At Bickershaw, we recognise the value of outdoor learning opportunities. We believe that by taking learning outside children's self-esteem, well-being, resilience and problem solving skills are developed. These skills are then reflected in children's wider experiences and in the classroom.
We have introduced weekly Forest School sessions with Mrs Davies who holds a Level 3 Forest School Practitioner Award. Originally a Scandinavian concept, Forest Schools has developed over the past 10 years in the UK and follows the following 6 principles:
Principle 1: Forest School is a long-term process of frequent and regular sessions in a woodland or natural environment, rather than a one-off visit. Planning, adaptation, observations and reviewing are integral elements of Forest School.
Principle 2: Forest School takes place in a woodland or natural wooded environment to support the development of a relationship between the learner and the natural world.
Principle 3: Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners.
Principle 4: Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.
Principle 5. Forest School is run by qualified Forest School practitioners who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice.
Principle 6. Forest School uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for development and learning.
Throughout Forest School sessions, children are encouraged to build their teamwork and resilience skills. They are given time, through both guided activities and self-led play, to engage closely with nature and revel in the wonders of the natural environment.
We are fortunate to have a large area in which children discover a wealth of flora and fauna including baby frogs and large moth caterpillars. They are respectful of elements of the location which are important for nature such as fungi, understanding how to manage risk while understanding the value of all living things.
We find that during these sessions children learn to respect their environment, often leaving the area in a better way than which they arrived. They are conscious of litter which may have blown in from outside and are relentless in their endeavour to remove unwanted items in a safe and considerate way.
Children remember the things they have been taught in guided sessions and then work with others to recreate this in free play. We see their collaboration and communication skills develop as they work harmoniously to ensure that all children in the group flourish.
Below you can see some of the activities we have been doing in Forest Schools.