Forest School & Bushcraft
Our qualified Forest School leaders enable your child to learn through nature with adult and child led activity session plans meeting the EYFS. The opportunities to learn outside are endless and this is the ethos of our Outdoor Preschool. We will provide suitable outdoor clothing and encourage the children to learn with us in the wild! We have several Bushcraft practitioners in the ADO senior team who extend the creative opportunities for complementary learning with Forest School.
Using natural materials, the children will learn how to make fires, natural string, weaving, mud art, climbing trees all supporting their social and emotional development.
A Little More Information on Forest School
Forest School is a method of facilitating learning outdoors. The Forest School pedagogy is one of child centred and child initiated play based activity in the outdoors (Knight, 2009). There are various key elements that are defined by various leaders in the field within the UK settings including Sarah Knight that underline the essence of a Forest School program and sessions as follows;
♦ The setting is not the normal one
♦ The Forest School site is made as safe as reasonably possible in order to facilitate children’s risk taking under supervision
♦ Forest School happens over time
- There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing
- Trust is central
- The learning is play-based and, as far as possible, child-initiated and child-led
- The blocks and the sessions have beginnings and ends.
- The staff are trained
The History of Forest School
Bridgewater college developed Forest school in the 1990’s following an inspiring visit to Denmark in 1994. During their analysis trip, the college observed groups of children playing outside in the woods. This was their first insight to the experiential learning of the nature kindergarten equivalent in practice within Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Upon return to the UK, the college developed a system for early years and shortly after implementation of the Forest School practice, there were reported benefits to children’s self-esteem, confidence and well-being. This was the start of a new era in outdoor play and learning and FS was reported to become a social movement.
Forest School in the Early Years
Forest School is of value to students of any age; however within the Early Years environment practitioners are given the privilege of teaching our very youngest children the importance of nature. The ethos of Forest School can fit comfortably within the Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Curriculum, as children learn to be confident and independent and to have their ideas valued and appreciated. One aspect of the Forest School ethos that children within the Early Years particularly enjoy is the idea of risk. Forest School practitioners will assess all risks either before a session or as they arise to make sure that they are at an appropriate level, this does not however mean that the risk will be taken away. Forest School aims to aid children in learning to assess their own limits in regards to risk and can help to battle the risk averse society that some believe children are growing up within, a topic that Richard Louv discusses in his book ‘Last Child in the Woods’. Giving young children the opportunity to experience nature allows them to develop empathy and compassion with the natural world, a trait that will follow them throughout their lives. Young children are given the time to investigate and ask questions about personal interests, developing cognitive skills and an enquiring mind. Children are able to experience the seasons through their senses in a tactile and malleable way, while allowing them fresh air and physical exercise throughout the session. In essence as quoted by Erin. K Kenny, “Children cannot bounce off the walls if we take away the walls.”
Forest School in ADO Mini-Explorers Outdoor Preschool
Mini-Explorers Outdoor Preschool gives children the opportunity to experience Forest School sessions in the local woodland as well as an overall Forest School ethos within the Explorers Garden. The children will also experience Animal Encounters throughout their time at ADO Mini-Explorers, supporting the Forest School ethos.
♦ Children will be enthused by close up encounters of ADO animals
♦ Children can build relationships with the ADO animals
♦ Children can look up close at larger varieties of minibeasts
♦ Children can learn how to care for animals and nature
All areas of the EYFS are supported within this Forest School Ethos and the ADO animals will enable the children to learn in an exciting and tactile way.