Forest School is a Scandinavian concept where the outdoors is used as an area for learning and following many studies has been proven to improve not only the concentration and focus for children but also have mental health benefits also. Many of the activities evolve from the children’s interests and ideas, and the natural materials found in the outdoors. 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. Forest School is about using the outdoors to promote confidence, self-esteem and independence. At our school we are passionate about developing the whole child by supporting the child’s emotional, social, intellectual and physical development. 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 and developing a positive attitude to learning, offering them the opportunities to take risks, make choices and initiate learning for themselves.
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 the 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 clearing of over growing plants. The children also learn about the impact of conservation and environmental issues – 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.