Eco and Forest School 2020 - 2021
At Boundary, our school vision is for all children to be ‘the best that they can be’. We build on character and encourage our children to practise this outside of the school grounds. As part of this vision, we have the opportunity to enhance the breath of our curriculum by incorporating a designated Forest School area, run by a Forest school practitioner. This allows for outdoor learning to be as part of a routine. The aim is that this LOtC (Learning outside the classroom) will uphold the high expectations and high standards that Boundary school sets for its pupils and will serve as a principle to increase their life skills and experiences throughout their primary school education.
For a detailed understanding of the Intent, Implementation and Impact please see below.
- Build resilient, determined and autonomous learners,
- Build self-esteem and confidence in children
- Transfer negative behaviours into positive ones
- Enable children to gain respect for wildlife and their natural environment
- Expand their life skills and experiences
- Develop and build ideas of risk management and risk benefit
- Encourage collaboration
- Develop and boost creativity
- Improve personal, social and emotional development
- Let children be children
- Each year group will have a timetabled session, once a week for three weeks and will meet again at a different time of year. This will allow for each class from reception to continue to and have partaken in, a minimum of six experiences, until its culmination and children leave in year six
- To ensure this LOtC curriculum reaches the high standard and learning which we pride ourselves on at Boundary, this progressive curriculum will be in addition to the quality outdoor learning the children will engage in with their class teachers
- From the sessions, children will become more well-rounded and prepared individuals, supporting and caring for their peers due to a focus placed on understanding and generating empathy
- Creating independent learners is important within Boundary as it allows for children to gain an understanding of how the world comes not only with risk but also reward
- Furthermore, it will increase a child’s awareness to decide their own limits. Taking part within activities which test them, can only allow for children to push through them
- Forest school encourages problem solving logical thinking, self-reflection and evaluation but most of all pupils will see mistakes are not failures as learning is an instinct part of their life
What is Forest School?
Forest School originated in Scandinavia and was brought to the UK in the early 1990s. Sessions are always child led (to foster independence), long term (to build trust and relationships) and outside (to gain the many physical and emotional benefits from being in nature). The Forest School ethos aims to promote students’ confidence, social skills, sense of self-worth and emotional well being in an outdoors environment.
Children are not directly taught but are encouraged to find things out for themselves through play (games, stories, creative expression and sharing.) Through play, the child develops their initiative and imagination (problem-solving), learns resilience and resourcefulness (perseverance and determination), how to give and ask for help and support from peers (emotional intelligence and teamwork), and how to appropriately self-manage risk in an increasingly risky world.
What happens in Forest School?
Activities are provided during a forest school session, but the emphasis is on the children choosing what they do. Activities might include den building, log transportations, cutting firewood and fire building, crafts such as making a dream catcher or clay creatures, group games, flora and fauna ID as well as stories and collaborative activities.
The obvious benefits of improved coordination and physical health from doing activities outside are enhanced by opportunities to develop imagination and initiative; problem-solving and perseverance. Children are encouraged to try things out and learn from experience, rather than rigidly following a set of instructions. This often involves learning how to work as a team to get something done.
At Boundary, we are using the WILD passport, which has been developed to allow us to monitor skills and knowledge progression in our Forest School Sessions. The WILD passport is split into five specific sections: Woodcraft, Shelter, Fire, Nature and Rope.
Meet Jenna Benson!
At Boundary, we are lucky to our own Forest school practitioner Jenna, who has been with us for several years. Before Jenna was a practitioner for outside learning she was a park ranger for four years. When asked what impact Jenna feels Forest school has on children, she said;
“Forest school is important for a child’s emotional intelligence and well-being. What’s important for a child’s development is what the additional nature-experience gives us, in respect of awareness, mobility and space to learn. Children gain more structure to handle their emotions and grow in the ability to cope with unusual situations and reflect on their own head space. Outdoor leaning allows for better communication, gives them the extra space to gain skills which would be beneficial for survival in more ways than one.”
Thank you Jenna for implementing this opportunity for our children.
Eco Curriculum At a Glance