Forest School at Awbridge
The intention of Forest School at Awbridge is to provide children with the opportunity to enjoy being outside in all seasons, to experience activities they may not necessarily be exposed to within the classroom, and to provide a space away from, but alongside, the curriculum to allow children to holistically develop and mature at their own pace.
Children learn about and promote ecology on the site, and focus on increasing the number of animals, insects and wildlife in our environment. They learn how to identify some of the key trees and flowers on the site, and help promote biodiversity by planting trees and seeds as well as creating places for animals for live in birdboxes, hedgehog house and bug hotels.
What do I need to know?
Forest School will run in almost any weather conditions – the exception being in high wind. There are significant learning opportunities to be enjoyed in all weather conditions, including, the very wet and the very cold.
Children need, as a minimum, waterproof trousers and coats. We do have a stock of these items which can be borrowed if necessary.
Forest School sessions are run with high, adult – child ratios to allow children to experience elements of ‘risky play’ and risk. We encourage DBS checked volunteers (and parents) to join us for sessions.
Activities with a high level of potential risk will always be conducted with a 1:1 ratio.
Forest School sessions will always be led by a fully qualified Forest School Practitioner.
All children will need to wear plenty of layers on their Forest School day as this is more effective than one thick coat in cold weather.
Packing spare clothes, such as socks, is advised in case of wet feet. It's also worth bearing in mind that wellies do not offer much warmth!
Forest School, led by Mrs Sherrington, is an excellent opportunity for children to grow in confidence. The exciting array of outdoor activities encourage children to take risks, grow in resilience and develop their self-esteem as well as being great fun!
What is Forest School?
Forest School is an approach to learning that is centred and designed to promote holistic, whole child development, taking place in a natural setting. The origins of Forest School come from Scandinavia, and the ‘open-air’ culture of their Early Childhood Education which became more popular in the UK in the 1990’s. The process became formalised in the early 2000’s and the Forest School Association (FSA) was set up in 2011. Upon formation the FSA agreed upon 6 principles that ensure the effectiveness and impact of Forest School (FSA, 2022).
Principle 1: Forest School takes place regularly… with the same group of learners over an extended period of time, within a natural environment.
Principle 2: Forest School takes place in a woodland or natural wooded environment to support the development of a relationship between the learner and the natural world.
Principle 3: Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent, and creative learners.
Principle 4: Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and themselves.
Principle 5: Forest School is run by qualified practitioners who maintain and develop their professional practice.
Principle 6: Forest School uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for development and learning.