At Churchfields we have our own Forest School on site.
Forest School Ethos
Forest School is an inspirational process offering ALL learners the opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees. Forest School is a specialisted learning approach that sits within and complements the wider context of outdoor learning.
Aims of Forest School
- To provide children with experiences that encourages an appreciation, awareness and knowledge of the natural environment.
- To learn to respect and care for their own local environment.
- To abide by rules and set standards of behaviour, to work cooperatively in groups and to respect each other.
- To develop children’s self-esteem and self-confidence through the setting of small achievable tasks.
Environmental Considerations and Conservation
One of the principles of Forest School is to promote environmental awareness and encourage sustainability. The children are taught about respect and responsibility for the whole world around them. Both the children and adults are encouraged to respect their environment and to be aware of conservation issues of the wild area around them.
The aim is to promote respect for wildlife, which will be achieved through detailed session plans, evaluation and careful reference to our Woodland Management Plan and Ecological Impact Assessment. If appropriate, reclaimed, recycled and sustainable resources will be used to maintain and develop our Forest School site.
Encouraging children to care for the environment is an essential part of Churchfields Forest School. In order to encourage the children to look after the site we will always leave it tidy and never damage anything growing in it. We will only collect things that are on the ground and leave the area as we found it. The Forest School Leader will monitor the site so that it does not become overused and an alternative area will be found and risk assessed if necessary.
During the session
Children participate in a variety of activities which are totally inclusive, thus catering for all ability levels. They are taught a variety of woodland skills through practical hands on activities. They also learn how to light fires safely. The children learn the care and safe use of a wide range of tools. This is a tightly supervised activity on a 1:1 ratio of adult to children. It is introduced gradually and in small steps. Children are encouraged to listen attentively to instructions and to take responsibility for their actions. This is achieved by games that also encourage respect for the environment.
The children sit at base camp, cleanse their hands and drink cocoa or juice with a biscuit or raisins - water will be an option and the needs of each child are taken into account. Children discuss their session, if they wish, sharing their view, findings and opinions. To help clean hands after their session, a Tippy Tap has been installed to hands clean after muddy discovery. Back at school, children will remove wellies outdoors or standing on sheeting (if very wet), before entering the classroom and changing back into their school uniform.
Cancelling Forest School
Forest School may need to be cancelled in extreme weather conditions e.g. high winds (over 30mph), imminent thunder storm, or blizzards. Adapted classroom activities will take place instead.
Forest School may not be able to go ahead if there are not enough adults to accompany us. The session may also be cancelled if the Forest School Leader is unable to attend. Campfires cannot take place without a qualified Forest School Leader – Level 3 Forest School Practitioner.