Dr South’s Primary School is committed to giving children the opportunity to learn in the outdoor environment. We believe that taking learning outside is good for promoting children’s self-esteem, well-being, behaviour, co-operative learning and problem solving. These skills feedback positively into classroom work and other settings.

We run the Forest School Programme which builds on the natural instinct to learn and explore that everybody is born with. It offers opportunities for children to make choices for their own learning and to take and manage risks. Development of these skills encourages positive attitudes and behaviour.

The sessions are not in the form of planned learning activities but instead are led by the interests of the learners. The adults at each session set up a range of opportunities which are linked to a skill area that has been identified as needing work (such as negotiation, listening skills, fine motor skills or management of energy levels). At the beginning of the session the activities are outlined and each child explores these activities throughout the session. The children determine the rate, direction, depth and breadth of their learning. They are encouraged to revisit both skills and projects they have completed in previous weeks to see how time and the environment have had an effect on them and also to ensure that their learning is secure.

Children may enjoy such experiences as building shelters, woodland craftwork, telling stories, cooking over fires, climbing trees, hunting for minibeasts and making mud pies. As the programme develops, woodland tools are introduced to extend learning and provide new opportunities for risk management.

The original concept of Forest School began in Sweden in the 1950s and has since developed throughout other Scandinavian and European countries. It was brought to the UK in the 1980s and has since grown exponentially throughout the UK, with many schools now offering some form of Forest School provision.

The sessions are staffed by a qualified Forest School leader, with support from Teaching Assistants and volunteers with a passion for Forest School and the Forest School approach.  We are always looking for volunteers to join our team.

We monitor the impact of Forest School through our work on positive Learning Attitudes.

More information can be found at: http://www.forestschoolassociation.org/