Forest School in the Early Years Foundation Stage
Forest School provides a learning approach that helps to nurture and develop children’s confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences. It gives children the space to connect with the outdoors and studies have shown that Forest School can also help children to develop vital life skills such as communication, concentration, independence and problem-solving skills.
We are fortunate enough to have our very own woodland area on our school grounds and this enables us to make Forest School a staple of the creative curriculum we provide. In EYFS, all of the children are given the opportunity to explore Forest School throughout the year. The children take it in turns to go in small groups, where they engage in planned and child-led learning opportunities led by our Level 3 Forest School leader, Mrs Blair.
Every year the children thoroughly enjoy being given the freedom to explore Forest School and its many magical features, such as the tree where Flora the Tooth Fairy lives and the bridge where the Troll and the Gruffalo hide. The children also relish in having the opportunity to take supported risks, such as: climbing trees, creating dens, making ‘tree cookies’ and using the tree swing.
We use Forest School to enhance our EYFS curriculum, by providing rich opportunities for the children to develop and learn across the 7 areas of learning. For example, when the children are learning about traditional tales they often enjoy acting out the story of the Three Billy Goats on the ‘Troll bridge’ or using sticks to create a house for the Three Little Pigs. During these kinds of activities the children aren’t only developing their communication and expressive skills, they are developing a wide range of skills; from their mathematical understanding when choosing the length, size and amount of sticks they need, to developing their literacy skills when they are retelling stories and exploring characters and settings.
Undoubtedly, Forest School enables the children to develop a much deeper knowledge and understanding of the natural world; from learning about seasonal changes, to specific plants, trees, minibeasts and woodland animals. After engaging in a number of Forest School sessions, the children often become significantly more in tune with the natural world; they will ensure they return logs to their original position after moving them to hunt for minibeasts, they will avoid disturbing natural habitats and they will have a new found respect for the world around them.
We find that Forest School offers new and exciting opportunities beyond the parameters of the Early Years classroom and this is something we feel passionate about providing for our children at South Failsworth.