We are very lucky at Astwood Bank Primary because we have a superb forest school area with an open fire circle, a small woodland, mud kitchens, den building areas, an enclosed pond, an allotment area and a bird hide. Our dedicated team, trained in forest school leadership, provide wonderful opportunities for our pupils to experience outdoor learning and the wider environment. Come rain or shine, children are encouraged to enjoy what nature has to offer – and we always have an indoor ‘nurture room’ for those exceptionally cold and wet days.
Forest School lessons take place every Thursday for all Reception and Year 1 children. We also have a forest school club that takes place on Wednesday afternoons. We provide forest school lessons to all year groups; allowing every child at Astwood Bank Primary the chance to experience and learn from nature.
We embrace the philosophy that ‘Forest School’ should be a fun and exciting outdoor learning environment. We think that children should be encouraged to explore nature, be free to learn through self-led exploration and discovery without the constraints of four walls. They are encouraged, through hands on learning experiences, to make their own choices, developing confidence, raising self-esteem and self-awareness.
Originated in 1950’s Scandinavia, Forest School became popular in the early 70’s and 80’s in Denmark. In 1993 a group of Nursery Teachers visited Denmark to look at the outdoor, forest based pre-school system which had spread throughout the Scandinavian Early Years education system. Upon their return to the UK they developed and established their own Forest School programme which gives children significant opportunities for the development of spiritual, social, physical, intellectual, emotional cognitive and creative skills.
Forest School is inspiring. It leads to an understanding and caring for our natural environment, something which our future generations will have to fight hard for, with climate change looming ever closer.