Forest School at Broadclyst in now in its second year and proving very successful. Each term a different group of Year 4 pupils enjoy the activities and experiences in the forest, either in the on-site orchard or over at Martinsfield Farm.
The programme combines practical skills and activities with techniques to encourage creativity, independence, raise self-confidence and self-esteem and promote social skills. The same group of children attends a number of sessions, usually at weekly intervals, of about two hours duration, so that they build up their skills as the weeks progress. Its cross-curricular approach fits with the school’s ethos and aims of providing a rich and broad curriculum that builds confidence and produces creative thinkers and problem-solvers.
Originally a Scandanavian concept, Forest Schools have been proven to be an effective foundation that has raised academic achievements. The children develop a variety of life skills: altruism, independence, self-awareness and social communication skills, all of which assist individuals to grow in self-esteem and confidence. In studies, children have appeared to: be more balanced with greater social capability, have fewer days off sick; be more able to concentrate and have better co-ordination with a greater ability to work in groups.
This year the children in Year 1 will all get the opportunity to take part in Forest School. The sessions are led by Julie Bateman and the Year 1 teachers, and will take place at both her Forest School site at Martinsfield farm and at our school site. The children will get the opportunity to identify and use local flora and fauna and will be encouraged to explore and use all their senses. Tools are used in Forest Schools in a traditional woodland manner and this use of tools in the wood promotes trust and self-confidence within those taking part and their use will develop both gross and fine motor skills. They will have the opportunity to learn about the natural environment, how to handle risks and most importantly to use their own initiative to solve problems and co-operate with others.