Wildwood Adventures has more than 8 years of experience of working with schools in and around Bristol providing an outdoor classroom where children are learning all the time.
Sessions offer an holistic way to support the curriculum and take place all year round. We create a safe and nurturing space for children to connect with nature, build resilience and to develop their ideas.
Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire – William Butler Yeats
For example, studying Explorers recently with a Year 2 group we brainstormed explorers, imagined our forest school space as a new land where the plants and animals were waiting to be discovered. The group set to work building a boat with the loose play wood and another group set off to the potion kitchen to cook with the newly discovered plants.
The plan was to move onto drawing maps and poetry but the children’s play led us to developing the boat further and making lip balm from the plantain on the site. Maps came the following week when a child picked up some charcoal saved from the previous week’s fire and started to draw. Having a flexible approach and allowing the children to direct the sessions is key to the Forest School ethos.
‘When we are not pushing a learning-agenda curiosity comes to the forefront and guides the learning process.’ Coyote’s Guide to connecting with Nature by Jon Young, Ellen Haas, Evan McGown.
When and Where:
- Forest School is offered during the school day.
- Ideally sessions will be two hours long, once a week for 10-12 weeks minimum although shorter programmes are possible.
- They can take place on your school site (consultation provided), in a local woodland or nearby park depending on your needs.
- Sessions take place year-round, whatever the weather (except during extremely high winds-Met office red warning).
Woodlands offer a great environment providing natural resources but the benefits of Forest School in more limited surroundings of a school playground are clearly shown in the report from Whitehall Primary School where Wildwood Adventures worked with all classes over 2 years.
How: Forest School activities reflect the seasons, age and stage of development of the children involved and the natural resources of the site. Sessions are planned and require leaders to be adaptable and develop with the children’s interests.
Discussion with the class teachers before and during the programme is encouraged and Forest School can support a specific curriculum focus. The sessions are reviewed every week by the Forest School leader to inform the following weeks sessions and reflect on the children’s learning. A class report is collated at the end of each programme and provided to the school.
Through a huge range of activities such as stories and rhymes, building projects, cooking on an open fire, seasonal arts and crafts, ID and trails, obstacle courses, Forest School aims to be accessible to all children. The holistic nature of Forest School where children are moving, asking questions, gauging risk and problem solving whilst building the den, crossing the crocodile filled lake, whittling a stick, or enacting a story benefit children in a huge variety of ways.
The sessions structure involves:
- Welcome song/warm up game where children introduce themselves
- Nature Trail or hunt/ find the gnome/litter pick/an observation of the site
- Main Activity This will be appropriate to the season such as leaf mobiles, nature art, fungi hunt in Autumn or develop key fine motor skills such as sawing badges and whittling, poking elder or be focused on immersing the child in nature such as,tree gazing, sit spots, making forest spirits,or story-telling.
Children may choose to adapt to adapt the activity or come to it later.
- Fire and snack (not every session) Clear safety rules apply. Children make their own bread, flapjacks or have simple snacks cooked over the fire.
- Review and Goodbye Song
For children to grow and develop and benefit from Forest School a minimum of 6 x 2 hour sessions is recommended, ideally taking place weekly.
Cost: Half day and Full day sessions available. Please call to discuss costs which will vary depending on location, equipment requirements and length of programme.
If your school has land available or a space that you feel could be used for Forest School then we would be happy to come and take a look.