My Forest School sessions promote children’s understanding of nature and the environment they are exploring and playing in. They develop a respect for the place where they’re having so much fun, and for each other.
The sessions are also a fantastic way to get children interested in nature, and in turn, we can work through parts of the statutory science curriculum. These experiences in the outdoors give children the space to learn, helping with language development by introducing them to new vocabulary and encouraging descriptive games and discussion. Controlled risk-taking (during activities such as tree-climbing and tool work) increases independent thought, confidence and self-reliance.The children’s behaviour and well-being improves by having the space and chance to learn kinaesthetically and interact with their peers in a different setting. The exercise and fresh air promotes health, fitness and agility .
The activities I offer will change to reflect the seasons and also to reflect the nature of the groups I am working with, but a typical session will include some of the following:
- Flora/fauna identification
- Treasure hunts
- Mini-beasting and bug hunting
- Nature art
- Confidence-building exercises/team games
- Guided wood walks
- Shelter building
- Supervised woodworking and tool use (if children are deemed sensible enough to follow our safety procedure)
- Sensory games
Before each session I visit the site to carry out a fluid risk-assessment, to assess weather conditions/areas that need to be avoided and seasonal considerations, e.g. ground nesting birds etc. Every session is evaluated and the next planned accordingly
Respect for our natural environment and a strict adherence to the ‘leave nothing behind but footprints’ ethos will underpin all the sessions. I avoid utilising the same areas each time I deliver a session to lessen any small impact on the site or its wildlife.
I deliver sessions in all weathers (except in dangerously high winds) and so the children need to come well prepared to stay warm and dry. Old clothes are ideal – we want them to be able to get muddy without worrying about what they’re wearing!