What is Forest School?
Forest School is not a new trendy concept. As early as the 1800’s Philosophers, Naturalists and Educators across Europe have been exploring the virtues of outdoor learning.
In the 1970’s the education system moved towards a teacher/outcome centred approach, in attempt to improve literacy and numeracy. As a response to this an “alternative” educational model was formed and so Forest School (as we now know it) emerged.
In the early 1990’s a group of nursery practitioners went to Scandinavia to study the open-air culture (Frulitsliv) in pre-schools. They came back to the UK enthused and they created a similar child-centered/play based pedagogy based on the Scandinavian model.
What are the guiding principles of Forest School?
Madley Primary School Forest School Vision Statement
Forest School is about exploration, resilience and learning in a stimulating relaxing and enriched environment. It allows our children “Freedom with purpose” to connect with the outdoor environment and everything that entails. Forest School promotes risk taking, independence and self-awareness for all children (and adults).
Here at Madley we have been running regular Forest School sessions for over 10 years. At Madley almost half of our staff are fully qualified Forest School Leaders. We are extremely lucky to have two sites which we can access with our children. The on-site Forest School is ideal when the weather is poor, or our minibus fleet is in use. The main site is in a native British woodland which is located approximately 3 miles away. Here we can allow the children to explore and work in a beautiful environment. With regular sessions being held for each class group the children are encouraged to take ownership of the woodland. They are expected to adhere to the environmental impact statement and are also encouraged to assist in maintaining the sustainability of the woodland by creating new pathways, cutting down brambles and ensuring that we leave our woodland area “better than we found it”
What should the children wear at Forest School?
It is important to make sure that the children are adequately dressed, the temperature falls about 5 degrees under the canopy so even on the hottest of days it does get chilly.
In winter months we ask that the children wear additional clothing such as vests, hats, scarves and gloves. In Summer months we ask that the children have a sun hat and sun cream – just in case.