Forest School Subject Leader: Mrs C Coleman
Forest School helps to increase our pupil’s confidence, problem-solving and self-esteem through exploration, team building and encourages them to learn how to access and nurture the environment.
At Halling primary school, we are very lucky to have amazing woodland on our school site. We use our woodland area all year round and in all weathers. Outdoor learning strives to allow children to develop independence, confidence, and self-esteem as well as, the freedom to explore using multiple senses.
Outdoor learning is encouraged throughout the school and is used to support teaching and learning in various areas of the school curriculum. Children in Reception have an outdoor learning day every week, which includes a range of different activities, including outdoor maths, gardening, and pond dipping. They also spend half of the day doing Forest School activities.
Our children are very fortunate to have two, Level Three Forest School Leaders. Weekly sessions are planned, based on the interests of the children. Our Forest is a little haven of wildlife, bug hotels, a digging pit and nature trails. Forest School is a child-led approach to learning that incorporates children’s right to play, to access the outdoor environment and feel successful. It is a unique way of building independence and self-esteem in young children, exposing them to the natural world.
Our children encounter the natural environment, how to handle risk in a safe way and most importantly, how to use their own initiative to solve problems and cooperate with others. We aim to foster a love and respect for the natural world through stimulating natural learning experiences, inspiring children to value biodiversity and developing a strong understanding of how to promote environmental sustainability.
At Halling, we put the children’s needs at the heart of all our provision and Forest School only continues to enhance this ethos. Our Forest School promotes cultural diversity, ensuring everyone feels valued and that individuality is celebrated. We are confident that our provision not only complements and extends our curriculum but also nurtures children to become successful lifelong learners.
Benefits of Outdoor Learning
Forest School promotes the holistic development of a child. It is particularly suited to children who struggle, for various reasons, to learn in a traditional classroom setting, as well as providing all children with a positive outlook which is then transferred to the classroom where they are found to be more motivated and have increased concentration levels.
Physical Development: Development of gross motor skills, building muscle, spatial awareness, balance, coordination and stamina. Fine Motor skills are enhanced when using hand tools as well as hand-eye coordination.
Emotional and Mental wellbeing: Spending time in woodland areas is calming and reduces stress.
Social Development: Development of communication and language skills, the ability to share, take turns and work as a team.
Behaviour: Research has shown that being outside has a calming influence on the brain, thereby improved behaviour is noticed.
Self-Regulation: The ability to recognise and manage risk as well as understand the reason for boundaries and rules.
Increased self-confidence and self-esteem: Learning new skills, and taking risks when using hand tools develops a sense of responsibility and pride. Increased knowledge, awareness, respect and understanding of the natural environment.
Creative Development: Through free play and exploration, children become naturally inquisitive of the natural environment, using it as a provocation for storytelling and role play.
Curriculum Links: The ethos and principles of Forest School support many of the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum and the National Curriculum for Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 and complement the topic-based curriculum we have at Halling
Our SEND and disadvantaged pupils are given the necessary support to fully access outdoor learning. Learning is adapted where necessary to support SEND/EAL pupils to give equal opportunities for all to be confident in approaching any problems faced. Interventions, support, and challenges are constantly revised and adapted to ensure all children are supported in achieving learning. The above areas are robustly and continuously monitored to ensure any gaps in learning are addressed.