Forest School & Outdoor Learning
At Ridgewell, Forest School sessions have been delivered over a number of years. We are lucky to have an outdoors area adjacent to the school that has been developed with wild plants, trees and a log circle. All children enjoy coming to this outdoors space for sessions in the week. Our older children visit a much larger local wood for their Forest School sessions at different times throughout the year.
Why do we have Forest School?
Forest schools use woods and forests to help build independence and self-esteem in school-age children. Topics are cross-curriculum, (broad in subject) including many hands on experiences with the natural environment. The forest also gives the children opportunities to develop other personal skills, such as teamwork and problem solving.
What does forest school do for the children?
From the very first session, forest school aims to increase each child’s self-confidence, self–esteem and independence. These skills are vital to all children’s learning, helping them to maximise their potential. The learning happens not in the confines of four walls but in the open natural world, where everything changes throughout the year. They learn by doing, talking and taking on challenges. Forest school gives each child a chance to express themselves in a way they might not be able to within a classroom setting.
Outdoor Learning is a little different to Forest School. It means simply that we are taking our learning outdoors. Whenever we can learn something better by being outside, that’s where we go! Why learn about the seasons from a textbook when we can just go outside to experience them?
‘This is the best kind of classroom,
It’s a journey through time and space,
From the smallest seed to the largest tree,
This is a forest and a learning place.
This is the best kind of classroom,
Where the seasons don’t happen in books.
Where the learning is watching and thinking and talking
And everyone looks.’
‘The Best Kind of Classroom’ by Ian MacMillan