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St Robert Southwell

Catholic Primary School

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Forest School

Forest Schools in the Autumn Term 2019

Forest School is delivered on a Wednesday in the school grounds and is offered to Year 3,5 and 1. Each class gets 3 sessions.

In Autumn Term Year 3 have 3 sessions.

In Spring Term Year 5 have 3 sessions.(Dates to be confirmed)

In Summer Term Year 1 have 3 sessions. (Dates to be confirmed)

Children are split into 2 groups for these sessions.

 When your child is scheduled to take part in Forest School we ask that they bring in clothes and footwear which is suitable for the weather. Waterproof trousers and wellies are recommended in the winter as the site becomes very muddy.

Forest school activities are child led but we do offer a range of springboard activities which are often inspired by the topics of each class.

 

 Frequently Asked Questions

 

How and what do the children learn through forest school?

Forest school is a child led kinaesthetic learning experience. The Forest School Team at each session set up a range of activities which are linked to either the topic or a skill area that the class teacher has identified as needing work (such as negotiation, listening skills fine motor skills or management of energy levels) At the beginning of the session the activities are outlined and each child explores these activities throughout the session. The child determines the rate, direction, depth and breadth of their learning. Some activities will lead to unset tasks.

The children are encouraged to revisit both skills and projects they have completed in previous weeks to see how time and the environment have had an effect on them and also to ensure that their learning is secure.

he ethos of Forest School allows each session to support individual children’s needs which in turn gives them a sense of well-being and belonging which has led to children being more confident in having a go in class. The element of risk taking afforded by Forest School has meant that children are making healthier behaviour choices in the playground.

Since Forest School sessions have been delivered the following outcomes have been noted:

·Increase in attendance

·New skills being developed

·Increase in self confidence of pupils

·A interest and willingness in being outdoors engaging in physical activity

     ·Greater capacity for team work within the class room

 

How else does Forest school help my child?

The activities at forest school are design to improve the children’s resilience and self-confidence. The children are expected to have a go at everything and the adults will support them but not complete the task for them. We have seen a marked improvement in children’s ability to attempt an activity and articulate the kind of help they need rather than just saying “I can’t do this”. We have a limited number of tools and this means that the children need to use good communication and negotiation skills, we have also noticed an improvement in this area since we have been running Forest School. Team work skills are also developed as a number of the activities and tools require team work.

 The children have learnt to listen carefully to instructions and now follow a wide range of complicated yet necessary protocols. They have developed an awareness of others needs and risk assessment skills.

 The tool work we do helps with fine and gross motor skills which in turn supports handwriting. . Forest school has helped children work, learn and play with a wider range of children and shows the class teacher how they work in a different environment which can then be used to inspire and develop learning in the classroom.

 

Who staffs Forest School and how do they ensure our children are safe whilst taking part in challenging activities such as Fire Lighting? 

We employ David Tombling who is a level 3 qualified Forest School leader, and a qualified Primary School Teacher with 20+ years’ experience to lead and plan the sessions. He is usually accompanied by the class Teaching Assistant and a Teaching Assistant who is a trained Forest School Assistant. We are always looking for volunteers to help. Contact the school if you can help.

Before we undertake any new activity which requires new skills we have a tool talk or activity protocol which includes a demonstration of how and why we use the tool/activity and what we need to do to be safe. Every time we then use that tool or revisit that activity we recap the protocol. 

When we use tools such as bow saws or when we light fires this is done under close supervision to ensure the children’s safety.

 

What can I do to support Forest School?

  • Wood:  If you are having any tree work done we always need wood for activities
  • Tools: we are always looking for garden tools to help with our activities
  • Equipment: We are looking to extend our activities by using ropes and Tarps if you have any camping or outdoors equipment you wish to donate.
  • Time: we are always happy to train up new volunteers, more volunteers means a wider range of opportunities can be offered. 

How does Forest School Support the Curriculum?

The Forest School ethos is to be individually child focussed which means each session is planned after the last to ensure the interests and discoveries of each session and each child can be supported in the next session.

Alongside the sessions are planned to increase the children’s understanding of the Forest Rules and their core skills and to compliment the focus of the topic each class is undertaking for that term.

 

Core skills gained by children have included :

  • Understanding fire safety
  • Fire lighting
  • Tool Protocols and use including Use of secateurs and Bow saws (only some classes)
  • Stick use and protocol
  • Tree climbing skills (Only some children)
  • Safety in the wood and looking after my team
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