As the new Head teacher I am bringing the Forest School ethos to Pinfold. It is important that this is a whole school approach so we are building up our beliefs, resources, knowledge and skills slowly and appropriately to ensure all children, staff, parents and governors are on board.
The Forest School approach believes that it is paramount a child learns how to stay safe and manage risks.
As a child I was fortunate enough to play out all day and every evening. I could climb trees, ride my bike, do handstands against the wall and make rose petal perfume. I got to experience life in every season. It is a different world now for our children. The climate now is that we need to ferry our children around in cars,occupy them with Ipads or DVDs and rarely do they go out to play on their own. Forest School is an ethos that encourages children to be more free in an environment that is secure and safe. I carrried out my Masters Degree research into the impact of Outdoor Education on Children's Learning. the results were very interesting, children who played out regularly throughout the seasons made the most significant progress. The most interesting find for me was that children who rarely spoke in the classroom and lacked confidence, gained confidence and acquired language much more rapidly out of doors. Research shows that boys are likely to increase and improve their speech 25% more when outside. When children were engaged in 'Secret play' in dens, in bushes, in the undergrowth I observed them engaging in wonderfully imaginative play that they had never demonstrated before. I am passionate that all children should have the opportunity for such play.
At the moment we are just going to be using the new garden for our Forest School activities but we are hoping to use the woods behind school so children can climb the more mature trees.
I have attached our Risk Assessment documents and a Forest School Policy for you to read. The policy is written for when we use the woods behind, in the future. I also have Parent and Volunteer booklets, informing you of the progression in skills and knowledge that I am currently updating into a different format and will upload as soon as they are complete. Other resources that may interest you are books:
Forest School and Outdoor Learning in the Early Years Sara Knight
Forest School for All Sarah Knight