Every Wednesday Cygnets attend our forest school area, we call this Welly Wednesday.
Forest school helps children develop many skills that are hard to teach in the classroom. ‘It’s very physical so it encourages children to be active, with lots of activities to develop both fine and gross motor skills,’
Children learn to assess, appreciate and take risks, making sensible, informed decisions about how to tackle the activities and experiences they encounter. ‘They’re learning to be self-sufficient and take care of themselves, which boosts their confidence and self-esteem,’ ‘Through trial and error they learn to deal with failure and develop the resilience to keep trying: a vital skill in the classroom as well as outside.’
Forest school ties in with many areas of the National Curriculum. For example, being outdoors year-round helps children learn about weather and the seasons, which are part of the programme of study in geography, studying mini beasts and plant life relates to the science curriculum, and working on tasks like den building and woodwork links with design and technology.
Children also benefit from the simple act of being outdoors. Research has shown that it improves mental and spiritual health, communication skills and social relationships, among other things. ‘Connecting with nature helps children feel part of the world,’ ‘Just being outside in nature is calming, and you can see that in how children behave.’
Because forest school learning is child-directed, the scope of the activities that can take place is enormous. Typical activities include:
- Sensory walks
- Shelter building
- Mini beast hunts
- Tree climbing
- Campfire cooking
- Nature art
- Games like Hide and Seek
- Fire building and lighting
- Puddle and mud jumping