As the children feel comfortable in the woods, the sessions become increasingly child-led and as such, Forest School is not about a set programme of planned activities.
Children are given encouragement to direct their own learning. Forest School sessions are developed around the interests of the children participating.
This is achieved through the Forest School Leader and other adults observing and reviewing what the children are interested in and development of skills.
Activities & Learning Opportunities at Forest School ... a few of the many!
Learning the safe use of tools and equipment (including bow saws, clipper knives, axes and palm drills) to cut and shape wood into amulets, mallets, dice and a thousand other amazing creations!
Our woodland is fortunate to have areas where natural clay can be dug straight out of the ground. This can then be shaped and moulded into countless objects, from tree faces to stick heads to forest animals. The only limit is your imagination!
IDENTIFICATION OF FLORA, FAUNA AND WOODLAND CRITTERS
The woodland is full of new and exciting plants and animals to discover. Using identification keys, reference books and Apps on digital devices, children have the opportunity to discover the names, life cycles and even ancient woodland lore of the forest's inhabitants.
Whether you are putting up a tarpaulin sheet to make a shelter or lashing together pieces of wood to secure your den, learning the correct know for the correct job is very important. Should you use a square lashing, timber hitch, friction, blood, prusik, clover hitch or lark's foot?
Using the natural materials that the woodland has to offer, children can work alone or as a part of a team to create amazing hidden dens to play in.
GAMES (including Blindfold Trust Games)
The forest offers limitless opportunities to learn and play! Games, such as 'Stalker' help children understand the roles and needs of predators and prey, while other activities, such as 'Go Find It', encourage children to explore and use their imagination to solve problems. Adding a blindfold can introduce teams games such as Blind Centipede, or paired adventures following a rope trail only guided by touch and the voice of a friend.
WOODLAND ARTS & CRAFTS
A stick isn't just a stick. A leaf is not just a leaf. Put them together is a myriad of combinations, whether in 2D or 3D creations, to bring the forest to life with art and design works to amaze and dazzle. Charcoal, ash, mud and crushed berries, flowers or leaves, produce natural paints and dyes for decoration of objects ... or create intricate patterns across arms and legs!
Faeries are real, we all know that! But what would a fairy home look like if they lived in our woods? Using natural materials, plenty of imagination and perhaps a seashell for a tiny fairy fire, a magical village can grow from around the roots and trunks of towering trees.
Creating a fire from the sparks of a flint and steel is an inspiring achievement. With a sound understanding of fire safety (both for themselves, others and the woodland), children learn the skill of fire-making ... and how to toast the perfect marshmallow!
Whether it be in the safe chopping vegetables for a campfire stew, cracking eggs to fry or kneading dough for bread, cooking over a smoking-hot campfire is an inspirational experience, experimenting with new foods and flavours as well as developing skills are lifelong in their application.
TEAM BUILDING ACTIVITIES
Forest School helps children develop their understanding of the importance that teamwork can be in overcoming a problem or task. Activities are designed to encourage cooperation and peer support, whether is be simply to move or collect materials around the site, or work together in some amazing woodland creation!
LEAF ART (including LEAF BASHING!)
Leaves change in colour, size and texture throughout the year, giving limitless opportunities for their use in all forms of art and design. Whether you are arranging them to create pictures of woodland creatures, aligning them to form a graded autumn sunset on the forest floor, or bashing them to form beautiful coloured patterns on cotton cloth, leaves are an amazing resource to experiment and play with!
Every walk into the woods throws up new sounds, smells, textures and sights! The same path trodden is never the same twice! Whether you are looking for new plants and animals, collecting materials for a fairy home or piece of art, or looking for inspiration for your next woodland story, a wander through the forest is a magical treat!
How often are you told to go off into the woods, sit down in silence and simply 'enjoy' what you can see, hear, feel and smell? To fall in love with nature, you need to stop and take notice ... and when you wake up to what Mother Nature has to offer, you will never be the same again!