Forest School is an approach to education that embraces the outdoors as a learning environment.
It is about children experiencing regular, weekly sessions - for a set period of weeks - to develop their forest skills. Each year group will have the chance to take part in a series of Forest School lessons at our site at the Cumberland Arena. We have also, more recently, introduced our own outdoor classroom and small Forest School area within the school grounds. During lessons, pupils will build self-confidence, become more independent, learn new skills, work as part of a team and improve their communication skills. All sessions are outdoor and therefore pupils need to be dressed appropriately for the weather. Pupils may take part in activities such as fire-lighting, cooking on an open fire, natural artwork, nightline, den building, toolwork, team-building activities and construction using different types of knots. Lessons build on the OAA programme taught in PE and prepares them for their trip, with skills such as problem solving, orienteering and den building all taught at school.
As a result, pupils have shown increased confidence, improved behaviour and gained leadership skills as a result of the programme, whilst gaining fantastic experiences in the forest.
Children follow aspects of the usual curriculum but in an outdoor context, using learning and teaching strategies which raise self-esteem, develop confidence, independence and language and communication skills.
At Forest School, children learn to assess and manage risks and develop lifelong learning skills. Forest School has physical, social and health benefits; helping young people to enjoy physical activity outdoors in increasingly sedentary lives.
At Brierley, we are very fortunate to have a dedicated PE and Forest School leader – Mr Foulkes.
Our Forest Schools programme was introduced in 2013/14 and has seen classes undertake 8-10hrs of Forest School, often culminating in a trip to the forest. Forest School takes place in all weathers and all seasons. Children and adults must be dressed appropriately as ‘there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing!’