Hilltop Tots Forest School
What is a Forest School?
The concept originated in Scandinavia, where schools use local woodland areas to hold outdoor activities which foster children’s problem-solving and cooperation skills, as well as their confidence and self-esteem.
We are proud to provide the first forest school in Talke and surrounding areas. We are lucky to have such a beautiful resource in our own grounds and access to other local natural spaces and to be able to provide this as part of our curriculum. We believe in the philosophy which underpins Forest School, to encourage and inspire children to develop their personal, social and emotional skills through participation in tasks and activities
Which are motivating and achievable. We aim to provide a unique teaching and learning experience in an ever changing environment, encouraging children’s curiosity, stimulating their senses, building self-confidence and nurturing their well-being.
Utilising out Forest School as part of our curriculum will further provide unique opportunities to engage with nature, explore and enquire, developing language and reasoning skills, independence, perseverance and risk management skills. We will do this through child lead, staff lead activities and group work, providing hands on experience and outcomes discovered by the child.
As with all aspects of our curriculum, we aim to raise our children’s self-esteem, to encourage our children to become emotionally resilient and independent, and to be empathetic towards others, which in turn will enable more effective learning as they take ownership of their learning and the confident to have a go and learn from their mistakes.
What was your happiest childhood memory? Was it watching television? Or was it climbing a tree, running along a windswept beach or paddling in a stream?
What are the benefits of a forest school?
There has been lots of research into the benefits of Forest Schools which have demonstrated the significant benefits of Forest schools.
Some of the Benefits that have been identified are:
- Increased self-esteem and self-confidence
- Improved social skills
- The development of language and communication skills
- Improved physical motor skills
- Improved motivation and concentration
- Increased knowledge and understanding of the environment
What will Forest School activities include?
ACTIVITIES WILL INCLUDE:
- Exploring the woodland
- Making dens
- Getting messy and creative in areas such as the mud kitchen
- Planting and growing crops and plants
- Climbing trees
- Exploring the river and streams in activities such as pond dipping
- Learning about fire safety through cooking on a fire
- Learning about and investigating insects, animals, plants and trees
- Working as a team and practising problem-solving
- Learning about boundaries and managing risk through risk assessment
- Learning about the natural environment and the impact of our actions
- Learning the safe use of tools, such as bow saws, whittlers and mini-drills
How do we manage risk in Forest School?
We believe that children need to be exposed to an appropriate level of risk. We work with our children to help them understand risk and how to risk asses and manage risk. The Forest School leader will complete with the rest of the team an overall site risk assessment. A daily risk assessment is also completed to check any changes that have occurred to the site. All activities within Forest School are risk assessed individually
At Hilltop Tots we ensure a high staff to child ratio and we will particularly ensure this during Forest School sessions. There will also be a paediatric first aid trained staff member available at all times.
Forest school parent consent
Forest School activities are not compulsory and consent will be obtained from parents before children are able to take part in activities.
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