The children from Farlington School’s Nursery and Reception classes have been enjoying their Forest School sessions in the spring sunshine.
These classes were recently praised in the Independent Schools Inspectorate report, where it commented that Early Years Foundation Stage “children develop good skills in all areas, and excellent speaking and listening, creative and imaginative development. These skills are nurtured, in particular, through outdoor learning, which enables children to take risks and have adventures whilst learning to keep themselves safe in a secure environment.”
Farlington School has an active Forest School programme, which has been running through the Pre-Prep classes since 2013 and makes great use of its attractive grounds.
Outdoor learning is a way of stimulating a child’s innate curiosity and providing a learning environment that stimulates and utilises the senses of touch, hearing, sight and smell. It is about connecting with the natural world and learning to manage risk. Forest School provides situations where children can use tools to whittle wood or spark a fire, thus letting them learn to take measured risks.
It’s really important that they learn to develop empathy for the group and take self-calculated risks – Claire Hunting, Farlington’s Forest School leader
Claire Hunting, Farlington’s Forest School leader, says, “The children love their Forest School sessions, whatever the weather. It is an inspirational process that offers children regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence through hands-on learning in a woodland environment. In the early sessions we plan for every child, but we then let the children take the lead. It’s really important that they learn to develop empathy for the group and take self-calculated risks.
“By playing in the mud kitchen, for example, children’s self-esteem and self-confidence build as they use role play and learn to play in small groups. The Forest School initiative has had a positive impact on the children’s learning at Farlington and the children thoroughly enjoy their weekly sessions.”