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Forest School

"Forest School is an inspirational process offering ALL learners regular opportunites to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees. Forest School is a specialised learning approach that sits within and complements the wider context of outdoor learning".

https://forestschoolassociation.org/

Forest School Ethos

The Forest School is based within the school grounds and covers a large area with many different trees and plants.

The freedom of Forest School enables the children to test their physical limits and demonstrate independence. This engagement with nature and the outdoors boosts cognitive development and leads to healthier, happier minds therefore promoting good mental health and well-being in the children.

At Thomas A Becket we are passionate about the outdoors. During Forest School sessions the children are given the freedom to choose their own learning and encouraged to follow their own interests. The children have the opportunity to develop life skills such as collaboration, resilience, independence and communication as well as building knowledge, respect and understanding for their local environment and the natural world.

These values and skills feed back into every aspect of the children’s life and learning at the school and assist them in fulfilling their potential.

 

The Forest School is funded purely through voluntary donations and fund raising, any contributions towards the running of forest school are greatly received.

Many of our children also come down to the farm to read with the animals.

In our Forest School sessions, the children have the opportunity to collect and then use some of our duck eggs to cook ‘eggy bread’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Six Principles of Forest School

 

At Thomas A Becket we base our Forest School experiences for our children on the six principles of Forest School:

1. Developing a relationship between learners and the natural world that features mutuality and compassion.

2. Facilitating a programme of regular contact with the natural world that make deeper, caring nature connections.

3. Working in a learner-centred way whereby an ‘equal’ learning community is developed where there is a combination of autonomous and communal learning, featuring joint decision making regarding the learning. Forest School follows a constructivist approach whereby the learning, in and of, the real natural world and the learners themselves emerges.

4. Risk taking in a safe context is encouraged, enabling learners to move into their learning zones where they can manage their own risks, be they emotional, physical, cognitive or social risks.

5. Developing the whole person, supporting cognitive processes and fostering creative, resilient, physically healthy independent learners.

6. Practitioners who are qualified and continually reflect on, question and develop, their own learning and Forest School facilitation.

Wildlife Cam

This year the children have had the amazing opportunity to observe some of the local wildlife. In early April, a family of foxes took up residence in our meadow area. The foxes built a large den and quickly welcomed six cubs into the world. Thanks to Mr Ray and his wildlife camera the children and staff have been able to safely observe these cubs growing, feeding and exploring the world around them. Recently, we have been observing the squirrels. We have been able to watch as they use their tails and unique climbing skills to find the food in the squirrel feeding station. Next year, we are hoping to further develop our outdoor learning spaces to include bird boxes and bird feeders.

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