At Seamer and Irton CP School, our Forest school is closely aligned with the origins of natural learning, as promoted by The ‘National Association for Environmental Education’ (2017). Wherever possible, we use natural resources found in our environment to approach objectives via direct, hands-on experiences and practical activities.
Our forest school provides activities that support and utilise cross-curricular teaching through the exploration of our outdoor environment. We recognise that nature is one of our greatest teachers; one that encourages child-led learning, prompted by natural visual and sensory experiences.
Our Forest School aims to foster a love of nature and an appreciation of our environment. Through forest school, we aim to equip pupils with the skills and knowledge they need to make the world a better place through developing their understanding of the importance of looking after our planet and the steps they can take to protect it. Forest school aims to maximise learning for all pupils, regardless of their ability or learning needs.
Forest school activities aim to develop all individuals as a whole:
- Social and Emotional skills.
- Language and communication skills.
- Team work and co-operation skills.
- Ability to assess and take risks.
- Fine and gross motor skills.
- A love and appreciation of the great outdoors.
Forest school leaders introduce new skills and take learners into a variety of different surroundings; however, each child brings their own ideas and observations, these are embraced and encouraged. By its very nature, forest school learning is organic and pupils’ ideas can change the direction of lessons at any time - this is the beauty of forest school programmes.
Forest School also promotes appropriate risk taking and this has an impact on learning and development. Safety awareness is a vital life skill which becomes a part of our everyday life. It is through investigation, experimenting, inventing and creating that we come across and manage risks for ourselves. We believe children need the opportunity to manage risks appropriately, in order to make everyday judgements in a variety of situations.
Links to the curriculum
• English – Pupils learn new vocabulary through identifying flora and fauna; use nature to inspire thinking and creative writing; develop language through exploration and through our senses; and develop communication through team work and group tasks.
• Mathematics - Pupils learn to measure rain fall and soil depth for planting; find the age of trees; count and produce data for wildlife; explore shape and space in our environment; and use natural resources to practise and develop counting outside of the classroom.
• Science - Pupils learn how to Plant and keep our gardens healthy; how to identify trees, plants, pond and woodland mini-beasts; how to identify ecosystems, food chains and life-cycles. Pupils also learn about the importance of wildlife and natural vegetation and how these are affected by climate and environmental changes. Pupils particularly enjoy leaning about fire, the different methods of creating fire and the associated safety.
• ICT- Pupils take pictures and use ICT to identify flora and fauna. ICT also offers pupils opportunities to record project work and conduct their own research.
• Art and Design - Pupils explore natural art and use this as inspiration for their own work whether working with clay, mud, weaving natural materials, making dens/hideouts and mini shelters or fire lays. All pupils are taught about how to safely use a range of tools and have the opportunity to complete a range of woodland crafts including whittling, making kites and building rafts.
• Music - Pupils develop an appreciation of the sounds of nature and use nature to create sound by blowing grass, whittling a whistle and recreating animal and natural sounds.
• Geography – Pupils use maps of our school and its gardens to identify human and physical features. Pupils are also learn about different woodlands as well as our local and wider environment, weather patterns and seasonal changes.
• History/RE – Pupils explore a range of historical, religious and cultural traditions and how they are linked to nature, including: their own family trees, the Stone Age, Ancient Egypt, Diwali, Christmas, Easter and the history of local woodlands and nature.
• Physical education – Almost all of our Forest School activities focus on developing team building skills and some level of physical education, whether walking, tree climbing, lifting or carrying logs or completing obstacle courses.
Forest School Information