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Forest School

What is Forest School

Photo of children playing in trees

Forest School 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 School is a specialised learning approach that sits within and complements the wider context of outdoor and woodland education.

At Forest School all participants are viewed as:

  • Equal, unique and valuable
  • Competent to explore & 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.
(taken from the FSA website www.forestschoolassociation.org)

Although Smartkidz does not follow the approach of forest school to the book within our clubs we do use the techniques, believe in how “participants” (children) are viewed and create experiences for the children while they are within our care. From campfires, tool use, tree climbing, knot use, rope swings and showing children the use of natural resources can be beneficial.

We push our outside space and believe it is important for children to re-connect with the outdoors. Since 2015, we have been re developing our outdoor area at Girton, including a caravan, boat, climbing nets, campfire circle and shelter. We are also looking at ways we can create interesting, unique and physically challenging outdoor spaces within the boundaries of a school and school ethos.

We discuss with the senior management of the school that we are working in ways we can support and work with them in creating a outdoor space that can be used within school and out of school.

Further information of Forest school can be found at:
www.forestschoolassociation.org