Village of Haddenham

Developing the Forest School

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Haddenham St Mary's School is continuing to develop its 'Forest School' provision.

The school staff have been busy over the summer building a whole new Forest School area, ready for an enhanced forest school provision starting this year. The children at Haddenham St Mary's not only have a whole new area to use, in addition to the area that the Little Forest Friends Pre School use, but they are also gaining extra Forest School time.

More staff are being trained to hold the accredited qualification to lead Forest School and are also about to become an ambassador school training other schools on the use of Forest Schools within their curriculum. Pictured with the pupils are Mrs Emily Roads (Forest School Lead) and Mrs Jay Aziz (Teaching Assistant).

Originally a Scandinavian idea, forest schools operate on the principle that children of all ages can benefit greatly from the hands-on learning opportunities inherently present in a woodland environment. In an age when many children have few opportunities to be outdoors, it offers them a way to learn and experience a broad curriculum in a wood-land setting, with regular visits throughout the year.

The importance of Outdoor learning...

Daily access to the outdoors when in an Early Years setting is a statutory requirement for all children. But it is not just essential for children in the Early Years it is essential for all children and adults.

Outdoor learning/play is a critical component of good provision and must be encouraged. It is essential for the healthy development of all young children.

Learning outside offers opportunities to build on and extend, skills taught and acquired inside. It also offers the chance to take on new challenges and risks and to investigate in a different way. The physical freedom of learning outside through climbing, exploring, running, jumping and balancing supports development of the young child's body towards the finer movements that will be required for such skills as writing. Experiencing the weather, searching for insects, climbing a tree or working on a large scale is learning

Forest School is an inspirational process that involves:

  • child initiated learning;
  • being outdoors;
  • integration with the National Curriculum;
  • time for children to explore, learn and investigate;
  • fun, imagination and creativity;
  • using only the natural resources around us

Forest School helps to develop:

  • confidence and self esteem;
  • communication and social skills;
  • physical skills;
  • greater understanding and
  • awareness of the natural
  • environment;
  • natural motivation and a positive attitude to learning;
  • creativity and imagination;
  • team skills;
  • the ability to recognise and manage risk; and
  • healthier lifestyles