We are very excited to be able to offer Forest Schools sessions at Bentham School. It is fantastic to be able to utilise the outdoor space we have been working hard to develop. Forest schools gives the children so many different opportunities, experiences and a different environment for learning. The children get a chance to build on their characteristics of effective learning, they learn how to explore, plan, be curious and be creative, that’s just to start. The children build up their resilience and learn how to challenge themselves. Children are encouraged to develop their independence, improve their decision-making skills and raise their self-esteem, through small achievable tasks and new learning opportunities.
September 2019 saw the start of our Forest Schools journey and we have had so much fun already and can’t wait to continue to learn and explore some more. The children are having plenty of opportunities to become expert den builders, make wonderful concoctions in the mud kitchen, hunt for bugs, look after the outdoor area with jobs such weeding and much more. Well our first few year of Forest schools has gone well and we are constantly learning and adapting.
Forest School is a child-centred inspirational learning process, that offers opportunities for holistic growth through sessions. It is a long-term program that supports play, exploration and supported risk taking. It develops confidence and self-esteem through learner inspired, hands-on experiences in a natural setting.
The process helps and facilitates more than knowledge-gathering, it helps learners develop socially, emotionally, spiritually, physically and intellectually. It creates a safe, non-judgemental nurturing environment for learners to try stuff out and take risks. Forest School inspires a deep and meaningful connection to the world and an understanding of how a learner fits within it. Our approach to risk means that learners constantly expand on their abilities by solving real-world issues, building self-belief and resilience. We believe that risk is more than just potential for physical harm, but a more holistic thing, there are risks in everything we do, and we grow by overcoming them. Forest School therefore, helps participants to become, healthy, resilient, creative and independent learners.
Play is an important element of Forest School sessions. Pupils can lead their learning through play. Play allows for holistic development (Social, Physical, Intellectual, Creative, Emotional and Spiritual) of the participants and provides opportunity to learn; testing ideas, building resilience and self-esteem, exploring emotions and roles (socio-cultural learning) and to have fun.
At the moment Forest School takes place every Wednesday and is offered to Class3 and is run by Mrs McGregor who is currently undertaking her level 3 Forest School Leaders qualifications. Forest Schools will take place whatever the weather all year round. So, having said that let us be reminded of the quote from Alfred Wainwright “There's no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.” We have waterproof all in one suits that can be handed out to children who need them and spare wellies if needed too. However, if your child has their own wellies and waterproof clothing that are labelled and can be left in school that would be fantastic. As the weather get cooler it would be advisable to send your child to school with a few layers on a Thursday such as vests, thick socks, hats, gloves and a scarf.
We can’t wait to continue on our Forest School journey and who knows what we’ll learn, explore, find out about along the way…