Blessed as we are at St. George’s to be surrounded by 35 stunning acres of woodland and grounds, our Forest School sessions are not an added extra but fundamental to our curriculum. Following the core philosophy of Forest Schooling, originally developed in Denmark in the 1980s, the intention is to provide young children with an education that encourages an appreciation of the wider, natural world and a will to take responsibility for nature conservation throughout their lives.
Many members of our Teaching Team are Forest School trained to advanced ‘Forest School Leader’ Level, having trained with renowned Forest School expert Mr John Blaney based in Bridgwater, UK. As well as extensive grounds and woodland, we also have a dedicated Forest School area with space to explore, create and appreciate nature. We have a firepit, seating area, story den and a shed full of tools the children use safely under direction when working with natural resources. In 2021, our Form VI Leavers (and huge Forest School enthusiasts) gifted us a Tipi which the children use to gather in and around during their outdoor lessons.
Forest School not only creates an understanding and attachment to nature, but also promotes creativity, confidence, independence and self-esteem. Children are encouraged to do things themselves and create from nature, which encourages them to take risks (under supervision) and direct their own learning, exploration and play. We find that Forest School sessions:
- Inspire awe and wonder whilst teaching children about the outdoors and their environment
- Encourage problem solving
- Extend vocabulary
- Prevent anxiety
- Improve resilience
- Create opportunities for hands-on, real-life learning
- Allow practical skills to develop naturally
- Create opportunities to work individually, as part of a team and in small groups to achieve a goal
Over the course of their sessions, children might use natural resources to build bug homes and bird houses. They might use tools to create Forest School artworks. They make Forest perfume and crowns and go on foraging nature walks. Children will develop skills such as binding and knot tying and learn about the different types of trees, plants and flowers.
Our pupils enjoy Forest School in all weathers and we’re very proud to deliver these sessions from Nursery all the way to Form VI.