Forest Schools have been well established in Scandinavia since the 1950s and are based on the ethos that spending time in the outdoors promotes holistic development in children’s learning.
Over the last few years this emphasis has been with the younger children, as many of its principles can be found within the Early Years Curriculum. This type of learning is something we are keen to extend into the primary curriculum, so that older children may benefit too.
Forest School sessions are multi-sensory, fun and informative. Staff and carers are encouraged to watch, support and encourage children as they explore the outdoor environment. Child-led play and activities allow us to observe children’s skills and play patterns. Empowerment is the key in Forest School learning: independence is encouraged and confidence blooms. Children are encouraged to follow three simple rules whilst outside, helping them to recognise boundaries and, more importantly, the WHY behind the rules.
At Stoke Park Primary School, the Forest School curriculum is planned to reflect classroom topics or interests spawned from the children during previous sessions, allowing it to be all encompassing and naturally progressive.