The children in the Early Years Foundation Stage and Year 5 and 6 currently experience Forest Schools. We follow two clear programmes of study, both of which are delivered with the assistance of Michelle Wisby from Westwood Montressorri School and a parent, Emma Foster who has her Level 3 Award.
In Early Years the children go to Westwood for one afternoon a week throughout the year. They dress up in their wellies and a special waterproof suit that the school provides. Come rain or shine they head off to the woods (unless high winds mean it is unsafe) and engage in a wide range of activities. The sessions are all carefully structured but the emphasis is most definitely on exploring and understanding the outside environment.
In Years 5 and 6 the children attend a six week block of sessions during the summer and/or autumn term. The theme for these afternoons is sustainable living and working together. Under the careful guidance of the staff the children learn how to make an effective shelter (including a functioning WC!), how to safely make an open-fire without matches and then cook on it.
The children absolutely love this aspect of their time in school and, most importantly, don't even realise that they are learning.
Our principal aims are to:
- ensure EYFS children have the opportunity to learn and play in a natural environment.
- encourage EYFS children to design and modify their own outdoor creative curriculum.
- ensure the children enjoy a rich and rounded curriculum that helps develop their creativity and independence.
- encourage the children to independently manage their own risk assessments.
- develop team building and collaboration skills.
- develop problem solving skills in a practical situation.
- encourage a degree of self-confidence (always mindful of safety) in the use of outdoor tools.
- enable children to work to a common goal and focus on a specific role within a group to achieve that goal.