Forest School at Cleadon Church of England Academy
At Cleadon Church of England Academy, we believe that our Forest School provides an opportunity to engage in a wide range of learning experiences for our children. They will develop their self-esteem and confidence whilst developing their awareness of different types of risk and how to manage them. We want children to learn through their play in the outdoors in order to develop a range of skills and attitudes (independence, curiosity, resilience, collaboration and an appreciation of the natural world) which they will embed in their everyday life.
In Forest School sessions, children engage in a range of activities in the outdoor setting which are led by our trained Forest School Leaders. These can include:
- Making sculptures and art with natural materials
- Tool work e.g., shovels, loppers, bow saw,
- Cooking on the open fire
- Tying knots
- Team games
- Imaginary play
- Mini-beast spotting
Wherever possible, the work will be linked to topics within other subjects across the wider curriculum.
Our Forest School Site
Regular sessions take place on our site which has been in a state of constant development over the past couple of years. Our wooded area is located away from the main building at the edge of the field. Over time, we aim to add a permanent fire-pit area, forest classroom, mud-kitchen, wild-flower raised beds, hedgehog shelters, bird-boxes and much more. By working with the children to create our annual action plan, we ensure they are engaged in the development of the forest school throughout the year.
We use the principles of the Forest School Association to support our practice.
Forest School Association information:
What is quality Forest School?
Quality Forest School is delivery which holds to all six key principles that shape and govern the Forest School ethos. There are many forms of outdoor education and all have enormous value, however, Forest School is unique in its reach, delivery and effect. These six principles are:
- Forest School is a long-term process of regular sessions, rather than one-off or infrequent visits; the cycle of planning, observation, adaptation and review links each session.
- Forest School takes place in a woodland or natural environment to support the development of a lifelong relationship between the learner and the natural world.
- Forest School uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for being, development and learning.
- Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners.
- Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.
- Forest School is run by qualified Forest School practitioners, who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice.
The Forest School programme will support young children to develop responsibility for themselves, others and the environment. It will encourage early risk management strategies that will ensure that young children start to consider the impact of their actions.
During any Forest school session, the safety and well-being of children and adults is paramount. There is always a qualified first aider on site during a forest school session with the relevant first aid kit. The emergency action plan is shared with all adults prior to any forest school session and all forest school leaders carry walkie-talkies. Risk assessments are available for the activities that we take part in and these are reviewed regularly to ensure that they are relevant and up-to-date.