Forest school is a unique learning experience in the outdoors, in all weathers and with the use of natural materials as resources. Forest School is the name of a specific ethos – a way of working with children in an outdoor natural space. Qualified practitioners carefully facilitate programmes which are uniquely tailored to the needs of the individuals within the group and have the fundamental aim of building participants' self-esteem, confidence, independence and creativity. The name does not refer to an actual place; it refers to the philosophy.
Forest School philosophy encourages child initiated learning opportunities, focusing on the process of interest not on what results are achieved. Studies have proven that a holistic approach enables children to increase self-esteem, learn through senses; movement, social interaction, imagination and further develop language and communication skills.
The embedding of Forest School principles at Worstead means that when a beautiful, but lifeless, garden bird was recently found near one of the classroom windows, the children were not afraid, shocked or disgusted - but instead calmly asked questions and considered deeply where it had come from and where it should go to. This was the stimulus for a fascinating lesson which carried on in class about the nature of life and how animals interact with us in our world and of course, it could never have been planned.
At Worstead Church of England Primary School, Forest School is planned carefully to link in with current learning in other curriculum areas as much as possible. School Council recently asked for Forest School to be rearranged so that instead of half a morning per week when it was each class's turn, they would rather have a whole morning per fortnight, to get the most out of it. This was then worked out in the new timetable and given the green light... a flavour of how precious Forest School is to ALL our children from the ages of 4 right through to 11.
Every child has the opportunity to experience Forest School whether in Reception, Key stage 1 or Key stage 2.