We have a new Forest School area in our garden read how the older children are loving the new experiences it offers.
So what have we been doing in the corner of our garden with all the wooden pallets, logs, sticks and stones we hear you asking?!
We have created what’s known as a Forest School, capitalising on the wonderful trees and space we have in our garden.
The forest school idea originated in Scandinavia where young children regularly spend a lot of the day playing in natural woodland areas. This type of play has been shown to have enormous benefits for children as they grow older. It encourages children to be more resilient, want to spend time outdoors and be more active.
This type of ‘experiential’ learning equips children with practical skills and an appreciation for being outdoors, which they can then transfer to other activities. It’s fun for the children to invent games with their friends using very simple equipment and natural resources, can contribute to the development of collaborative learning skills by encouraging children to work with others on challenging outdoor activities, and encourages a healthy lifestyle. It encourages children to be independent in their play, exploring new possibilities and managing their own risks.
The children are really loving the new experiences. The most popular activities are den building, making mess in the mud kitchen and having outdoor story and singing time.
Richard and Paul, our forest School leaders have undergone specialist training to ensure they know how to get the most from the new outdoor school with planned activities; anything from building a shelter with ropes, sticks and tarpaulin to making homes for bugs and mini beasts. The children themselves have been amazingly creative coming up with wonderful ideas for creating fantastical environments such as fairy woodlands and magical forests.
For our over 3’s as we have chosen some activities which involve a level of risk which the children learn to manage responsibly -for example we use tools such as hack saws or hand drills. All these activities have been inspired by the specialist Early Years training Richard and Paul have received, are of course carefully risk assessed and have all been tried elsewhere first, but it is exciting for the children to feel like they are learning something new and challenging, and that we trust them to be responsible and play safely.