In forest school, activities are provided, but rather than being adult-led, each child chooses and tailors the activity to suit them. We follow what the children want to do, whilst observing their preferences and development.
Forest school helps children develop many skills that are hard to teach in the classroom. It is very physical which encourages children both to be active and to develop fine and gross motor skills. In addition, children learn to assess, appreciate and take risks enabling them to make sensible, informed decisions about how to tackle the activities and experiences they encounter. This helps them learn to be self-sufficient which in turn boosts their confidence and self-esteem.
Forest school ties in with many areas of the National Curriculum. For example, being outdoors year-round helps children learn about weather and the seasons, which are part of the programme of study in geography, studying mini beasts and plant life relates to the science curriculum, and working on tasks like den building and woodwork links with design and technology.
Children also benefit from the simple act of being outdoors. Research has shown that it improves mental and spiritual health, communication skills and social relationships. Connecting with nature also helps children to feel part of the world - just being outside in nature is calming, which is demonstrated in the way that children behave during their forest school session.
Here at Speldhurst Primary School, all of our children have the opportunity to experience Forest School in our very own environment, set in amongst our rich countryside. Our Forest School sessions run every Wednesday morning with the classes attending changing every term.