Forest School is a unique method of outdoor learning. At Dudley Wood our aim is to encourage and inspire children through positive outdoor experiences. Children will have the opportunity to learn about the natural environment, how to handle risks and most importantly, to use their own initiative to solve problems and co-operate with others. The children use tools, build shelters, play, use natural resources for art and craft, learn about fire building use the area for drama and music and in doing so, learn boundaries of behaviour; both physical and social.
Dudley Wood Forest School aims to foster a relationship with nature through regular personal experiences in order to develop long-term environmentally sustainable attitudes and practices in both staff and learners. The programmes aim to develop where appropriate, the physical, social, cognitive, linguistic, emotional, social and spiritual aspects of the learner.
Forest School is a long term process of frequent and regular sessions in a natural environment, rather than a one-off visit. Our planning, adaptation, observations and reviewing are integral elements of Forest School.
Our sessions will take place regularly, ideally at least every other week, with the same group of learners, over an extended period of time, if practicable encompassing the seasons.
Forest School is about exploring and experiencing the natural world through practical activities. The children go out in all weathers, all year round if possible, wearing appropriate clothing, exploring and learning from the seasons and environment changes.
The children will abide by rules and set standards of behaviour, to work cooperatively in groups, and to respect each other.
The woodland area is ideally suited to match the needs of the programme and the learners, providing them with the space and environment in which to explore and discover. It uses natural resources for inspiration, to enable ideas and to encourage intrinsic motivation.
The children’s interests, along with the varied natural resources in our woodland, are used to stimulate creative thinking, problem solving and skill development.
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 world around them and are encouraged to respect their environment and to be aware of conservation issues of the wild area around them.
The impact of Forest school will be seen through the well-being, behaviour and personal growth of our pupils.
Through observation during forest school sessions and back in the classroom, and through pupil voice, we will see children who will have grown in confidence as a result of the freedom, time and space they are given in their learning; and they will become fitter and healthier children.
They will develop their ability to share and participate as part of a group, strengthening their bonds and social skills.
They will develop their self-esteem and imagination, be able to take appropriate risks with boundaries and will, more and more, initiate learning for themselves.
Characteristics of a forest schooler
Whole school overview