Forest School is a Scandinavian concept where the outdoors is used as an area for learning. It improves not only the concentration and focus of children but also has mental health benefits too. Forest School is about using the outdoors to promote confidence, self-esteem and independence.
Forest School is an all weathers, all year round concept of exploring and learning from the seasons, and environment changes. The children’s interests, along with the varied natural resources in our garden, are used to stimulate creative thinking, problem solving and skill development, as well as team-work, and providing a space for quiet. In the busy National Curriculum the Forest School does not stand alone as a subject, as it is a diverse space that can be used alongside core and non-core teaching. We, at Raddlebarn, believe that time in the Forest School provides our children with opportunities to test themselves, to explore the unknown and to find out what they are truly capable of by building upon on a child’s innate motivation, developing a positive attitude to learning, offering them the opportunities to take risks, make choices and initiate learning for themselves.
Raddlebarn is currently in the process of creating our own Forest School area alongside the KS2 building. With the help of our parent volunteers, the area has been cleaned of over-growth and will be ready for re-planting and creating a space for the children at Raddlebarn, not only for learning, but also for relaxation and cross-curricular focus. The Forest School will then be open for individual classes and year groups to use with a timetable.
The sessions may consist of teacher-led and/or child-initiated activities. Teacher-led activities provide a focus for learning and are usually skill based. Child-initiated activities arise out of the interests and ideas of the children. They may be a response to the conditions of the day or an ongoing idea they wish to explore. Conservation in Forest School will also be taught to the children, alongside Eco Council, developing their understanding of respect and responsibility for the environment. Both the children and adults are encouraged to respect their environment and to be aware of conservation issues of the garden around them, as well as maintain a space which is clean, tidy and clear of over growing plants – alongside this, their empathy and care for wildlife is developed. They are encouraged to deposit waste in the compost bin, thus providing goodness for our planting area and collecting litter with appropriate equipment provided by Eco Council.
We will continue to inform you of our progress with our Raddlebarn Forest School; if you would like any further information please do not hesitate to come to speak to Miss Hall.