Forest schools eradicate classroom walls, they take learners into real-world settings and supply them with enthusiasm and respect for nature.
Forest Schools and Outdoor Learning at Beehive Lane Primary School.
What is Forest Schools?
Forest Schools originated in Sweden in the 1950’s as a way of helping young children to learn about the natural world through stories, songs and practical experiences. It takes place in our new Forest Schools area within the school grounds or anywhere that is deemed suitable for the particular activities being carried out. The outdoor area gives children an opportunity to experience nature first hand. Children learn best from first hand experiences. A majority of the activities will be child initiated. They allow children to make their own choices, take small controlled risks and learn new skills.
It is the intent of Beehive Lane Primary to ‘release the potential within all’ through a variety of Forest Schools and outdoor learning techniques and strategies that not only aid children in their learning but also provided in a positive, enjoyable, creative and inspiring manner that will allow them to transfer skills and knowledge from learning outside the classroom into the classroom and life outside school.
The primary aims of the curriculum will be:
· To build self-esteem and confidence in children
· To develop language and communication skills
· To build resilient, determined and independent learners
· To develop children’s personal, social and emotional development.
· To develop children’s and encourage creativity
· To encourage collaboration.
· To develop and build the ideas of risk management and risk benefit
· To improve children’s life skills and experiences
· To enable children to gain a respect for the natural environment and wildlife.
· To transfer negative behaviours into positive ones
All classes participate in Forest Schools or outdoor learning activities. Each week EYFS will spend a morning session at Forest Schools. Year 1 will have fortnightly sessions during the afternoon. Year 2 and KS2 will have a block of 6 weeks each academic year to focus of learning outside the classroom, but all teachers are encouraged to use the outdoor areas as much as possible to enhance the curriculum.
Forest Schools will take place whatever the weather, with the exception of high winds and storms, therefore suitable clothing is insisted on. The sessions are planned to involve a mixture of both adult led and child initiated activities. Adult led tasks may involve the teaching Forest School skills such as fire lighting, plant identification or whittling, or indeed the teaching of any area of the school
curriculum which is enhanced by being in an outdoor learning environment such as a bespoke phonics session or the geography of a river system. Child led activities often support personal, social and emotional development or demonstrate the independent application of prior teaching and learning such as mini beast hunting or constructing a water tight den.
As children grow in confidence in their abilities in the outdoor environment, they will begin to understand, assess and manage their own risk and safety. This will allow the children to become more independent and show them that life comes with not only risk but also rewards. It also teaches them what their own limits are and that they can push through them. They will see that sometimes we don’t always get the desired result the first time but that doesn’t make us a failure, it helps us to become more resilient, forcing us to try again in a different way. It encourages problem solving logical thinking and self-reflection and evaluation but most of all the pupils will see that mistakes aren’t failures; they are a part of learning, that they are, ultimately, human. It also helps children to develop into advocates for environmental issues. They are more knowledgeable and enthusiastic about nature.
Forest Schools Home Learning
Each week we are bringing you a jam-packed week of activities and action with WildlifeTV, a digital way for you to engage with your county's wildlife and learn about ways that you can help protect it.
From top tips on how to make your garden wildlife friendly and wildlife safaris to wild workouts and outdoor learning classes, Essex Wildlife Trust is determined to give you your daily dose of nature, even if you're stuck indoors.