Outdoor Learning & Forest School
Outdoor learning is a fantastic way for children to take risks, explore and develop a positive attitude to learning. At Eastrop Infant school, every child has has the opportunity to learn outdoors through welly walks, lessons linked to their theme and discrete outdoor learning sessions taught by our Outdoor Learning Leader - Mr Smith
Each week, children are taught discrete skills, linked to the use of tools and techniques, as well has having the opportunity to problem solve and take risks through a variety of activities such as wand making, grounds maintenance and identifying plants and animals. These activities are carried out within the safe environment of our school grounds, allowing children to develop their independence too. At times, children will also explore beyond our school grounds, exploiting the wonderful environment we have around us in Highworth such as Coleshill Farm and forest.
Click here for our Skills Progression map for Outdoor Learning
We are very privileged to work with Ruth Parsons, from Woodland Learning, to provide the children in Year 2 with a weekly Forest School experience.
Photo above: Ruth (centre) with volunteers from Nationwide Building Society
Forest School is an inspirational process, that offers all learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees. Forest School is a specialised learning approach that sits within and compliments the wider context of outdoor and woodland education.
At Forest School all participants are viewed as:
- equal, unique and valuable
- competent to explore & discover
- entitled to experience appropriate risk and challenge
- entitled to choose, and to initiate and drive their own learning and development
- entitled to experience regular success
- entitled to develop positive relationships with themselves and other people
- entitled to develop a strong, positive relationship with their natural world
This learner-centred approach interweaves with the ever-changing moods and marvels, potential and challenges of the natural world through the seasons to fill every Forest School session and programme with discovery and difference. Yet each programme does also share a common set of principles, aimed at ensuring that all learners experience the cumulative and lasting benefits that quality Forest School offers.
Principles of Forest School
These principles were first articulated by the Forest School Community in 2002. They were reviewed in 2011 and sent out for a 5-month consultation to Forest School networks and practitioners in all UK nations. They were published on the Institute for Outdoor Learning Forest School SIG page in Feb 2012, and in the minutes of the GB trainers’ network.
- FS is a long-term process of regular sessions, rather than a one-off or infrequent visits; the cycle of planning, observation, adaptation and review links each session.
- FS takes place in a woodland or natural environment to support the development of a relationship between the learner and the natural world.
- FS uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for being, development and learning.
- FS aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners.
- FS offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.
- FS is run by qualified Forest School practitioners who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice.