What is Forest School?
‘Forest School is an inspirational process that offers ALL learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees’.
(Forest School Association)
The Forest School Principles and how they link to our setting
- Forest School is a long term process of frequent and regular sessions.
- The Reception and Year 1 children across the Federation will have weekly Forest School sessions lasting 1 hour 45 minutes
- It takes place in a woodland or natural wooded environment:
- Fawcett Primary School - Fawcett Primary has a little oasis of woodland within the school’s environment, which was planted by the then Year 6 children in 1992
- Trumpington Meadows Primary School - has beautiful grounds on and around the school site, including two ponds, meadows, an allotment and the beautiful woodland alongside Bryon’s pool
- It will be managed by a qualified Forest School Practitioner
- Polly Edge is a Level 3 Qualified Forest School Leader and Class Teacher
- We aim to promote the holistic development in all of those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners
- We will offer learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and themselves
- We will use a range of learner centred processes to create a community for development and learning
Forest School Ethos
The ethos of Forest school is based on a fundamental respect for children and young people and their capacity to investigate, test and maintain curiosity in the world around them.
It believes in children’s right to play; the right to access the outdoors (and in particular a woodland environment) the right to access risk and the vibrant reality of the natural world; the right to experience a healthy range of emotions, through all the challenges of social interaction, to build resilience that will enable continued and creative engagement with their peers and their potential.
Forest school is based more on the process of learning than it is on the content– more on the how than the what. This means that genuine forest school practice steps boldly out of the shadow and limitation of planned activities and ventures collaboratively into the realms of the unplanned, unexpected and ultimately unlimited.
Children and young people are given encouragement to direct their own learning - this often requires on the part of the forest school leader either through stimulating play in the outdoors or through scaffolding, but mostly through simply observing how children are in the outdoors.
Significantly, and on many levels, a woodland environment is central in supporting this very dynamic approach to learning; the passage of time from the changing of the seasons, to the contemplation of an ancient tree; the dynamic nature of an outdoor environment - an infinite source of smells, textures, sounds and tastes; a range of visual stimuli from near to far, high to low, very big to very small; and the infinite layers of historical, cultural, spiritual and mythological significance that speak of our deep relationship with trees and woodland through the ages.
(Above extracted from FSTC)