What we believe for our curriculum
It is our intention that every pupil, irrelevant of needs, develops a real passion for the great outdoors. They should celebrate their local, natural environment. We wish for every child to use the outdoors to build self-esteem, be given the freedom to experiment and to thrive from taking appropriate risks.
Through Forest School we aim to support this philosophy by:
Developing a range of Forest School skills. Skills include knot tying, frapping, fire lighting, lashing and whittling.
We know that children learn best when the curriculum is well sequenced to enable revisiting of core knowledge, skills and understanding. This deepens conceptual awareness before demanding application across the whole curriculum. Please see the Forest School Progression of Skills documents. The grid outlines how the key skills are developed, revisited, assessed and built upon during Foundation to Year 6
How we put our aims into daily practice
All classes participate in Forest School activities. This may be pure Forest School sessions run by a Level 3 qualified Forest School practitioner or curriculum linked learning. Each week the Reception class spend 1 morning in the Forest School, Years 1 -4 spend 1 afternoon a week for a least a term. Regular training of both teaching and non-teaching staff allows for all children to receive a quality session. All staff to understand the potential learning opportunities this resource has to offer. Forest School sessions happen whatever the weather – as the saying goes “there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing!” – the only exemptions being strong winds and heavy snow due to safety. Forest School sessions are planned to involve a mixture of both adult led and child initiated activities. Adult led tasks may involve the teaching and application of pure Forest School skills. Children are taught fire lighting, plant identification or whittling. The teaching of any area of the school curriculum enhances the outdoor learning environment. Children gain inspiration for writing or mini-beast hunts in Science. Forest School provides opportunities for all learners to exceed and excel. Children can excel socially and emotionally as well in their curriculum studies.
We are successful because
1-Since 2018 we raised the profile of Forest School. KS1 data shows that Holbrook are consistently above national expectation at all levels. We know that Forest School sessions have a positive affect on learner attitudes through our pupil perception work... a Year 2 pupil told us, "it helps me to sit still and listen more.". The impact on our improving KS2 results is also demonstrated by what our pupils tell us. One Year 5 pupils said "Forest School teaches me how to look after wildlife and gives me more independence". Another said, "Forest School helps me to concentrate more in other subjects". Other schools in our local area have heard about our successful practice and are inquiring about CPD sessions with us.