One of the most powerful learning experiences we provide here at Kemsing Primary School is our Forest School programme.
Forest School is an innovative educational approach to outdoor learning, which inspires the children to submerse themselves in high quality, outdoor activities that have a lasting impact on the way they approach learning. By participating in the Forest School, each pupil has an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of both the outdoor environment and what it really means to collaborate. Since our Forest School has been established, we have seen a significant difference in our children’s confidence, love for the world around them and their enthusiasm for exploring the unknown. Risk taking, problem solving and team building are all part of the philosophy that supports the Forest School initiative and we feel that our creative curriculum wouldn’t be complete without it.
- Intrinsic motivation
- Good social communication skills
- A positive mental attitude, self-esteem and confidence
What do the children do at Forest Schools?
Usually the children attending Forest Schools will take part in a series of 6 sessions, in a group of 15 children, accompanied by a staff member they are familiar with, over a half term. This would be in the form of a half day session once a week.
With classes of 30 it often works best if half the class attend in the morning and then the other half attend in the afternoon.
The program is tailored towards each group taking into consideration factors such as;
- The age of the children
- The maturity of the group
- Any prior experience
- The knowledge of the group about the outdoor environment
Forest school for younger children
For children in the Early Years and Key stage 1 many of the activities are about exploring the natural environment and using the natural resources available in the woodland at the time of year.
These activities include;
- Finding and identifying leaves
- Making pictures of objects or people
- Clay faces – bringing the woods alive
- Making small animal dens
- Making fairy homes or villages
- Making forest crowns/hats.
Where possible these activities will be wrapped up in a themed program of study that complements the program of study that the children are following in their classroom setting.
Forest Schools in the early years covers all of the Characteristics of Effective Learning and can include all of the prime and specific areas. At Forest School we practise our listening and speaking skills. We develop our understanding of human faces and the use of different materials to make a picture. We use lots of physical skills, both fine motor skills and gross motor skills e.g. walking, climbing, using sticks, tiring rope, and balancing. We develop our collaboration skills and we persevere to find ways to solve problems. We show curiosity about the world and use our senses to explore the woods. Being outdoors always inspires us and enables us to learn on a big scale in the natural world
Forest school for older children
As the children grow in confidence in themselves, their own abilities and the environment they are in the focus of the activity changes to stretch their skills, teach new ones and further raise their self confidence.
In the later years the children are introduced to different methods of fire lighting such as ‘fire by friction’ and ‘Flint and Steel’. They are taught how to use a Kelly Kettle to boil water for them to make hot chocolate and toast marsh mellows. Tools are also introduced starting with palm drills and as confidence grows moving on to saws, calving knives and eventually axes.
Some of the projects that the children work on include;
- Name badges
- Key ring dongles
- Tent pegs
- Wooden spoons...
Through these activities the children learn a new set of skills and also learn that they can be successful in different ways. This raises their self esteem, self confidence, overall well being and knowledge of the world around them.
Click below to find out what has been happening at Forest School...