21 October 2022
The benefit of Forest School
Within our setting at Ladybird Lane, we have a forest school each week for all ages ranges. Forest school benefits all the children within the setting from babies right through to afterschool as they develop one to one with nature and can explore learn develop and grown through natural materials. The children learn develop and grow personally, socially, and emotionally, through making new friendships, getting out in the fresh air which benefits their mental health. We have also found through experience, children with additional needs are able to be more relaxed and engaged outdoors and will engaged more with the other children in this environment. Children can identify their feels in a forest school setting happy, proud, excited are some of the words used in our previous sessions with the children. Physically children can climb, balance, move, jump in their outdoor space children gain a lot physically in this environment. As stated on Cpd the additional benefits of attending a Forest School include Achieve personal and social development, learning about the natural environment, Learning problem-solving skills, Building positive relationships, Improving communication skills, Encourages emotional wellbeing, Improves the capacity of learning.
Encourages children to have a positive mind and it allows the children to have a positive impact on the environment and to respect and care for the natural world. According to muddy faces forest does benefit HEALTHIER MINDS through space and resources are naturally available, allowing individuals or groups to investigate and problem solve, an opportunity to be sociable and to have time alone, time to just be, where individuals can relax and explore interests, personal motivation, a willingness to try new tasks, the ability to persist at tasks increases
Outdoor in our forest school, we have noticed that children develop confidence in their space, and they move more. Each week we find the children gain more confidence on the wooden balancing beams, they decided to take the next step and try to climb the tree. We encourage the children to be creative and make decisions outdoors. Each child is their own person, and it is important to allow all the children to reach their potential through expressing themselves through this outdoor environment. We encourage support decision making and child lead ideas, this encourages the children allows them to develop and grow. We access risk and ensure we reduce them, but it is important for children to identify their own risks and only for example climb the tree to the height they feel comfortable with.
Children are always learning and developing outdoor through the world around us. The children are leaning about each season, weather, bugs and insects, vegetables, and trees. Children learn best through hand on experiences. We have found that the children are able to take this in better when they see, touch and are able to do activities relating to seasons, weather, trees etc.
As a setting we choose forest school to help develop children further. There are so many different benefits!! Creativity, language, maths, mental health, the children get to exercise, play with peers. Develop imagination and art skills. They learn about the world around us through our ever-changing seasons, through the ground, and the wet and dry environments. Learning about different animals and their habitats within our forest school, creating a greener environment through reusing, and having our very own compost bin. Ensure we are creating a better world for tomorrow by helping insects, bees, and birds, creating a shared space were children and nature grow together. Forest school is developing this next generation learning them about basic life skills, that have been forgotten in our modern world. Children have iPads and toys that do everything for them now a days. Therefore, forest school is so important to our setting as it allows the children to find themselves, express themselves be creative and find their imagination. To you it may be a stick to a child it can be a magic wand, a key to an enchanted land, a spoon to make a cake the list is endless. Forest school is so important in the life of a child it shows a child anything is possible; it allows a child to express themselves and learn with their own learning style. In forest school you don’t sit at a table it hands-on real-life experiences for the children. Children leave forest school with lifelong lessons. Within our setting we have a vegetable patch which we grow and harvest our very own vegetables, the children love to harvest them, and we all sit outside, taste and cook what we have grown.
Many children would have answered the question before we started forest school where does a carrot come from? A common reply was Tesco. Through our forest school within our setting the children now know how to grow their very own vegetables. They also understand the importance of our wildlife within this process, and they ensure they have adequate accommodation for all our bees, beetles, and bugs. Within forest school children learn empathy, compassion, and caring skills for their environment for insects and for others. They understand the importance of looking out for each other and all our insects / animals that we share the land with. Children have become far more confident with mini beasts, and they are aware they have to be careful around them and not to stand on them or hurt them.
The empathy love and care that is shown now towards everyone insects and children is lovely. The children have time, make space and look out for their peers more too.
Forest school allows children to reach their own understanding of their own limits ie climbing a tree, or jumping off object into the muddy puddles, the children go to the point they feel safe at with in our setting and then they come down safely. Forest school is all about providing safe risks for the children to allow them to gain control and confidence in their own abilities. We support and encourage all children to reach their full potential by allowing the children to take risks.
A great saying which we follow in our setting is “If roses tried to be sunflowers, they would lose their beauty; and if sunflowers tried to be roses, they would lose their strength. This statement puts into principle that each child is unique with their own strengths and learning style. Through our forest school program, we allow children to be children by supporting each child to allow them to bloom in their own time. Staff within forest school encourage support and empower each child to allow them to reach their full potential. Learning without walls allows each child to learn, develop and grown at their own stage of development. This way of learning ensures there is no pressure on the child, and they can develop and bloom in their own time. We also love the saying a messy child is a happy child. At first when we started forest school parent weren’t so sure about getting dirty.
However, as our program has progress and the more, we highlight the benefits we have won over a lot of parents. It’s hard to break the trend in a modern age where everyone wants a White interior House and sparking clean child. But it took time to win over parent and even to get the children confidence enough before our children would jump in a puddle as many would say my mummy will be cross if I get my outfit dirty. We had to encourage the benefits of puddle jumping and splashing in the puddles helps to develop strengths and balance in their legs. It provides a range of maths language Stirring and scooping pouring splashing, full, empty it develops fine motor skills and encourages them to experiment, express themselves, be creative learn about the world and develop language skills and most of all it’s good fun.
CPDonline (26th October 2021 ) Benefits of forest school , Available at: https://cpdonline.co.uk/knowledge-base/safeguarding/forest-schools/#:~:text=Additional%20benefits%20of%20attending%20a%20Forest%20School%20include%3A,to%20respect%20and%20care%20for%20the%20natural%20world. (Accessed: 21/10/22).
Muddy faces (2022) Muddy Faces , Available at: https://muddyfaces.co.uk/outdoor-hub/forest-school/benefits (Accessed: 21/10/22).