What is Forest School?
Forest School is an inspirational process that offers all learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment. At Two Village, we have two Forest School Leaders who offer nature-based sessions which nurture learner-led exploration and discovery, fostering meaningful experiences for positive lifelong impacts.
Wellbeing is at the heart of our practice and through recognising the social, emotional and physical needs of participants, we provide the guidance and facilitation for our time in nature. Through creating learner inspired experiences based on exploration, discovery and acquiring new skills, we aim to support children holistically, helping them flourish.
At Forest School, all participants are:
- viewed as equal, unique and valuable
- viewed as competent to explore & discover
- entitled to experience appropriate risk and challenge
- entitled to develop positive relationships with
themselves and other people
- entitled to develop a strong, positive relationship
with their natural world
- encouraged to assess and take safe ‘risks’
What do sessions involve?
All our sessions range from between 1 hour to 2 ½ hours and follow a similar basic format:
- Opening session at log circle where the activities available for the day are explained and a reminder of the rules are discussed
- Discussion at log circle and sharing of any tasks
- Activities and free time
- Closing session at log circle
Circle time is an important part of Forest School – it’s where we discuss what we’ve done, talk about ideas for next time and talk through any problems that may have occurred.
Some examples of activities are; natural craft, using tools, fire lighting, nature based tasks and identification activities.
Our Ground rules
Forest School is different from the classroom but we teach the children to follow some ground rules to ensure we keep ourselves safe.
- Look after our Forest School site; respect living things and the environment.
- Do not put anything in your mouth
- Only use tools if you are with the Forest Leader who has said it is fine to do so
- Consider others; Behaviour should not endanger others.
- Listen to the log circle ‘call’, as agreed by the class, and return to the log circle
All our Forest Leaders have a Paediatric First Aid Certificate and there are risk assessments for our forest sites and the use of tools and fires. At least one trained Forest School Leader will run each session. Some activities, such as tool use, will require a ratio of 1:2 for safety.
An important part of Forest School is that children learn to understand and manage risk themselves. We use positive statements such as ‘Watch for branches underfoot’ rather than ‘Be careful’ or ‘Don’t trip’ to promote this and often ask the children to consider what hazards they think they need to be aware of.
Due to the surroundings, long sleeves and trousers must be worn at all times along with either wellies, sturdy trainers or walking boots. In the winter, several thin layers are advised along with a warm jumper and waterproof coat. The children may also need hats and gloves and water-proof trousers are recommended though not essential. Children should also bring a spare pair of socks that they can change in to if required.