What is Down the Woods Forest School?
A regular visit to a local wood or woodland on the setting's site where children participate in activities and games designed to build self-esteem, communication skills, independence and self- confidence through an appreciation of the natural environment.
To encourage physical and emotional development through outdoor play, the children 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.
Qualified Leaders ensure that all the policies and procedures are in place to run a safe and effective Forest School. Usually children visit a wood once a week for substantial amount of time, giving children the chance to develop an emotional bond with the wood.
Local woods within walking distance from the school or in School grounds.
Children's dreams and memories are the only valuable things kept in a Forest School Woodland!
The sessions are learner led, allowing the children to explore and develop at their own pace and within their own learning styles. A range of activities are used in the form of small achievable tasks such as building shelters, exploring mud, collecting firewood and finding treasures. These activities are designed to explore their social development or self awareness development with the view to raising their self esteem. Learners develop woodland skills and the ability to work as a team, to communicate well and boost their
self confidence. The session activities are easily linked to National Curriculum or Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum.
'Forest Schools is an innovative educational approach to outdoor play and learning.'
‛The philosophy of Forest Schools,' is to encourage and inspire individuals of any
age through positive experiences and participation in engaging and motivating
achievable tasks. Taking part in activities in a woodland environment, help the children to develop personal, social and emotional skills. Research over a long period of time has found that the benefits in attending these outdoor classrooms are:
• Improved concentration
• Improved social skills and empathising
• Improved co-ordination
• Fewer sick days
By engaging in a learning led environment, there are opportunities for developing
social and emotional intelligence, which through support and guidance increases:
• Self esteem
• Intrinsic movement
• Self Awareness
• Self regulation
• Social communication
Forest School has demonstrated success with children of all ages who visit the
same local woodland on a regular basis. Through play, they learn about the natural environment, how to handle risks and most importantly, to use their initiative to solve problems and co-operate with others. Programmes run throughout the year going to the woods in all weather (except high winds).
Children play, learn boundaries of behaviour; both physical and social, they grow in
confidence, self-esteem and motivation. Children need time to thoroughly explore their feelings, thoughts and relationships. This develops understanding of the world, the environment and everything within it through use of their emotions, imagination and senses.
Health and Safety
Leaders are all trained in delivery of Forest Schools and have a wide range of expertise in the education of children.
The Forest School initiative has its own set of Heath and Safety policies that meet the requirements of the local Authority's Health and Safety policy. We work alongside schools to make sure we adhere to their individual policies.
The woods and route that the children take are checked before every session by means of a risk assessment. Any risks are dealt with appropriately and the teacher in charge of the class is made aware.
Duration & Preparation
The best forest schools projects are long term.
"Down the Woods Forest School" is able to provide, 6 weeks, 8 weeks, 12 weeks or longer term projects for your school.
All children from the foundation stage to Year 6 and beyond, will benefit from this unique and exciting learning opportunity.
The initial session of activities will be led in the children's educational setting so
that leaders can get to know the children and the children get to know the
leader in a familiar setting. On this occasion Down the Woods Forest School
leaders can also speak to the parents/guardians to explain about the visit to the
wood the next week and answer their questions. Down the Woods Forest School
leaders can also help with the information sent to parents/guardians
How to book forest school
A Forest School Practitioner will visit your school to tailor-make a programme to meet the needs of your group. Ideally your class will visit once a week for six weeks, 8 weeks or 12 weeks, for a 2 hour session.
Group Size: Up to 15 although we can take more with extra adult support. (Extra charge per child)
Contact us now for more information, or to arrange a Forest School Practitioner to visit and talk through the programme