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.
Mrs Todhunter (Forest School Leader), Miss Hamilton (Forest School HLTA) and Mr Watson (Forest School volunteer) will be taking groups of children to the Forest School site at Whinlatter every Friday. All children in Years 1, 3 and 5 will have approximately 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.
YEAR 3 - Forest Schools Autumn Term 2020
The children and staff were extremely excited this week, as Forest Schools started again for the Year 3 children. The children's focus in Forest Schools, was once again based on the History topic the children are learning about, which is 'Who First Lived in Britain?' (Stone Age).
Week 1 - Shelter Building
Myself (Mrs Todhunter) and the children, discussed how the first Stone Age people from the Paleolithic Period (old period), built their houses. The children came to the conclusion, the Stone Age people built their houses from wood at this period in time. The children also went on to explain what the main needs were, when building the houses. They decided the houses needed to be: waterproof, warm and strong, so they did not fall down. The children put themselves into groups, and found an area they thought would be good to build a shelter, They then set out to build their own version of a Stone Age shelter. The children collaborated really well together and made a great start to their task. Unfortunately, for the afternoon group the weather was not in our favour and it was very wet, but this did not damped the children's spirits!
Week 2 - Making Fire
This week in History and English the children have been looking at Stone Age tools and weapons. The children had a discussion on how important fire was to the Stone Age people. They discussed how the Stone Age people needed fire to: cook their food, keep them warm, ward off dangerous animals and to use as a torch for light when it was dark. This week in Forest School, the children have all had a chance to use a flint and steel, to light a small piece of cotton wool. I explained to the children, the Stone Age people will have used pieces of flint to make a spark because steel had not been discovered. They all said it was more difficult than they expected, but they had a great sense of achievement when they saw a flame. They were very resilient and determined to make a fire.
Week 3 - Hunter / Gatherer
This week at Forest School we discussed what the Stone Age people ate. We talked about how the Stone Age people would hunt for animals for food (linking to our English text Stone Age Boy), we also talked about how they would forage for berries, nuts, seeds and wild herbs around where they lived. We went on a walk to see if we could find any signs of animals, using our Animal Footprint ID sheet. We also used a Berry/ Seed ID sheet to identify any food which could be foraged in and around the Forest School Site. We found some different animal footprints and faeces, so the children decided deer and rabbits live in the forest. We also found Rowan berries, elderberries, brambles and acorns in the forest.
YEAR 5 - Forest Schools Spring Term 2020
The Year 5 topic in Spring Term was 'The Anglo-Saxons', so we decided as the focus for our Forest School on becoming Anglo-Saxons and building our own Saxon houses . The children were able to find their creativity and explore what life was like for the people of that time and the hardships / issues they faced when constructing buildings.
Week 1 - The children started to dig the foundations for their Saxon houses.
Week 2 - The children collected logs and brought them back to the Forest School site.
Week 3 - The children made the frames for the Saxon Houses
Week 4 - The children started to wattle the frames of their houses.
Week 5 - The children in 5ES were supposed to daub their Saxon houses, but due to the weather conditions, the children completed a reflection task in the classroom of their time in the forest. Miss Hamilton and Mr Watson braved the weather and cooked sausages for the children at school in the Forest School area. All the children managed to toast marshmallows too. Unfortunately 5EC did not manage to complete the final week due to lockdown.
5ES Photo Gallery
5EC Photo Gallery
YEAR 3 - Forest Schools Autumn Term 2019
The Year 3 topic in Autumn Term was 'Who First Lived in Britain?', so different aspects of the Stone Age was decided as the focus for our Forest School. The children were able to find their creativity and explore what life was like in the Stone Age.
Stone Age Shelters
In the first week the children sat around the fire circle and discussed what Stone Age houses looked like and how they could make a shelter themselves, they decided the shelters needed to be: waterproof, secure and warm. The children chose the people who they wanted to work with and set off to create their shelters. From the photographs, you can see the superb shelters the children made and the fantastic effort all of the children put in.
Stone Age Hunter and Gatherers
The next couple of weeks at Forest School the children discussed how the Stone Age people ate. First, they decided they needed to find animal tracks as this is how the Stone Age people would of hunted for the animals, they decided they could use the animals meat to eat, they also decided they could use the hide to add to their shelters and make clothes with. The children also discussed how they could use the animal bones to make tools and weapons. The children went for a walk to find any signs of animals which may live in the forest. After that, the children discussed what they could eat if they could not find any animals, they decided that they could gather different berries, nuts and seeds from the forest. On the walk the children discussed how only certain foods would be available due to the different seasons.
Making Tent Pegs
The next part of our work in the forest linking to the Stone Age was making tent pegs. The children discussed how they could secure the hide over the shelter from the animal into the ground so it did not blow away. The children were given a stick from the forest and shown how to use a sheath knife to whittle the wood into a tent peg. The children started by whittling one end of the stick into a point, the children where then shown how to make a notch in the opposite end of the stick to tie the string to.
Making Wind Chimes - Musical Instruments
The children discussed what the Stone Age people may of used as a musical instrument at gatherings or festivals. They thought they may of used drums and rattles as they could be made from wood. We discussed with the children how the Stone Age people used wind chimes for musical instruments as well as, a way of warding off predators from their homes. The children made their wind chimes in small groups then, they put them up next to the shelters they had made.
Final Day in the Forest - Whole class
On the final day in the forest, the whole class come to the Forest School site together with their teacher. The children enjoy a full day of activities and have their lunch of either a sausage or bacon sandwich in the great outdoors. After lunch the children then toast marshmallows on the open fire for pudding!