High Cross Primary Forest School
‘Forest Schools’ is an approach to outdoor learning (not necessarily requiring a forest!)
The idea of Forest Schools originated in Scandinavia in the 1950’s, where outdoor living and learning is totally embedded in society. In Scandinavia there is a strong belief that nature and movement is essential to a child’s overall development and wellbeing. Most children, through their school years, spend one day per week engaged in learning activities outdoors, appreciating how to care for and respect the environment while also looking after themselves and others. In the 1980’s the Forest Schools concept was established in Denmark for pre-school children. During the 1990’s the forest school initiative in Denmark was visited by nurses from Somerset and independently by those from other early years professionals around the UK.
It is becoming increasingly recognised that this ‘outdoor’ approach to learning and play can have a great effect on the natural development of children.
Here at High Cross Primary School we recognise and embrace the benefits of an ‘outdoor’ approach to learning. The Forest school programme we deliver provides a vital link between the teaching and learning that takes place in school and the development of the use of the school grounds as a teaching and learning resource. Since 2008 we have had 3 Forest School level 3 qualified practitioners working within the school and 1Forest school level 1qualified TA supporting and enhancing the planning and delivery of Forest school session. We believe that linking the children’s curriculum and skills based learning through regular access to the outdoor learning environment is fundamentally beneficial in developing the whole child. Here at High Cross we believe some of the benefits of delivering forest school sessions regularly to our children are as follows;
- Children have the opportunity to work as a team to solve problems and achieve goals
- There is opportunity for a more sensory approach to individual children’s learning.
- Children are encouraged to have a voice and make informed choices.
- By motivating the children we develop their values, attitudes and skills required to appreciate, respect and care for their natural environment. This principle outcome is a foundation on which higher order learning opportunities can be built, such as recognising detail, questioning and investigation.
- Children learn to handle responsibility, rising to expectations and understanding the consequences of actions to others and the environment around them.
- Children develop their self esteem and thus potential learning. The outdoor environment offers an appropriate context in which to achieve this.
- The Forest Schools ethos offers itself as a powerful tool for developing emotional intelligence that could potentially set up children with life-long learning skills.
- By supporting children to fulfil their potential as naturally active explorers we fulfil a deep and fundamental need. The opportunity to learn and develop in this way has a profound effect on well-being.
- Allowing individual children the opportunity to learn in a way that suited their schema/learning style has an especially significant impact on the results they achieve and their motivation to get there.
Please enjoy some of the photos of our children using the outdoor environment to stimulate and support their learning through a forest school approach here at High Cross!