Forest School is an innovative educational approach to outdoor play and learning.
The Forest School approach has been successful with children of all ages who visit the same local woodlands on a regular basis and through play, have the opportunity to learn about the natural environment, how to handle risks and most importantly to use their own initiative to solve problems and co-operate with others. Through Forest School learning, children will develop: self-awareness; self-regulation; empathy; good social communication skills; independence; a positive mental attitude, self-esteem and confidence. Many of the strengths and qualities we teach as a Building Learning Power school.
During 2018/19 Miss Scott and Mrs Sharp will be taking groups of children to the Forest School site at Whinlatter every Monday. All children in Years 1, 3 and 5 will have about 6 sessions (morning or afternoon).
Fairfield Primary School is committed to Forest School and outdoor learning.
Why Forest School and why Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) is important to Fairfield?
Learning outside the classroom is about raising achievement and allowing the most fulsome personal development possible for all the pupils and students involved. It is an approach which uses the pupils' and students’ experience in new environments as a stimulus so that they learn about themselves and the world around them more effectively and faster than ever before.
It is thus about helping young people learn everything - from facts about the world in which they live, to facts about themselves, their responses, their interests and what drives them on.
Above all it is about helping all pupils and students make the most of their attributes, their lives, and their experiences so that ultimately they can lead lives which are varied, fruitful, and fulfilling for themselves, and which make a contribution to the society in which they live.
In this regard Learning Outside the Classroom is about raising achievement and raising the individual’s awareness of the self through an approach to learning based around direct experience.
Thus it is about what we learn, how and where we learn, and who we are.
Moving beyond the norm - teaching creativity, play, experimentation
Creativity is not a subject. Art, music, English, drama, dance - these are subjects, but in part they are teaching their own techniques and history as well as the creative application of the skills of the subject.
But learning outside the classroom gives an opportunity to explore creativity itself, because it takes the pupils and students into a new world, where novel responses are needed.
It is commonly observed that in schools where learning outside the classroom takes place, attendance records improve, and behavioural problems decline.
YEAR 5 Forest Schools 2019
The Year 5 topic in Spring Term was the 'Saxons'. After collaborating with the Year 5 teachers to see what parts of the topic they would like the children to explore but, they find difficult to complete within the restrictions of the classroom, the idea of 'Saxon houses' was decided as the focus for our Forest School. The children were able to find their creativity and explore lots of different styles and ideas.
The first discussion in the forest with the children was, where do you source the wood to create a Saxon house? The children decided to go into the forest and find felled branches / logs.
The children soon realised they needed to work together to get the logs back to the Forest School Site as they were wobbling all over! Some children stated how difficult it would of been to get the resources needed to build a large Saxon house and the people in that era must of been very strong.
The children decided the logs would be better put into separate piles (large, medium and small) as this would help them with their build. After a discussion about what you need from a shelter/house the children came up with the following:
1. The structure needed to be solid
2. It needed to be waterproof
3. It needed to be warm
I added a fourth must - the structure needed to be free standing, this was because the children had made shelters in Year 1 and Year 3 against trees etc so this was another challenge for them. They needed to think about how their structure was going to keep upright!