Outdoor learning is a major part of our curriculum. Children play outside whatever the weather – “there is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes!” We have wet weather clothes and wellies, sun hats, warm hats and gloves for the children to use and encourage learning outside where it will be bigger, louder, messier and equally challenging physically and academically.
We have created a Forest School site which we call our Forest Garden. It is a magical space and includes a pond, a fire pit, a story telling chair and amphitheatre, a ditch with several different bridges, climbing and willow tunnels, an orchard and places to run, build dens and explore the wildlife.
We are committed to being an Eco-school and developing children’s awareness of their environment. We recycle, compost, have a large number of solar panels and recycle rainwater to flush the toilets. Children have made a “bug hotel” to encourage mini-beasts.
What is a Forest School?
Forest school activities include:
- Exploring nature, flora and fauna (trees, weather, mini-beasts, birds, open space etc.)
- Notice the seasonal changes in our environment
- Games such as hide and seek (children and objects)
- Problem solving (things out of reach and how to access them safely)
- Learning to be independent: getting dressed, choosing the right clothing and wellies
- Mathematical development- shapes, sizes, matching,
- Building shelters
- Learning how to use appropriate tools
- Lighting fires
Basic woodland skills are a great method to boost self-confidence and raise self-esteem. Children learn to use natural materials and develop practical and intellectual skills, which can be linked with the EYFS curriculum. The activities through which the curriculum can be delivered are based on elements of natural crafts, wood/bush crafts, art, storytelling, outdoor cooking, using natural resources, games and teamwork and environmental studies.
An important aspect is to enable children to acquire age/experience appropriate skills including keeping safe in the outdoor environment, using hand tools for crafts and the safe use of fire.
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