
This is a great way to get children outside walking and exploring, a worldwide treasure hunt! https://www.geocaching.com/play
http://ypte.org.uk/ Environmental Involvement for Young People- are a charity that aims to encourage young people’s understanding of the environment and of the need for sustainability. A good child friendly (KS2) reference section.