Forest School Experience
What is Forest School?
Bayonne Nursery has been successfully running Forest School since March 2007. James Lee Nursery introduced and has been successfully running Forest School since May 2013.
Forest School originates from Scandinavia and has become popular in the UK over the last 15 years. It is an approach to outdoor learning and provides children with a valuable opportunity to learn the natural environment through play.
Forest School provides opportunities for children to develop their self-esteem, self-confidence and become independent learners. Children have the time and space to be able to develop their physical and social skills as they play and explore in the natural environment. They learn how to handle risk and develop their problem solving skills and develop their ability to work together as a team. This also supports children’s physical and mental well being.
What do the children do at Forest School?
We allow the children the time and space to explore the forest environment independently and also set up some challenging activities. These are some of the activities the children are involved in at Forest School:
- Explore large areas of green space, learning through their experiences about the environment
- Look at and handle minibeasts (insects, worms and spiders)
- Observe animals, plants and trees in a woodland setting
- Build dens and bridges using natural materials
- Learn how to climb trees and logs safely
- Learn what tools are useful and how to use them safely
- Play in puddles
- Squelch through mud
- Create art outdoors
- Tell and act out stories
- Share the social experience of a picnic lunch
- Share these experiences with their friends and teachers
Where do the children go for Forest School and how do you get there?
We are currently visiting Wimbledon Common. Each group of children go for 1 day a week for 5 weeks. The children come to nursery as normal on their Forest School days. We have a minibus that collects us from outside nursery and brings us back before the end of the school day.
Up to 12 children go per session with no less than 3 adults. This is a higher ratio of adult to child than in the nursery.
What about my child’s safety?
Forest School staff undertakes regular risk assessments on the sites visited. There are policies and procedures in place that must be followed. All staff are first aid trained and have contact with the staff and rangers at Wimbledon Common. The staff carry mobile phones and walkie talkies and will keep in contact with each other and the nursery regularly. The children are encouraged to be aware of their own safety and that of their friends at Forest School. At the start of every session the children sit as a group and through the ‘things to remember at Forest School’. These are a few rules that the children follow and develop an understanding of when exploring the woodland areas.
Do they need special clothes?
The nursery provides good quality waterproof dungarees and jackets that the children wear over their clothes. These are washed after each session. A clothes check list will be provided before your child starts their forest school session.
The children will need to take a packed lunch (NO NUTS). Although we would encourage a `healthy` packed lunch it is more important that the children have food they want to eat as they are very busy at Forest School and will need an energy boost. The group have the opportunity for snacks if they wish during the day so a cereal bar or similar is a good idea and include plenty of drink as well. Packed lunch needs to be inside a sealed lunchbox or container so that their sandwiches don’t get squashed or dirty from the forest environment. The children’s packed lunch should also be in a rucksack so that they can carry it themselves.
Do I get to ask questions? Can I come along?
Parent/carers are given notice of when it is their child’s turn to go to Forest School. You will be invited to a meeting where the Forest School Coordinator will go through all the information you may need and answer any questions you may have.
On the very last session parents/carers are invited to come along to our Family Day. You will be able to join in with Forest School activities and you child can share their experience with you.