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Sankey Valley St James Forest School

The Forest School ethos

Forest School is a unique educational experience and process that offers children the opportunity to succeed and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland environment. Children engage in motivating and achievable tasks and activities throughout the year and in almost all weathers. Children will work with tools, play, learn boundaries of behaviour; both physical and social, grow in confidence, self esteem and motivation whilst developing an understanding of the natural world. Forest School is a long term (minimum 6 weeks), child led, educational process that supports holistic development of children through a mix of play, exploration and learning. Forest School builds on skills and, through leader observations, matches successful activities with individual children’s preferred style of learning to increase self confidence and promote good self esteem through positive encouragement from a key person or ‘significant other’. The Forest School concept originates in Denmark, originally aimed at preschool children, where it was found that children who had attended forest school then arrived at school with strong social and communication skills, having the ability to work in groups effectively, generally had high self-esteem and a confidence in their own abilities. These foundations helped them to raise their academic achievements.

Sankey Valley St James’ Forest

Sankey Valley St James’ Forest

Our 'forest' is a small wooded area at the end of the school field within the boundaries of the school perimeter. The area known as base camp contains a large shelter, fire pit and an area for food prep. We also have a mud kitchen, tyre swing, hammock, stage, music area, den building materials, a small open glade (planted with wild flowers, a wildlife corridor, trees and  grass and a newly planted forest donated by the Woodland Trust. There are old wood piles and bug hotels to attract insects and small mammals. The children are encouraged to investigate and explore but also to respect all living things.

Children learn best from first hand experiences. Exploring, playing and so learning using a range of activities both designed by the leader and instigated by the children themselves is what Forest School is all about. Building a sense of independence, high self esteem and team work are important parts of forest school, but health and safety considerations are always of paramount importance.

Activities

Children will participate in a wide variety of activities including- den building, team building, woodland games, woodland arts and crafts, use of tools, woodland cooking, fire preparation, planting , tree and animal recognition, conservation, tree climbing and working in our mud kitchen. They will also have lots of opportunities to work independently, developing their own idea’s and interests.

The sessions will run on a Monday and will be led by Mrs White a level 3 qualified Forest School Leader. At each session there will also be another member of staff, parent volunteers are also welcome (Please speak to Mrs White if you are interested).

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