Forest School

In January 2020, Orchard Fields introduced Forest School run by Mr Pemble and supported by school staff. 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.  The children participating in Forest School will spend 2 hours a week going out in all weathers to learn a variety of new skills. The plan for the next two years is to roll Forest School out across the school so that all children get the opportunity to experience this style of learning. 

At Orchard Fields Community School we aim to foster a love and respect of nature and the environment, developing long term environmentally sustainable attitudes and practises. Forest school is a place where children develop holistically through regular experiences in a woodland environment or natural environment with trees. Through careful observation teachers nurture and scaffold children’s learning and development and lead by example. During forest school sessions, children are encouraged to assess and take risks in a safe, supportive way. Moving away from the normal constraints of the classroom walls, pressure-free, practical activities we hope to develop independent creative learners, gaining valuable life skills and knowledge through well-planned, interesting and diverse sessions.

 

The Forest School Principles and how they link to our setting:

1. Forest School is a long-term process of frequent and regular sessions and aims for children to visit in blocks of six to eight weeks each season. Planning, adaptation, observations, and reviewing are all integral parts of the Forest School process.

 

2. It takes place in a woodland or natural wooded environment – we will mostly be using our new, developing school site, located on the main playing field. On occasions the children might visit a nearby woodland.

 

3. We aim to promote the holistic development in all of those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent, and creative learners.

 

4. We will offer learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and themselves.

 

5. It will be managed by a qualified Forest School Leader

6. We will use a range of learner centred processes to create a community for development and learning.

 

The Forest School Principles and other information can be located at: http://www.forestschoolassociation.org/full-principles-and-criteria-for-good- practice/

 

 

 

Forest School Clothing 

Forest School sessions will take place in all weathers unless the safety of the participants is in question, due to high winds or icy roads.

‘There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing’

 

Suitable clothing is essential for everyone participating; we need to be adequately dressed in order to gain the full learning potential of the session.

 

In their kits, children should have:

 

• Long sleeved tee shirt

• Trousers, to reduce the risk of bites, stings, and scratches

• Waterproof over trousers and jacket

• Long socks, wellies, or old trainers (in very hot dry weather)

• During the summer, a sunhat and sunscreen should be supplied

• During the colder months, extra layers such as a fleece, leggings, tights, hats, and gloves etc. are required.

It is also helpful for children to have a boot bag or plastic bag to put their muddy wellies in after the session. 

All Forest School Kit should be named and taken home regularly to be washed.