Forest School is ‘An inspirational process that offers children and individuals regular opportunities to achieve, develop confidence and self-esteem through hands on learning experiences in a woodland environment.’ (Murray and O’Brian, 2006)
These holistic learning experiences at St Peter’s include exploring mini beast habitats, den building and problem solving, collaborating in the mud kitchen, climbing trees and swinging in a hammock, creative activities, storytelling and role playing, using real tools, growing plants and attending to vegetables and toasting marshmallows and popcorn on an open camp fire.
Each and every child who attends Forest School at St Peter’s is at the heart of their own outdoor learning journey. Positively engaging with nature-based activities inspires children’s discovery and love of learning and helps them to feel a great sense of achievement where they not only thrive, but they actively strive to be the best version of themselves.
The Forest School process encourages all child led learning experiences and helps to support the children to make sense of the natural world around them. Skilled staff sensitively nurture and scaffold the children’s learning to enable them to get the most out of their experiences, which also fully complements the National Curriculum.
Many of the children report that spending time out in the Forest School helps them to feel calm and happy and helps them to positively engage with their school work when they return to the classroom. Scientific research also tells us that spending time out in nature not only helps to boost our mental well-being, due to its calming influence, but an increased contact with environmental microbes also strengthens our immune systems. Children spending time outdoors and positively bonding with nature is also good for the future of our planet’s ecosystems. Children learn to appreciate how nature sustains life for human beings and more importantly how they can care for and look after it for years to come.
All classes have the opportunity throughout the academic year to experience the wonders of forest school learning and discovery for themselves. The changes of seasons and weather offers the children a full canvas of natural awe and beauty in the St Peter’s woodland dell. These experiences are ever changing, with no two sessions ever being the same. These unique outdoor experiences enable the children to get to know themselves deeper as individuals, explore their likes and dislikes and helps them to build on key life skills such as collaboration and effective communication with others, resilience, compassion, creativity and innovation.
All skills practised in Forest School are transferrable to other areas of life, both inside and outside of school and help to contribute to the positive all-round development of all of the children in our school.
Our Forest School sessions, due to the endless possibilities of experiences, enable us to work collaboratively with other people in the wider community, who are also passionate about nature and wellbeing. We have strong links with the local Allotment Association, Wildlife Trusts, Museums, Library and other Eco groups, working together to further support our Forest School ethos and more importantly supporting the holistic development and wellbeing of the children in our school.