At Starcross Primary School we aim to develop children both academically and pastorally. We understand the value Forest School brings to help develop self-esteem, confidence, and practical skills by facilitating small achievable tasks. It offers opportunities to take risks, make choices, and initiate learning for themselves which encourages autonomy and increases self-confidence and wellbeing. Through all the opportunities provided it helps to develop practical, social, and emotional skills which are transferable to the classroom and help to increase general wellbeing. This is facilitated by good adult leadership practice through observations of the children to help plan and provide opportunities for next time to increase their learning. In Forest School, our school values are also naturally fostered throughout our sessions, these are celebrated and recognised during our reflection time at the end or shared individually. Our values are Self-awareness, Teamwork, Ambition, Resilience, Success.
Health and safety is paramount for children and adults, these are essential to help take calculated risks. This is implemented through clear guidelines and rules that are recalled at the start of every session and displayed throughout the area these are specific to the nature area.
A big part of Forest School is to develop the children’s understanding, appreciation, and respect for the natural world through increasing their skills and knowledge of the environment and promote sustainability. We do this through story telling, sharing different communities heritage, recycling, repurposing materials, learning about eco systems, the effect we have on the environment and how we can look after the natural world. Some of the practical skills we learn are gardening, building animal shelters, whittling, willow work, knot work, map skills, using a variety of tools such as bow saws, bushcraft knives, hammers and drills
There has been lots of research undertaken over the years to look at the impact of Forest School on its participants. One such research paper is Learning Outdoors: the Forest School approach by Liz O’Brien. (Attached file) The aim of the paper was to look at the role Forest School can play in children’s development. It also highlighted the importance of learning outdoors and could be an important factor in life long learning, health and well-being. The paper also commented on the positive benefits of learning in woodlands and greenspaces for a wide range of children including those with special educational needs.