"Children must be taught how to think, not what to think" - Margaret Mead
Forest School is all about getting children outdoors. It is child-led, which means children are given the freedom and responsibility to choose how they want to learn.
Adults support children’s learning by:
- Observing - what are children exploring? How are they exploring? What are they learning?
- Interacting - in the right moment, to support, reflect and extend
- Reflecting - how can we take this further? What do the children need? What sparks their interests?
- Planning - experiences which explore children’s interests and support their development based on observations.
- Nurturing positive relationships built on mutual respect.
The child is at the heart of everything in Forest School and at Canklow Woods Primary, we believe the ethos of Forest Schools aligns with our own, as such, we aim to deliver sessions as authentically as possible.
Research has shown that regular, long-term access to Forest School builds independence and self-esteem in young children. Being outdoors has been proven to have a positive impact on physical and mental health and "playing out" helps children form friendships, develop communication skills, resolve conflict and build confidence. This has become increasingly important in recent years, particularly after the pandemic.
Building a connection to the natural world is vital for children to understand their impact on the environment. At Canklow Woods, we are very fortunate to have access to a large outdoor area, which the children will be involved in managing, improving and conserving as part of Forest School sessions. Through Forest School, we aim to foster a love and respect for the natural world, inspiring children to value conservation, biodiversity and sustainability.
Currently, FS2, Y1 and Y3 have regular access to Forest School.
FS2 - Thursday AM
Y1 - class teacher to notify parents
Y3 - Wednesday PM
The Forest School mantra is "there is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing." Different weather conditions offer different learning experiences. Forest School goes ahead in most weather so please ensure your child is dressed appropriately. We recommend a minimum of:
- arms and legs covered
- sturdy footwear or wellies
- waterproof coat
- hats, scarves and gloves in colder weather
Waterproof trousers are advised to protect clothing but the Forest School leader will put up a group shelter in wet weather.
Keeping children safe is of utmost importance and even the weather has been risk assessed! The weather forecast will be checked and a site assessment will be carried out before each session. Forest School will not go ahead if the weather poses a risk, such as high winds, extreme temperatures and lightening storms.
“The more risks you allow children to take, the better they learn to take care of themselves” - Roald Dahl
The nature of Forest Schools means children experience activities with a higher level of risk. This helps children identify and manage risk, helping them to understand how to keep themselves safe, understand their limits and develop accountability. Research has shown that experiencing and learning to manage risk has enormous benefits for children’s development. An extensive risk-benefit analysis has been carried out and all further activities are risk assessed before they go ahead to help keep your child safe. You can find the basic risk-benefit analysis below.