Orchard Day Nursery is very proud to offer Forest School sessions to all children (aged two years 9 months and upwards) as part of their regular Nursery/Pre-school days.
Forest School sessions can take part out in the local woodlands, or on site at the Nursery. We have Forest School trained and qualified staff who lead the sessions alongside the staff team, in addition to our other fantastic activities, as described in ‘Growing with Orchard’ Please click here for more information. What is Forest School? Forest School initiated in Scandinavia, where outdoor education is recognised as a fantastic way of inspiring and encouraging children through positive, fun, outdoor experiences.
It is an opportunity for children to experience nature and the outdoor environment, in a safe, secure and hands-on way. Building a sense of high self-esteem, confidence and independence are all fostered through our Forest School programme. Whilst Forest School activities are not prescribed, careful planning and consideration is given to the sessions, a shared process between the staff and children. By doing this we endeavour to enhance and enrich the EYFS curriculum through Forest School.
As defined in the EYFS ‘Children learn by leading their own play, and by taking part in play which is guided by adults’(EYFS, 2014: 9) therefore highlighting the importance of the role of the adult during children’s play. Staff understand the value of seeking to engage children in the teaching/learning process, and therefore our approach is structured, but not overdirected. The site has been risk assessed and the children will take part in the risk assessment process during the sessions, helping them to identify and manage potential hazards such as poisonous plants, animals on site, low lying branches, stinging nettles etc.
This is all part of the learning process giving them an awareness of the natural world and an understanding of self-care in respect of managing their own safety and hygiene in the outdoors. History of Forest School in the UK: Forest School was first established in the UK in 1993, at Bridgewater College, Somerset. A small team of practitioners visited Denmark and observed the benefits of learning through a natural environment. The team were so impressed with what they observed, that they returned to the UK and applied the same principles to childcare provision in Somerset.
The philosophy of Forest School embraced children’s natural curiosity, inspired imagination and promoted learning in a holistic way. In 1995 Bridgewater developed a BTech in Forest School to enable practitioners to acquire the skills and ethos behind Forest School and gain a formal qualification. In 2012 the Forest School Association (FSA) was formed as an independent, national body to represent Forest School. This currently represents the main sectors involved with Forest school, such as; Early Years, Primary, Secondary, Private Sector, Special Needs, Wildlife Trusts, Training Providers and Forestry. This has undoubtedly shaped the future for all Forest School provisions, providing training and a consistent approach to the Forest School ethos.
Their commitment is to be the ‘professional body and dedicated voice for Forest School within the UK’ (What is Forest School Association? Forest School Association, 2016.)Since then Forest School has gone from strength to strength across the UK and there is increasing demand for Forest School Provision.