What is Forest School?
Forest School is a unique educational experience and process that offers children the opportunity to develop confidence and self-esteem and be successful 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. They work with tools, learn boundaries of behaviour (both physical and social), play, grow in confidence, self-esteem and motivation whilst developing an understanding of the natural world. The Forest School concept originates from Denmark, and is aimed at pre-school children, where it was found that those who had attended then arrived at school with strong social and communication skills, having the ability to work in groups effectively, generally with high self-esteem and a confidence in their own abilities. These foundations helped them to raise their academic achievements.
Some activities at our Forest School include:
Getting ready for Forest School
When is Forest School?
Our commitment to Outdoor Education
We have committed a large amount of money and time to create our own fantastic environmental area. The area has vegetable and flower beds, a small orchard, pond, fire pit and cosy corners for pupils to investigate and work in. All year groups have a designated raised bed in which to grow their own vegetables and plants. Last year pupils planted beetroot, courgettes, herbs, lettuce, peas and radishes which were sold to buy further resources for our environmental area. We feel growing and nurturing our own produce is a great way to get our pupils thinking about food and where it comes from. Our Extended School Co-ordinator, Mrs Cox, has attended extensive training as our Forest School Leader. The pupils have been enjoying den building, which is a great opportunity for them to work and play together in their finished constructions. Our fire pit has also been used for cooking pancakes and toasting marshmallows. Pupils who are part of a nurture group have benefited greatly from these activities by developing their sense of worth and increasing their confidence.
We have recently secured external funding to the sum of £10k to build an outdoor classroom for our environmental area. We hope to secure additional funding for decking, outdoor clothing and other resources.
How can our school community help?
We need the support of all members of our school community, particularly our parents/carers and grandparents, to help us prepare and develop areas of our environmental area for future projects. Activities include:
- Planting seeds in the potting shed
- Growing vegetables and bedding plants
- Litter picking
- Clearing areas to prepare for future developments
Our ‘Dunston Goes Green Club’ meets at key times during the school year. If you are interested in volunteering your services and “green fingers” please contact either Mrs Cox or our school office for further details.