At St Oswald’s Forest School, children are given the chance to experience the outdoors and to take part in exciting, inspiring, achievable tasks. We encourage the children to think about the skills they will need to achieve tasks. This includes acknowledging their strengths and identifying those skills which they need to develop. They are given the chance to work in different groupings and the time and space to make their own choices and express themselves.
What happens in our Forest School Sessions?
We tend to begin each session by gathering in our base camp area to reflect on last week’s learning and to introduce what we will be doing in the session. We will then usually introduce a new skill or activity. Within each session children are given the opportunity for free play and exploration and the chance to revisit activities covered in previous weeks. We encourage children to work in a variety of group situations and give them the chance to work by themselves if they want to. Children are given the opportunity to lead their learning and to share their strengths with others. They are shown how to risk assess as they explore the environment and learn why this is important to keep safe. We talk to the children about the skills they are using during activities and encourage them to use their senses to explore their environment. At the end of sessions we invite children to share their experiences and to talk about what they have learnt about themselves and others.
Typical activities during a session may include;
Making a fire
Cooking on a fire
Team building games
Safety during session
We adhere to our Forest School Health and Safety guidelines as well as completing individual Risk Assessments for the planned activities. Sessions are planned in a way that allows children to build their skills gradually. We would never ask a child to carry out a task beyond their capabilities. Clear boundaries and rules are set up from the beginning and riskier activities are only carried out once these are well established. We also have a very high ratio of adults to children during sessions.
We have very clear working procedures which again, can be found in our Forest School Handbook.