Developed in Scandinavia in the 1950's, the forest school ethos seeks to encourage, motivate, engage and inspire children through positive outdoor experiences.
Research in Sweden concluded that children in a forest school setting were more balanced with greater social capability, had better concentration and coordination skills and their attendance at school was improved.
Forest school is an inspirational process that offers regular opportunities for the participants to appreciate and enjoy their local woodland.
The Ethos of Silverdale’s forest school is based on a fundamental respect for children and young people and for their capacity to instigate, test and maintain curiosity in the world around them.
It believes in children’s rights to play; the right to access the outdoors (and in particular a woodland environment); the right to assess risk and the vibrant reality of the natural world; and the right to experience a healthy range of emotions, through all the challenges of social interaction, to build a resilience that will enable continued and creative engagement with their peers and potential.
Forest school is based more on the process of learning than it is on the content – more on the “how” than the “what”. Children are given encouragement to direct their own learning and the pace of that learning through stimulating experiences in the outdoors.
A woodland environment is central in supporting this dynamic approach. Children go into the outdoor environment in all weathers (except high winds) play, learn boundaries of behaviour, establish and grow in confidence and become self-motivated.
Children need time to thoroughly explore their thoughts, feelings and relationships. This time and reflective practice develops their understanding of the world, the environment and everything within it.
Forest school sessions are led by a forest school leader; however parents need to be aware that certain activities carry greater risks than in the classroom.
Extreme care has been undertaken to ensure these risks are minimalised. Children are taught how to keep themselves safe and are encouraged to be part of the dynamic risk assessment process. There is a high ratio of adults to children and a qualified First-Aider is present at each session.
Children will need to bring to school on their forest school day, warm clothes which they can get dirty, a waterproof jacket, long waterproof trousers and wellington boots.
Don’t forget hats and gloves on cold days too!
In summer months children still must wear long sleeved tops and trousers and also a sun hat!