Forest School has proven to be popular and highly successful nationwide and we are aiming for nothing less here at Bishop Challoner. Our children find Forest School to be a valuable part of their school life, building memories and learning through fun and free exploration. Our Forest School is fully implemented and we know that our Nursery pupils enjoy the outdoor learning environment and that you, the parents, also enjoy hearing about the adventures your child has had in the outdoors - Forest School really is "the" place to be!
We are so excited to be running Forest School for the Nursery children at Bishop Challoner. Children spend one morning every week of the academic year in our Forest School, which is situated at the top of the field on the main school site.
The children are able to explore the changing seasons and appreciate the wonder of nature at different times of the year. They are also able to help Mrs Coates care for our Forest School area and will learn about the different flora and fauna that are situated there.
Forest School is a learning ethos where the child is taught how to manage their own risk and keep themselves and their friends safe. There are a few basic ‘rules’ of Forest School, and once these are learnt then the children are safe to go and do exactly what they want. They are able to explore the natural world around them and learn through play and exploration. Some children find endless fascination in collecting bugs, others want to dig whilst others are just happy sitting and listening to the noises around them.
Mrs Coates is the Forest School Leader at Bishop Challoner, and she runs the sessions each week. She gives the children the chance to try a new activity every week, if they wish to do so. Individual child observations will be taken which will then be added to children’s profiles to help plan for their development.
The children share a healthy snack together whilst at Forest School, and they may be lucky enough to have a special Forest School treat of hot chocolate and popcorn at the end of each term.
As the saying goes ‘there is no such thing as unsuitable weather, just unsuitable clothing’, with this in mind, Nursery children use the Bishop Challoner Forest School waterproofs during each session along with their own wellington boots. This ensures that they can fully embrace each Forest School session and enhance their own learning and development – whilst having fun at the same time.
All experiences are learning opportunities in Forest School, and we are sure that your child will love the chance to shine in our special outdoor classroom.
Forest School is an exciting and invaluable feature for the children. Forest School is an outdoor learning opportunity for the children to take part in. Being in the natural environment and open-air supports the children's EYFS curriculum across all seven areas of learning, as shown.
1. Personal Social and Emotional Development - sharing, problem solving, supports independence, working as a team, seeking out new friends and taking responsibility such as managing the balance between appropriate risk and challenge.
2. Physical Development - using both gross and fine motor skills. Being outside in the open gives the children the chance to use their bodies in ways that would not be given scope within the classroom setting, using large muscle groups to explore and make dens and small muscles to create and handle natural items. In an age of supporting healthy activity and the health benefits of being outside, this opportunity will hopefully encourage a life-long awareness of physical activity and well-being.
3. Communication and Language - The natural setting and different opportunities inspire
language and communication i.e. increased and varied vocabulary. Children are extended the time and confidence to communicate with others. Well supported language and communication development directly improves the developing skills needed for literacy i.e. reading and emergent writing. Some children find the constraints of the classroom inhibits their communication, being outdoors seems to liberate children and help them engage.
4. Literacy - the sensory input and experiences from learning outside often encourages children to record these events back in the classroom through recording data, early mark making (which in turn leads to writing.)
5. Mathematics - children learn best when motivated and engaged and counting, recording data and looking at shapes in the environment could not be more fun or inspiring.
6. Understanding the World - what better way to learn about the world around us, than to experience it first hand? The beauty of Forest School allows children to be outside in all weathers, monitor the changing seasons and enjoy their natural world by seeking out mini-beasts, exploring plants and flowers and understanding from a young age the need to nurture and look after our planet.
7. Expressive Arts and Design - the opportunity to create and gather natural materials that are simply not available in the classroom and to explore textures and colours as they appear in nature. Role play can be supported and extended in the open freedom of Forest School.