What is Forest Schools?
At Marlborough Infants School we are lucky to have two qualified Forest School practitioners within our members of staff: Mrs Pearson, and Mrs Thurkettle.
Forest Schools is an inspirational process that offers ALL learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees. Forest Schools is a specialised learning approach that sits within and compliments the wider context of outdoor and woodland education. The ethos is shared by thousands of trained practitioners across the UK and beyond. Its roots reach back to early years pioneers in outdoor learning and across the sea to Scandinavia.
At Forest School all participants are viewed as:
- equal, unique and valuable
- competent to explore and discover
- entitled to experience appropriate risk and challenge
- entitled to choose, and to initiate and drive their own learning and development
- entitled to experience regular success
- entitled to develop positive relationships with themselves and other people
- entitled to develop a strong, positive relationship with their natural world
This learner-centred approach interweaves with the ever-changing moods and marvels, potential and challenges of the natural world through the seasons to fill every Forest School session and programme with discovery and difference. Yet each programme does also share a common set of principles, aimed at ensuring that all learners experience the cumulative and lasting benefits that quality Forest School offers.
At Marlborough Infants School we are lucky to have access to the Eco Park on Hobmoor Road which has woodlands, ponds and meadowland where the children are safe to explore and discover the natural environment. On our school site we are able to do smaller scale outdoor activities involving tool work, cooking and team activities with a strong emphasis on child led learning. We feel that access to the outdoor and natural environment is an essential part of our children’s development, especially as we are in such a built up, central city location.
Forest Schools is a long-term process of regular sessions, rather than a one-off or infrequent visits; the cycle of planning, observation, adaptation and review links each session. It takes place in a woodland or natural environment to support the development of a relationship between the learner and the natural world. Forest Schools uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for being, developing and learning, aiming to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners. It offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves. Forest Schools is run by qualified Forest School practitioners who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice.