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Forest Activities

Welcome to our Forest Activities page.

 

The Forest School Ethos

 

Forest School is a unique educational experience and process that offers children the opportunity to succeed and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or other natural environment.

The Forest School concept originated in Scandinavia and was originally aimed at pre-school children. It was found that children who had attended forest school seemed to benefit in many ways. They arrived at school with strong social and communication skills, had the ability to work in groups effectively, displayed high self-esteem and generally showed confidence in their own abilities.

 

Since being adopted in the United Kingdom the approach has been used to deliver learning programmes to groups from pre-school age to young adults and across all abilities. Research has shown that the benefits identified in the original forest schools appear to benefit learners at all levels.

Forest School at Ley Hill provides opportunities for and encourages children to:

  • develop their personal and social skills
  • develop their language and communication skills
  • improve physical motor skills
  • work through practical problems and challenges
  • develop practical skills
  • use tools to create, build or manage
  • pursue knowledge that interests them
  • build confidence in decision making
  • evaluate risk
  • explore connections between humans, wildlife and the earth
  • reflect on learning and experiences
  • regularly experience achievement and success
  • learn how to manage failures
  • discover how they learn best
  • improve their concentration skills
  • become more motivated
  • understand the benefits of a balanced and healthy lifestyle
  •  

At Ley Hill School we aim to:

  • encourage excellence
  • value every individual’s contribution
  • develop confident, independent learners
  • place high emphasis on literacy and numeracy
  • encourage aesthetic, spiritual, moral and social development
  • develop self-discipline
  • teach the children to value and respect self and others
  • make learning fun!

 

Forest School at Ley Hill

At Ley Hill, Forest School sessions generally take place within the school grounds, in Cowcroft Woods behind the school or at Crabtree Woods across the road. The area in school is fully fenced and includes a small area of woodland, trees, pond and hedgerows.

 

What do the children do?

Children taking part in Forest School sessions are given an opportunity to participate in activities in a natural setting on a regular basis. The setting provides a safe environment for them to learn and explore. Activities take place throughout the year and in generally in all weathers.

 

Whilst the sessions may provide opportunities to learn and understand more about the natural world, they also provide opportunities to develop their interpersonal skills.

 

There are opportunities to learn practical skills that there is often little opportunity to learn in formal school settings or even in the home these days. For tasks such as tree climbing, tool use, fire lighting or cooking there might be an element of managed risk. However by giving children these opportunities they ultimately become better equipped to manage risk and as a result have the opportunity to grow their self confidence.

 

Opportunities for reflection and to share experiences are provided and these help with the social and emotional development of participants. Group size plays an important role in this area, smaller groups allowing, eventually, more in depth reflection to take place and greater social interaction.

 

The Forest School teacher should be seen as a facilitator. Although activities are well planned, they should essentially be child led. There should be flexibility in the planning to allow children to pursue their interests, planning being used to scaffold their interests. In order for this to happen, leaders need to have a good understanding of practical skills and an ability to match or adapt activities to learner’s interests. Most importantly they need to have a good understanding of the site where the sessions take place and the opportunities it can present.

 

Activities for Forest Schools are diverse and numerous but it should be reminded that we are trying to create independent learners who are inspired to try out their own ideas, explore their own interests and to attempt new ideas.

The following will give some indication of the type of activities that might be undertaken:

 

  • Den and shelter building
  • Fire lighting
  • Tool use
  • Wildlife studies
  • Habitat development
  • Playing team and group games
  • Sensory activities
  • Tracking games
  • Cooking on an open fire
  • Rope and string work
  • Art and sculpture work
  • Woodland and traditional crafts
  • Story telling
  • Drama
  • Imaginary characters
  • Physical movement activities
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As can be seen the approach is cross curricular.

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