Forest School at St Bartholomew's
What is Forest School?
Forest School became popular in Denmark and Sweden in the 1950s. In Scandinavian countries, pupils are free to play and take part in a range of participant-led, outdoor activities. As well as being a lot of fun, Forest School is believed to increase resilience, confidence and wellbeing in children.
In the UK, ‘Forest School’ is a term which refers to sessions, that take place outside, usually in a wooded environment. Activities can include arts and crafts, building shelters, playing games, exploring nature, making fire, developing communication skills, teamwork challenges, using tools and much more! Over recent years, Forest School has become increasingly popular in UK schools. The organization that oversees Forest School in the UK is the Forest School Association (FSA). For more information about Forest School, visit the Forest School Association https://www.forestschoolassociation.org/
At St Bartholomew’s, we have embraced the Forest School ethos. We are fortunate to have an extensive school site, which includes several trees and wooded areas, so pupils can really explore and get close to nature. We are currently developing our Forest School site, including the fire pit area. Presently, we have one member of staff qualified to lead Forest School at St Bartholomew’s. Mr Evans-Bolger qualified as a Forest School Leader in 2019. In the future, Mr Evans-Bolger hopes to inspire and support other members of staff to become Forest School Leaders too! Forest School has so many benefits for young people (mentioned below), which is why we have made it a priority by including it on our School Improvement Plan.
Regular sessions, fostering creativity and collaboration with others.
Why do we need Forest School?
Taking part in Forest School enables pupils to develop certain skills, knowledge and attitudes, for example:
- Forest School provides pupils with learner-led, positive experiences that promote initiative and communication skills.
- The sessions prioritise wellbeing and the social, emotional and physical needs of participants, including increased self-esteem and confidence.
- It promotes holistic growth through regular contact with nature and the outdoors.
- Forest School sessions prioritise community collaboration and embrace challenge.
- The sessions build a positive relationship with nature and the natural world
What do the children say about Forest School?
“I like learning about nature and how to look after it.”
“Even if it’s raining, we still have lots of fun!”
“I like working with others and solving problems.”
“It’s a bit like playing… but better!”
Pupils from Foundation Stage and Year 1
This academic year (2020-2021), Forest School has been timetabled for Foundation Stage and Year 1.
As you can see on the photographs, pupils wear a full PE kit and outdoor shoes to Forest School sessions. Hats, coats and gloves are also necessary in inclement weather. As the saying goes “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing!’
Thank you FOSBA!
We have installed some outdoor washbasins, which will enable us to maintain a high level of hygiene and also to wash our muddy paws after a session of Forest School! Thank you to FOSBA for their generosity and making this possible!