Forest Schools, Intent, Implementation and Impact
Intent - What do we want children to learn?
Quite simply, it is our intention that every pupil, irrelevant of needs, develops a real passion for the great outdoors and celebrates their local, natural environment. We wish for every child to develop a knowledge and passion for their local habitat and how to look after and nurture it – the flora and fauna as well as embracing the physical and personal challenges that working outside can present.
Through Forest School we aim to support this philosophy by:
- Fostering the enjoyment of the great outdoors;
- Embracing the physical challenges that working outside can bring;
- Developing both fine and gross motor skills;
- Developing personal and social skills by working in pairs and teams to complete tasks;
- Developing a range of bespoke Forest School skills such as knot tying, frapping, fire lighting, lashing and whittling;
- Developing a knowledge of local common flora and fauna;
- Fostering an awareness of seasonal change;
- Encouraging children to take risks in a supported environment;
- Developing problem solving and resilience through practical tasks such as den building;
- Ensuring children develop an understanding of keeping safe;
- Encouraging children to be active and have a healthy lifestyle.
- Encouraging pupils’ personal involvement with practical tasks enabling them to improve their attention span, persistence and commitment.
- Ensuring that the learning is matched to the differing needs of all the children as well as specific groups, such as SEND, pupil premium etc. Extra support and additional/ adapted resources to be provided to those children where it is required.
Implementation - How are we going to achieve our intent?
At Monyash C of E Primary School, currently, the KS1 class participates in Forest School activities. Each week the children spend an afternoon at the woodland next to the local church. It is intended that the KS2 class will be participating in their own classes very soon.
At Winster C of E Primary School,
Regular training of both teaching and non-teaching staff allows for all children to receive a quality session and all staff to understand the potential learning opportunities this resource has to offer.
Forest School sessions happen whatever the weather – as the saying goes “there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing!” – the only exemptions being strong winds and heavy snow due to safety.
Forest School sessions are planned to involve a mixture of both adult led and child initiated activities. Adult led tasks may involve the teaching and application of pure Forest School skills such as fire lighting, plant identification or whittling, or indeed the teaching of any area of the school curriculum which is enhanced by being in an outdoor learning environment such as a bespoke phonics session or the geography of a river system.
Child led activities often support personal, social and emotional development or demonstrate the independent application of prior teaching and learning such as mini beast hunting or constructing a water tight den.
Impact - What will it look like when we have achieved our intent?