Thursday, 13 December 2018

Forest calls children to nature

FOREST Schools have a unique philosophy which originated in Scandinavia in the Fifties and focused on using the natural world

FOREST Schools have a unique philosophy which originated in Scandinavia in the Fifties and focused on using the natural world to help children to build independence and self-esteem.

The concept was brought to Bridgwater College, Somerset in 1995 and since then has spread widely throughout the UK.

At Forest School practitioners use learning and teaching strategies that develop confidence and self-esteem, allowing children the combination of freedom and responsibility, which can particularly benefit those children who struggle in a conventional nursery or classroom environment.

The experience for the child is fun, and their learning is observed and recorded as it is in nursery or school. The children can roll in leaves, splash in puddles and experience types of activities that can be considered dangerous, such as whittling wood, making and cooking on fires and climbing trees.

However, they are closely supervised by a qualified Forest School leader and staff, usually in higher adult to child ratios. The principles of Forest School include:

* Regular sessions, rather than one-off or infrequent visits

* Sessions that take place in a woodland or natural environment to support the development of a relationship between the learner and the natural world

* Promotes the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners

* Offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and themselves

* Is run by qualified Forest School practitioners who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice.

More and more schools and nurseries are embracing Forest School as it has so much to offer the children and can really help staff to develop and inspire all children. Staff are really excited to be embracing the programme within their nurseries and are currently setting up a large Forest School site at their newest nursery in Henley.

Whilst training a new Forest School leader to run this site, they have realised how much they can do at many of their nurseries, not just those with a very large outdoor area.

There will be free taster sessions for all local families on August 14 and 19 at the Old Station Nursery on Fair Mile, Henley.

Email henley@theold for more details.

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