Kelly MoorhouseA different approach to education outdoors
By Kelly Moorhouse
What is Forest School?
It is quite difficult to sum up what exactly Forest School is . In truth it is many things an educational approach to outdoor play and learning,. A place we can learn to take care of ourselves, others and the environment. It is an approach that is child centred and focuses on development of self awareness, self esteem, motivation, empathy, communication, independence and positive mental attitudes. It also provides opportunities to problem solve and how to handle risk taking ie using sharp tools, climbing a tree, something that is very important in early development. It is not just for the young but the young at heart as well, Adults have enjoyed being a part of Forest school just as much as the children. And you don’t have to be able bodied to join in as some sites cater for all disabilities. We go out into the woods in all weathers (Except high winds) so all the seasons are observed.
As well as the physical benefits of romping around in the woods the emotional benefits such as increased self esteem, confidence and motivation are often observed early on in the sessions.
The kind of things we do in Forest School are shelter building, fire safety and matchless fire lighting, safe tools use, woodland arts and crafts, tree and plant identification, teamwork challenges, games and imaginative/investigative play.
What I love about Forest School is that anyone can join in. I have met people from all walks of life and all ages, mostly they are keen to get out into the woods and get dirty but every so often I meet someone who begrudgingly attends, and boy does everyone know it. It is these people that really fascinate me, they come because some scheme has been organised with them in mind and they stomp around saying they would rather be home playing on there consoles. And it is these same people that after a week or two you see the biggest difference. First it might just be interest in lighting a fire without matches, then they might see someone having a go at some coppicing, and before you know it, they are the first to arrive and get the camp fire started and the last to leave checking in the tools.
Forest School is less about skill acquisition and more about the person and there emotional development. It has a place in our schools and in our work place as well as a space to play. It focuses on Play, emotional development and environmental awareness, sustainability and looks at the journey rather than the outcomes. From this they learn to assess risk and take on challenges and responsibility in a safe risk assessed space. The child leads the way and there is no set curriculum but what they want to have a go at. Just opportunities that we can provide.
Phone: 01938 500468
Mobile: 07807 169339
Address: Tanyfron, Meifod,Powys