What is Forest School?

new-woodland-campAt BEING Outdoors, we are proud to use the Principles of Forest School to ensure that our children and young people are offered a broad and balanced experience that is learner-led and learner-centred. Learners develop through play, exploration and making their own choices of learning experiences—as we believe this is best for empowering the learner, building confidence and supporting their social, emotional and physical development.

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Forest School Principles

As a member of the Forest School Association we actively support the 6 principles of Forest School :

  • It is long term and takes place regularly (ideally every other week) for 2 hours or more and if possible over the seasons.
  • It takes place outdoors allowing children to reconnect with nature and encouraging children to develop a sustainable relationship with their natural environment
  • It promotes holistic development – it contributes to all aspects of a child’s development fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners
  • It offers opportunities for learners to be adventurous, and challenge themselves physically, emotionally and socially in a supported environment. Small achievable experiences are offered to build confidence and a sense of achievement.
  • It is run by a qualified practitioner – all our sessions are run by at least 1 Forest School practitioner from our collaborative team with high adult:child ratios of 1:8 or more.
  • It uses a learner-led approach where play and the learner’s interests are at the heart and which nurtures individuals’ interests and needs to create a community for development and learning.

BEING Outdoors Forest School Ethos Statement

Forest School is a long-term aspirational programme for learners, young people and adults of all backgrounds and abilities delivered ideally in a woodland setting or any outdoor natural space.  We facilitate experiences to promote physical, social and emotional wellbeing in a holistic way.  Sessions build on learner-led achievable experiences which nurture a sense of community where the learner can connect with others, developing personal and social skills, nurturing collaboration, team building and the ability to undertake conflict resolution.  By observing changes in seasons, being present in nature and discovering its wonders, learners also develop a connection with nature, awareness of their role within the living world and of environmental issues.forest-school-heads-senco-flyer-4-broad-balanced-curriculum-1

We believe in the power of hands-on and physical experiences to support the personal development of learners and these will carefully be scaffolded and integrated into our programmes.   Offering achievable challenges and taking positive risks such as shelter building, nature art, using tools safely, climbing, woodland crafts and campfire cooking can lead to:

  • the development of practical skills – supporting gross and fine motor skills, improved physical health and improved motor abilities
  • a better understanding of self – your own feelings and how to manage them, your strengths and challenges and improved self-discipline.
  • more acceptance of others, kindness, care, forgiveness and respect.
  • the development of a growth mindset – where learners can become more comfortable having a go at a new challenge or being brave.
  • the opportunity to problem-solve during hands-on experiences, utilising skills taught within the classroom
  • the development of more independent and self-confident learners who can guide their own learning
  • teamworkthe opportunity for all learning styles to be supported and developed
  • the opportunity for all learners to succeed and develop their knowledge and skills
  • the opportunity to enrich and further extend schools’ cross-curricular topic-based approaches

Fundamentally we are passionate about nurturing happy, independent and self-confident learners as they make their way along their personal development journeys.   Our moto is simple:

look after ourselves – look after the wood – look after each other

Further info on Forest Schools can be found at the Forest School Asssociation website.

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