While already having some of the largest outdoor areas of any early year’s provider in the local area, we are also fortunate enough to have an on-site Forest area. No mini-buses required here, so lots more time in the forest! We also have a seamless approach to our environment so that the forest school ethos encompasses the orchard, garden and allotment. The indoor environment reflects nature through décor, displays, living things, investigation and creation stations. Quite simply, nature is everywhere. Our Forest School is something that makes us very unique and we are extremely proud of this fantastic opportunity we are able to offer our children.
What is Forest School?
A Forest School is an innovative educational approach to outdoor play and learning. The philosophy of Forest Schools is to encourage and inspire individuals of any age through positive outdoor experiences. Put simply, it is learning in nature through play and adventure.
We are a Recognised Forest School Provider & can be found on the Forest School Association (FSA) Map. This award is in recognition of the high standard of our Forest School provision in accordance with the ethos & guidelines set by the FSA.
How does it work?
Each child new to our setting joins a six week forest programme building up to using tools and a camp fire cooking celebration. Following this introductory programme, children access a forest school session with their family groups once every two weeks or more. Younger children access our Nature Kindergarten, focussing upon exploration, investigation and learning basic safety rules through play and games. Our Acorn Forest School sessions, support children to develop socio communication skills. The sessions provide opportunities to explore chosen fascinations, schemas & sensory stimuli in a calm natural environment. Forest school and nature experiences also take place outside the sessions from breakfast bird feeding, tree climbing, bug hunting to tea time crafts and harvesting throughout the year.
Introducing our Forest School Team:
Sue Evans and Dawn White are level 3 Forest School Leaders and design and implement our Forest School Programmes. The programmes reflect the seasons and the elements and are carefully tailored to suit the needs, ages and interests of each and every child. Ratios of children to adults is low so the team get to know children well and this enables us to build relationships, confidence and knowledge & understanding of both the natural world and themselves. Independence, empathy, self-help, and communication are enhanced through contact with the natural world. Experiences that help to nurture these skills include; Adventure play, opportunities to experience & learn from risk, cooking outdoors, game playing, storytelling, singing & poetry, Makaton signing, using the weather & the rhythm of the year! - the provision of appropriate clothing enables us to explore in comfort, using technology in investigation work, and creative activities. Each and every child learns that they are trusted, valued, capable human beings!
Thank you to all of you who braved the weather and joined Sue & Dawn for their Christmas Celebrations in the Forest. We hope you all had a great time with your children experiencing some of the activities the forest has to offer.
We hope you will be able to join us again for our Spring Celebration when the weather will hopefully be much better!
Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a happy new year!