‘We will show everyone love and respect, living and learning with courage and joy.’
Aims of Forest School.
Our Forest School gives all pupils at Astley School the opportunity to:
- Have regular sessions in a woodland environment throughout the year
- Build a relationship with nature that will last them a life time
- Develop physically, socially, spiritually, emotionally, linguistically and cognitively
- Take supported risks in a safe environment e.g. climbing trees, using tools and enjoying a fire
- Learn about themselves, each other and their environment through play, child led creative activities and choice
- Enjoy sessions planned and led by a qualified Forest Schools Leader
Research done by De Montfort University, Leicester shows the positive impact of Forest School on children.
The Forest school concept is based on the idea that an individual’s contact with nature and regular interaction with the natural world is extremely important from a very early age and can have a major impact on improving their confidence, self-esteem and wellbeing (Massey, 2005); as well as developing their respect for nature and environmental awareness (Knight, 2011)
Why do we think Forest School is so important at Astley School?
This definition of Forest School in the UK has been developed by the Forest School Association.
“Forest School is an inspirational process offering 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 complements the wider context of outdoor learning”.
Forest School is not doing school work outside. It is a completely different approach to living and learning. It is a fantastic opportunity for children to learn about nature, to build connections with it while learning about themselves as an individual and their class as a community. Being in nature and seeing the seasons change, plants and animals go through their life cycles, seeing the impact of our behaviour on the natural world, all this allows our young people to grow up being more considerate of all life on earth, less self centred, more compassionate and creative. Time in Forest School can enrich children’s lives, giving them experiences that will mould them and influence them far into their futures.
A recent study looked at the effects of long term Forests School programmes on ... children and “established that long term Forest Schools programmes had positive impacts on children’s resilience, confidence and wellbeing”. https://nestinthewoods.co.uk/forest-school-research/
What sort of things do we do at Forest School?
“Play is the work of the child”. Maria Montessori.
Forest School is all about play. There are many different types of play and children can access them all within a Forest School session. This can be individually, with a friend, a small group. The opportunities for play are endless! Learning through play is important for all ages and we respect this at Astley, offering Forest School sessions to all age groups.
Children have the choice of a wide range of activities including using a variety of tools to work with wood, fire lighting and cooking, playing in our mud kitchen, climbing trees, learning to balance on our slack line and building dens and shelters from different materials.
Children have dedicated time during every session to reflect on what they have been experiencing and how they are developing at Forest School. This community based and holistic approach to learning in the outdoors is at the heart of the Forest Schools movement.
Forest School is about individual learners finding out about themselves and about their connections to others and the natural world in a safe and accepting environment. Forest School is about acceptance of everyone and everything and children’s emotional and physical wellbeing is cared for and enhanced.
What does my child need for Forest School sessions?
- Long sleeved t-shirt
- Long trousers-jogging bottoms are great. Not jeans.
- A fleece/old jumper
- Waterproofs-separate top and bottom are easier for children to put on than all in one suits.
- Sturdy shoes/boots are the best choice, whatever the weather. When it is very wet then wellies can be worn but an extra pair of socks is needed as they are very cold for small feet.
- Gloves and hat on cold days
Your child comes to school in their Forest School clothes on the day of their session. This ensures that wet/muddy clothes and waterproofs go home with them that day.
Who is guiding my child at Forest School?
Mrs Griffiths is a qualified Forest School Leader and trained First Aider with a great love of the outdoors, whatever the weather. Also on hand are teaching assistants and our wonderful volunteers, who are parents and grandparents of our current pupils. All adults at Forest School sessions have completed DBS checks. If you are interested in being a volunteer at Forest School please contact the School Office.
What is Astley Acorns?
Astley Acorns is a session for 0-4 year olds and their parent/carer. It runs from 10.15 -11.45am each Thursday morning during term time.
A range of opportunities are available for children including playing in the mud kitchen, singing and stories around the fire circle, creative activities, making dens and much more.
Children and their parent/carer need to come in clothes that are suitable for the weather. Plenty of layers and waterproofs in the autumn and winter, long sleeved tops and trousers with sun hats and sun cream in the summer.
A drink and a snack will be available for everyone.
There is a £2 donation per session and every session needs to be booked in advance with Mrs Bromage in the School Office.
The Forest School Handbook is available here.