What are Forest Schools?
A Forest School is an innovative educational approach to outdoor play and learning. The philosophy of Forest Schools is to encourage and inspire individuals of any age through positive outdoor experiences. It started in Scandinavia with the aim of developing children’s understanding of the outside world. It was found that children who took part in Forest Schools activities not only experienced fewer coughs and colds, but also broadened their learning in areas including language and social skills, as well as improving their physical development.
At St. Paul’s Nursery School we are very lucky to have a woodland area right on our doorstep! This means we are able to provide a safe, secure and practical way for the children to experience nature and the great outdoors.
What sort of activities will the children be doing?
A group of children will go St. Paul’s Square garden to take part in forest school activities. There will be a mix of staff and parent helpers that go with the group. The same routine will be followed each visit to help the children learn how to stay safe and explore the area in a sensible way. The children will have a ‘base’ and will know to go back to base when they hear the special call “1,2,3, where are you?”. There will be an introduction, time to explore, a main activity, and a closing session with hot chocolate and a snack!
There will be a different focus each visit for the main activity. These activities may include;
- Making leaf mobiles, finding out about different trees and the different types of leaves
- Creating pictures using natural resources
- Story telling and acting using the environment to resemble different places in the story
- Making fairy houses using sticks, moss, leaves etc.
- Minibeast hunts, naming the different creatures they find, learning about their habitats
Within all of these activities there are so many opportunities for incorporating different areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage (curriculum for the under 5s). For example when collecting sticks to make a fairy house, adults will support the children to talk about the length of the sticks, how many sticks they have found, what colour are the sticks, how can we fasten the sticks together etc. The list goes on…!
What will your child need?
Forest School sessions will take place whatever the weather! When you know your child is due to go to the forest, please provide them with the following;
- Wellington boots and a thick pair of socks (or snow boots)
- A warm coat
- Hat, gloves and scarf
- Long trousers (we will provide waterproof trousers to go over the top)
- Old clothes that you don’t mind them getting dirty
- It’s a good idea to put a spare change of clothes in their bag so that they are able to change if they do get wet. Please use cloth bags rather than carrier bags.
Our Forest School rules
- Always stay inside the boundary unless a grown up is with you.
- Be very careful with sticks and stones.
- Look after living things. Never pick growing things.
- Be kind to each other, share and take turns.
- Wash or wipe your hands before the snack and when you return to the nursery school.
- Tidy up at the end of the session so the animals are safe.