FOREST SCHOOL LEARNING
We have been given this wonderful opportunity to turn an area of wasteland that runs alongside the Nursery into our very own little Forest.
Vivien Gordon (founder and patron of The Ark) came up with the fantastic idea to offer forest school education to children from the local community. Not only will the Scouts, Cubs and Beavers benefit from the use of the Forest but we will be offering Forest School sessions to the Nursery and Forest School programmes to Local Schools.
Like Montessori, Forest School learning is based around the interests of that individual child. The two methods of learning complement and support each other.
The idea of Forest School education originated in Scandinavia and is now being used all over the UK. It allows children to learn and develop in an outdoor environment independently and at their own pace. Forest School is an inspirational process that offers ALL learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees. Forest School can be applied to all ages and abilities and can be linked to the National Curriculum and Early Years Foundation Stage at the same time providing an even further and richer learning experience.
Links related: www.greenbow.co.uk
The lore of Nature
"In the UK Forest School may seem a fairly new movement. In reality it is based on a rich heritage of outdoor learning going back at least to the 19th century. Philosophers, naturalists and educators in Europe and the UK such as Wordsworth, Ruskin, Baden Powell, Leslie Paul (who founded the Woodcraft Folk in 1925), Kurt Hahn (who founded Gordonstone and was the inspiration for our first outdoor education centres), Susan Isaacs and the Macmillan sisters all laid the foundations for what is known as Forest School today. During the 1970s and 80s our education system moved toward a more teacher/outcome-centred approach in an attempt to improve numeracy and literacy, in particular, and we had the introduction of the national curriculum. Somewhat in response to this, there was a growth of ‘alternative’ educational models in the 1990s and it is in this context that Forest School emerged.“
“Why is the woodland locality as effective as it is? It comes down to the enormous diversity of natural materials (different shapes and sizes easily to hand), the nurturing ambience found beneath a canopy of trees, and a context which requires solutions that work rather than theories that have no grounding in actual experience. It is that actual experience that is the key to learning which sticks and stays, rather than that lost with time.” - Patrick Harrison, Forest School Teacher and Trainer