Forest School Programmes
|Meet Ryan, a young forest schooler selected for anger management issues|
|Meet some early years children|
|Meet some autistic spectrum children|
Forest Schools is a method of education which is hugely succesful in accessing childrens imagination, social and independence skills. The impact has been so successful in schools, throughout the Midlands region, that increasingly schools are now investing in year round Forest School practitioners to work with their children throughout the seasons.
A typical program will involve working with small, targeted, groups using a high adult to child ratio for a minimum of 12 weeks (1 term). These groups may be selected for a number of reasons: low self-esteem, school phobia, poor attendance, anger management and ASD are recent examples. The group meets weekly, usually for 2-3 hrs per session, ideally in a woodland setting and children are taken on a journey of self discovery and development where SEAL (Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning) is incorporated into every step. Children learn in a purely kinaesthetic manner. This avoids alienating children who struggle with the standard visual and auditory method of teaching.
"...in terms of impact, Forest Schools has been one of the most successful projects in our school..."
Hawthorn Primary, Kingstanding, Birmingham
"...it is wonderful to see our low-esteem children growing in confidence with each session..."
St. Michael's High School, Rowley Regis
The principals of Forest Schools are two fold:
On an explicit level, the child/individual perceives their learning as:
• Fun, challenging and exciting!
• Lots of 'proper' child play; den building, making shelters, exploring...
• Using traditional wood-craft skills.
• Gaining traditional tools skills.
• Understanding and practicing basic survival and bush craft skills.
• Using the art of responsible fire making for means of cooking, warmth and social interaction.
• Believing in the importance of our delicate ecosystem and how to look after our local environment, plant life and animal habitats.
• Experiencing an awareness of seasonal changes... and much more...
On an implicit level, practitioners encourage children/individuals to:
• Use their imagination!
• Leave behind social pressures related to material and social status.
• See their worth and their abilities related to tasks where there is no measurement. They are valued based on their contribution.
• Be themselves and be valued for being themselves.
• Use language and interaction based on the principals of Emotional Literacy, whereby individuals are carefully given direction in how to deal with uncomfortable situations in a positive manner.
• Improve gross and fine motor skills.
• Be aware of visual stimulus outdoors.
• Be aware of auditory stimulus outdoors.
• Develop spatial awareness.
• Become aware of a range of sensory interaction and environmental feedback.
• Develop confidence & self supporting strategies
• Learn to enjoy learning skills
• Promote independence and assessed risk taking awareness in their family life.
• Appreciate a more balanced and healthy lifestyle.