Forest Schools movement in the UK is based on the Scandinavian approach to early years education. It is a unique and inspiring approach to learning which compliments children’s learning in the traditional classroom. Children are provided opportunities to develop through positive outdoor experiences, where possible based within a forest or amongst trees.
Ashbrow School has run a forest school since 2004, we are proud to be one of the first schools in our area to develop on this ethos and we continue to develop good practice within the school, to improve the children’s wellbeing and sense of self.
In forest school we have 3 key principles:
- Take care of yourself
- Take care of others
- Take care of your environment
Forest school enhances positive relationships encouraging aspiration, independence and problem solving in practical hands on activities.
Children are given inspiration, space and time to learn by following their own thoughts, creating their own unique solutions to any problems which confront them.
Forest School Ethos
The philosophy of Forest School is to inspire and encourage children through positive outdoor experiences. It is complimentary, not separate to learning in a traditional classroom. Sessions are centred on and by the learners themselves, drawing on their imagination and interests.
Forest School aims to develop the learners’ personal, social and emotional skills through participation in tasks and experiences which are both motivating and achievable.
These skills include:
- Consideration, respect and responsibility for themselves, others and their environment
- Communication skills
- Increased self- esteem
Forest school contributes to our school drivers:
Children work in small groups or pairs which are self chosen and self directed. They often use communication more freely in an outdoor environment when they are following their own ideas than when being directed by others, or working inside.
During Forest School children are encouraged to focus on their own ideas and see them through to conclusion. Children have time to develop a thought and revisit their learning and experiences to improve and progress on their original idea.
When spending time in nature and taking risks children learn to respect their own skills, and those of others. Often there is a chance to show and develop skills which are not part of traditional class time, building respect for those with different learning strengths. Children are encouraged to respect the environment they are working in and to take care of any living plants or animals.
In Forest School children develop strong sense of their own ideas and are encouraged to think for themselves. Problem solving is core to forest activities; we encourage creative use of resources and open ended activities which children can lead.
Summer in Forest
We will be investigating all the life in forest. Observing and recording plants and animals focusing on growth, changes and habitats:
- Pond gazing and dipping
- Water creature identification and recording
- Hunting and identifying mini beasts
- Bird spotting and creating feeders
- Making transient art to reflect our learning
- Building and creating boundaries using tools
Spring in Forest
We will begin to use the resources of the woodland in our forest garden, problem solving and working in small teams:
- Build miniature shelters for characters
- Practice den building in small structures
- Create weaving sticks to display our woodland finds
- Create large dens and canopies using our knots and building skills
- Attract wildlife to our woodland creating bird feeders and restocking our bug hotels
Autumn in Forest
We will have the opportunity to investigate, explore and learn through our environment by:
- setting and following trails
- building small structures
- learning knots
- exploring trees; bark rubbing, measuring trunks, recording findings
- being creative using forest finds: stickmen, poppies, art, and lots more
Ashbrow Forest School Song
Every Forest School session at Ashbrow starts with our Forest School song. As the staff and children leave the school building and make our way down to the Forest Garden, our song is sung. This gives us all a sense of belonging and togetherness and also emphasises the important skills and values we are trying to develop and promote, in and through, everyone.
Forest School Song
Going to Forest (x2)
Rain or Shine (x2)
Working in the garden (x2)
With my friends (x2)
Having fun (x2)
Learning in my own way (x2)
The best I can! (x2)
I’m fantastic (x2)
I follow all the rules (x2)
I can solve a problem (x2)
In Forest School (x2)
Singing our Forest School song
(Sung to the tune of Frere Jacques)
Before long you will have the whole school singing with you!