Forest School is an exciting opportunity for the children to experience, appreciate, identify and learn from the woodland and its surrounds through a wide variety of activities. At St Michael with St Thomas, we are extremely blessed to have our own secure woodland site on the school grounds, the spinney, on which our trained staff will work with and alongside our pupils in an atmosphere of encouragement, acceptance and respect to their own learning pathways.
The Forest Schools ethos developed in Denmark, originally working with pre-school children. They found that the children who had attended a forest school setting arrived at school with stronger social and communication skills, along with a more developed understanding of risk-taking and problem-solving skills. These children also showed good team working skills, had higher self-esteem and higher confidence in their own abilities. These traits then helped them to go on to raise their academic achievements.
Supporting our school vision of ‘Learn, Achieve, Love, Believe’, our Forest School programme extends the Lunar Curriculum beyond the walls of the school building, striving to equip pupils with the essential knowledge and skills needed to succeed in life. As with our academic subjects, the forest school sessions are planned and sequenced so that new knowledge and skills build on what has been developed and explored before. In addition to specific outdoor skills, the Lunar Curriculum also develops pupils’ personal, learning and thinking skills which they need for success in learning and life. Our forest school programme continues to develop these:
As children become more familiar and confident with the setting, they will be given the opportunity to explore the use of tools, to set and light fires safely, and to prepare and cook healthy dishes on an open fire. They will identify common flora and fauna (trees, plants, animals and insects) and be taught how to manage the forest to minimise their ecological impact on it, encouraging all to enjoy the peace and tranquillity that such spaces can offer.
Each year group will have forest school sessions for a half-term and a letter will be sent out to parents explaining the clothing requirements prior to the sessions beginning.