Intent – Forest School at Willowcroft
It is our vision for every pupil to succeed and achieve their potential as well as lead physically and mentally active lifestyles. We strive to inspire our pupils through fun and engaging Forest School sessions that are enjoyable, challenging and accessible to all. We have fully embraced the Scandinavian concept of ‘friluftsliv’ (free open-air life in Danish) and understand the benefits of Forest School for our children.
Our intent for Forest School at Willowcroft is that children:
- Have increase self-esteem and self-confidence
- Improve co-operation, communication skills and awareness of others
- Increase motivation, self-discovery and positive attitude towards learning
- Encourage ownership and pride in the local environment
- Encourage a better understanding of the outdoors
- Increase the skills and knowledge.
Our Forest School staff are highly trained individuals who can oversee potentially hazardous activities such as fire making and tree climbing. Children are encouraged to work out problems for themselves and take the lead, whether through identifying safe trees to climb or discovering and mapping ant nests. They go out whatever the weather, snow, hail or sunshine.
Here at Willowcroft we like to incorporate the curriculum into our Forest School. We might link lessons on Romans to make bows and arrows out of wood. Science might involve filtering sediments with tree taps, making elderflower cordial or identifying bugs using a magnifying glass. Sessions can inspire essays and art, or incorporate physical and mental tasks such as balancing on a tree-to-tree tightrope or mindfulness in a hammock looking at the sky. The children could be crawling through spider webs or enjoying a hot chocolate by the fire. The activities at Forest School are endless. There are also great opportunities for teambuilding – making and testing shelters, for example - and self-esteem workshops. And there’s time for plenty of fun, digging in the mud, building dams, running through fallen leaves.