Forest School at Eleanor Smith School
Forest school is an outdoor, nature-based learning experience for children that focuses on the holistic development of the child. Activities are provided, but rather than being adult-led, each child chooses and tailors the activity to suit them, while we observe their preferences and development. You flow with the energy of the day and follow what children want to do.
Forest School is an inspirational approach to outdoor learning and development. It is run over a long period of time in a woodland environment or space with trees. The children are given access to a wide range of engaging opportunities, which helps develop their confidence and self-esteem. They often lose themselves in their activities and can see that they are able to achieve in things they never thought possible. Forest school is child-centred where observing rather than direction, is key, and children learn to care for the natural environment through their activities.
Forest school helps children develop many skills that are hard to teach in the classroom. It’s very physical so it encourages children to be active, with lots of activities to develop both fine and gross motor skills. Children learn to assess, appreciate and take risks, making sensible, informed decisions about how to tackle the activities and experiences they have. They’re learning to be self-sufficient and take care of themselves, which boosts their confidence and self-esteem. Through trial and error they learn to deal with failure and develop the resilience to keep trying: a vital skill in the classroom as well as outside.
This term, we have had amazing fun build tents, enjoying using mud to shape and build, built rafts to float in the school pond and collecting our final crops of the year. Our children have had such an fantastic time with Ms Leckenby