At Oasis Long Cross Resource Base we understand the need to teach children in a holistic way. Forest Learning is a fantastic opportunity for us to continue this teaching style in a woodland environment.
Bonnie and the Resource Base team have been working hard to develop forest learning sessions across the Resource Base. Each class now has a Forest Learning session every week and some classes have made links with nursery classes to provide inclusive sessions.
Holistic development is an approach to learning that aims to simultaneously develop the whole child rather than focusing on compartmentalised areas. One analogy used to describe holistic development is ‘if you have several blobs of jelly all next to each other and you tap one, all of the blobs will wobble not just the one you touched’
Why Forest Learning?
- Child led learning, based on children’s own enquiries and interests
- Empowers children to become independent and confident
- Encourages children to manage and take risks
- Activities are based on small achievable tasks to build confidence
- Reduced behaviour challenges due to open ended learning and more freedom
- Develop children’s self-esteem
- Develops relationship skills
- Clear structure with a distinct beginning and end
- Develops physical skills and spatial awareness
- Encourages creative thinking and problem solving
- Develops a can do attitude
- Promotes a sense of pride and enjoyment of learning
- Develops danger awareness and safety skills
- Develops play skills
- Develops an understanding of their world
Forest Learning Sessions Structure:
Safety check of the grounds before the session
Welcome at base camp - Most forest school sessions begin at a base camp with a group activity. This may be a song, a story or a game to promote social and emotional development and introduce the activity.
Safety walk with the children* - The children engage in a safety walk of the area. This gives children the opportunity to learn about potential risks and how they can manage risks within their own capabilities.
Activity/Provocation or Free exploration (scaffolded and observed by adults) - The children are given free choice to either engage in the planned activity or follow their own interests and enquiries.
5 minute warning children are given a clear warning that session will be ending to reduce frustration when it ends
Plenary at base camp - The session typically ends back a base camp with a discussion about what they have been doing and future sessions, using children’s interests and contributions.
*currently we are choosing not to do this due to children’s attention levels and understanding of Forest Learning areas. We may introduce it with some of the group as the weeks progress.