A place where children lead the learning
Many of the outcomes for learning can easily be mapped across to a curriculum, and forest school sits well with the EYFS. The approach of small achievable tasks and a focus on the process rather than the end product helps develop the child’s personal, social and emotional development.
Tasks can be based around creative arts and design, physical development or understanding the world. Questioning, commentary, sustained shared thinking and the use of active learning can incorporate aspects such as mathematics, literacy and communication and language.
Forest school particularly encourages children to explore the characteristics of effective learning. The ethos of forest school is that it is child-led, so if a child would rather be doing something else than a particular small, achievable task that is fine, we can facilitate what they would like to do and provide inspiration and support.
Forest school also builds on children's learning indoors. For example, children could be drawn into a miniature world story in forest school and use their imagination to build a miniature town or city or factory, they could then make up stories based on their miniature world. They could make story sticks in forest school and then use them to support their work in the nursery.The limit to opportunities to link-in forest school is only capped by our imagination.
At the end of each session we have a camp fire and staff review the children's learning and consolidate what they have learned and share with others. Also, at the start of a session we will review what has been covered previously so children can get a good sense of their progress, build on their confidence and have a good starting point for each session.
Explorations may include
Fairy/teddy bear shelters: scaled down versions of normal shelters.
Miniature world: Similar to above with different theme.
Animal shelters: learners ‘become’ an animal a make suitable shelter/den/nest.
Journey stick: learners encouraged to collect objects of meaning during the session that are then attached to the journey stick, which can be later used as a reviewing tool.
Bugs on bushes: place a piece of plastic under a bush/tree. Gently shake and catch creatures that fall out.
‘1,2,3 where are you!?’ – all learners find place to hide whilst one member of group (the finder) waits with eyes shut.
Leaf snap: children pick set number of different leaves and play ‘snap’ with other group members.
Mini beast hunt
Stepping stones: Natural sensory ‘stones’/piles made and learners, blindfolded, try identify objects using their bare feet.
Being Physical ...climbing,balancing ...developing muscles and having fun !
Learning how to use tools....developing fine motor skills
Transporting and moving !