Throughout the Forest Schools experience children develop their skills of teamwork, co-operation, listening and observation. A typical start to the day involves going over safety rules, setting camp, laying a fire (if needed) and putting up a shelter. We have a listening and looking task every session. Children sit quietly with closed eyes and listen to the sounds of nature or look at what’s moving around them. Some children find sitting still very challenging and developing this skill can have a positive impact back in the classroom.
Being outdoors offers opportunities for doing things in different ways and on a different scale. Children create art work from twigs, leaves, stones and mud and use leaves, bark and berries to make dyes. From Reception to KS2 they learn to use tools, starting with a potato peeler to peel bark from twigs to create a point, through to using knives and saws for progressively demanding challenges. The natural world offers so many opportunities for learning. Here are a few specific outdoor learning activity ideas linked to the Forest School approach:
• Build and learn to cook on an open fire
• Learn to identify trees and plants and examine the shape, scent, sound and surface of various trees
• Create dens, shelters, bridges and sculptures
• Collect colours from nature
• Make art from natural products and draw and engrave using natural materials
• Create a woodland assault course for a squirrel
• Hunt for mini-beasts in trees, bushes, deadwood etc.
• Create a bug hotel
• Climb trees
• Develop the ability to observe silently - to look and hear what’s happening around them.
All the above, as well as English, Maths, Science, DT, PSHE, PE - this environment offers a huge amount of learning outside the class room!