What Is Forest School?
Forest School is an ethos and method of increasing confidence and self esteem through facilitating child led hands on experiences in a local woodland environment or outside environment. These sessions are regular opportunities for children to explore the outdoors.
The sessions are paved by the children’s interests and each session is reflected upon to help navigate future sessions. There may be activities running during the session for children to join in with or they may choose to follow their interests in playing on a rope swing, climbing a tree or investigating the site.
"I have just loved everything, absolutely everything here
Forest School practice puts the learner at the heart of their learning experience. The children will have the opportunity to learn tool use, fire lighting and den building, among other skills.
Why bring Forest School to Gretton?
Jessica Heslop (Jessica Rain - left of photo) is a Level 3 qualified Forest School leader and set up the forest school and Outdoor Learning meadow in September 2017, alongside her is Sonia Cox (Sonia Sunshine - right of photo) who has completed her Level 2 Forest School assistant qualification.
They both are very passionate about reconnecting children with nature and facilitating child led learning.
Within Forest School children have the freedom to guide their own learning whilst developing skills which are transferable in the classroom. Many of our students can feel anxious while offsite and will avoid situations where they feel at risk or challenged, but risk taking is proven to increase confidence. It’s therefore even more important for our students to have the opportunity to experience a positive and rich time in a natural, outside space.
Children are becoming more disconnected from nature and the world around them and we feel it is crucial to encourage them to reconnect and enjoy time outdoors.
Forest School Principles
FS 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.
FS takes place in a woodland or natural environment to support the development of a relationship between the learner and the natural world.
FS uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for being, development and learning.
FS aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners.
FS offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.
Where is Gretton Forest School?
There is an area to the side of the school field which has been land-scaped and created for forest school.
It has a camp fire area, trees, slopes, and a pond. Next to the forest school site is a wild flower meadow rich in insects and wildlife, this will predominantly be used for more structured Outdoor Learning lessons.
"Can we do Forest School every day?"
What does my child need for Forest school?
We work on the principle that “there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.”
We understand that your child may have sensory issues around changing their clothing and this may be a challenge. Although it is important the children are dressed as well as possible for Forest School to ensure they are comfortable, but more importantly, safe.
Vest or T-shirt, long sleeved top, fleece or thick jumper, thick socks or 2 pairs of thin ones, waterproof Jacket, waterproof over trousers, wellington boots or walking boots, gloves and a hat.
Long sleeved T-shirt, light cotton trousers (arms and legs to be covered in the woodland) socks, sturdy footwear preferably walking boots but wellies if not, sun hat.
Waterproof Jacket, waterproof over trousers.
If we feel a child’s clothing is putting their safety at risk they may be restricted from some activities or will not be able to join the session.