Tag: Curriculum for Excellence


Forest School Club for Schools starting in February

A 6 week Forest School Club for Schools will be starting the week beginning 18th of February.  Spaces are limited so get in contact soon to avoid disappointment.  To book a place contact Emily on childrenswood@hotmail.com  More information below!Image

Forest School at the Children’s Wood, North Kelvin Meadow

What is on offer?

A six week programme of Forest School (FS) sessions, involving one morning or afternoon visit to the Children’s Wood each week. The sessions offer an outdoor approach to delivering Curriculum for Excellence, and will be tailored to suit the learning and development needs of each group. All pupils in nursery, primary, secondary or special education can be catered for, but each session can only be attended by a maximum of 15 children

A typical session will include:

  • Welcome/introductions & safety awareness, reinforced through a game
  • Free play (e.g. mud play/painting, climbing ropes, exploring)
  • An activity directed by the leader (e.g. den building, treasure hunt, craft)
  • A woodland workout (exercises to keep warm if necessary!)
  • Reflection time

The role of the teacher:

  • To liaise with the FS leader regarding the learning and development needs of the group
  • To advise children and parents of the appropriate clothing and footwear required
  • To provide adequate supervision, with an appropriate adult:child ratio for each session
  • To maintain overall responsibility for the group throughout each session
  • To ensure that agreed rules and safe practices are followed by the children

The role of the Forest School leader:

  • To liaise with the teacher regarding the learning and development needs of the group
  • To advise the teacher of the appropriate clothing and footwear required
  • To provide appropriate learning resources and facilitate outdoor learning experiences
  • To protect the health and safety of the group by risk assessing the site and activities
  • To advise the teacher of health and safety/emergency procedures to be followed
  • To deal with any emergency that may arise, including administering First Aid if required

Who is the Forest School leader?

The sessions will be led by Gail Cisman (a Forest School Practitioner qualified at Level 3). Gail also has a current Outdoor First Aid certificate, PVG Scheme membership (Disclosure Scotland), and appropriate insurance. Moreover, Gail is a fully qualified and registered Primary Teacher with around 10 years of experience as a Countryside Ranger.

What is Forest School?

Forest School has been described as “an inspirational process that offers children, young people and adults, regular opportunities to achieve, and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands on learning experiences in a local woodland environment.” (Forest Education Initiative, 2010) 

The key features of a Forest School are:

  • a safe woodland setting;
  • a high level of adult supervision;
  • an outdoor approach to delivering the curriculum (Curriculum for Excellence);
  • opportunities for exploring freely and being creative;
  • regular visits to the woodland setting.

These features ensure that a secure, stimulating learning environment is provided, in which children can follow their own interests and develop their natural curiosity about the world around them.  Forest School offers a flexible approach to learning, and the activities enjoyed may include transient art, den building, wildlife tracking, balancing and climbing, working with tools, cooking on a fire, storytelling and singing.

Where did Forest School come from?

Forest Schools were developed in Scandinavia in the 1950s as a way of teaching children about the natural world, and by the 1980s they were an integral part of the Danish early years programme.  The benefits of Forest School were witnessed by a group of British nursery nursing students who visited Denmark in 1995, and they brought the idea back to England.  Since then, Forest Schools have spread throughout England, Wales and Scotland.

What are the benefits of Forest School?

Research has shown that Forest School can have numerous benefits, such as:

  • increased health and well-being;
  • improved risk management skills;
  • greater independence and confidence;
  • increased ability to work as part of a team;
  • improved creativity and problem-solving skills;
  • greater enjoyment of, and connection with, the natural world.

(O’Brien & Murray, 2006)

References

Forest Education Initiative (2010).  What is an FEI Forest School?

http://www.foresteducation.org/woodland_learning/forest_schools/

O’Brien, E. & Murray, R. (2006).  A marvellous opportunity for children to learn: a

participatory evaluation of Forest School in England and Wales.  Surrey: Forest Research

You can contact Gail by email at handsonoutdoorlearning@gmail.com if you would like any further information.