Forest School offers the children of St Mary's regular opportunities to achieve, grow spiritually and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a natural environment. Forest School is a specialised approach that sits within and complements the wider context of outdoor learning.
At Forest School, our children are given the ability, not only to learn about the world around them, but to take natural risks. It also gives them opportunites to develop their independence whilst being aware of safety and the consequences of their actions. Forest School can help to develop many social skills such as communication and teamwork.
Our Assistant Headteacher, Miss Atkinson, has recently qualified as a Forest School Leader and throughout the year, children in all years will have sessions of outdoor learning. Each session will last approximately two hours. The sessions are uninterrupted and longer than usual so that the children can explore their natural environment and learn at their own rate.
The rules of Forest School are reinforced at every session. There is an expectation that standards of behaviour will be high and that there will be a respect for one another and the environment.
At the beginning of each session, the Leader will recap on previous learning with the children and introduce a new learning opportunity giving guidance about how they can succeed. The children can then use previously taught skills and apply them in independently chosen activities. The children are taught skills such as leaf, tree and mini-beast identification, how to tie knots and other joining techniques so that they can build dens. They will also learn how to use tools safely. At the end of the Forest School session, everyone returns to base camp to reflect on their learning. During this time there is the chance for stillness, silence and and contemplation.