Forest School is a unique educational experience that uses the outdoors as a learning environment. It is primarily a child led experience, where each individual is given the freedom to explore the natural environment in the way that they choose. The open-ended environment inspires and engages children to use their imagination in creating their own play where almost anything can be possible within the boundaries of Forest School.
What is Forest School?
Forest School compliments the range of activities offered during the nursery day and makes full use of the extensive fields and woodland resources that are on our doorstep.
The Forest School idea originated in Scandinavia in the 1950’s with the main aim of developing children’s strong social skills and ability to work in groups whilst increasing their confidence in their own capabilities. This ethos was introduced into the UK in the early 1990’s and has been evolving at Barnkids since 2011.
Every Forest School session is dynamic, different and fulfilling. The attributes of Forest School help each child to grow physically, emotionally and socially, giving Practitioners a wealth of opportunities to capture these special moments in learning and development.
Who is it for?
From the very beginning of your child’s journey at Barnkids, they will experience plenty of fresh air and time outdoors. Our baby room, The Nest, access the fields and woodland throughout the week from the comfort of the off-road buggies as the practitioners take them on walks to engage, observe and discover the great outdoors that is on our doorstep.
The idea of Forest School is introduced in our toddler room, The Chicken Run, as they take walks across the fields, building their stamina and confidence to visit the Forest School site in the future. During the term of their third birthday, the children will join a Barn Forest School session with a familiar practitioner as part of the transition process.
Every pre-school child that attends The Barn is allocated a weekly Forest School morning session before walking back to nursery for some well-deserved lunch. All sessions are led by one of our qualified Level 3 Forest School practitioners who plan accordingly around the season, the EYFS and children’s interests and abilities. Parents are invited to join a session with advance notice and parent volunteers on a regular basis are most welcome.
What is involved?
Our on-site woodland camps are around a fifteen-minute walk away from our buildings. At each camp, there is simple log seating around a fire circle as well as other inspiring features such as digging pits, the rolling hill and minibeast observatories. A group of approximately 14 children walk to the camp with everyone helping to carry the essentials for the session (First aid kit/ snack/ tools/setting mobile phone/safety equipment etc.) Each session offers a planned activity the children can choose to participate in, or they can engage in an activity of their choice. Each site is fully risk assessed including all activities provided.
Activities may range from:
- digging pit
- leaf, fruit and twig collection
- animal and insect identification
- cooking on the campfire
- charcoal making
- observing the weather
- bird watching
- mark making using natural materials including charcoal baked on the campfire
- den building
- simple woodwork on a one to one basis
What To Wear
Being an all-weather setting, we will attend Forest School in most weather conditions with the exception of those that may pose a risk to our health and safety ie. high winds, thunder and lightning, very heavy rain or extreme heat. Therefore, it is essential that children have the right kit to allow them to fully participate and enjoy Forest School along with the rich outdoor spaces available at the setting. The following is a list of items that will be required;
- Long trousers
- Waterproof Coat
- Waterproof Trousers
- Socks (wellie socks*)
- Warm Jumper*
- Gloves and scarf*
- Hat (Winter and Summer)
- Spare Clothes
*required during colder weather.
Please can all of the items be clearly labelled with your child’s name and in a separate Forest School bag. Barnkids drawstring kit bags are available to purchase from the office.
WATCH OUT TICKS ABOUT
We ask that children and practitioners wear clothing to cover arms, legs and feet to minimize the risk of ticks which are prevalent in the area.