The Forest School movement originated in Denmark. It has been an integral part of early years education since the 1980’s when it was introduced as part of an expansion of nursery provision. It is based on the idea that young children can develop enthusiasm for education through the appreciation of nature. In Denmark, Forest Schools have found to boost pupils’ confidence and improved their behaviour and social skills.
At Crondall Primary School we have taken elements from the Forest School movement to create our own woodland programme. This supports learning through play and exploration, where children will learn about the environment, how to handle risks and use their initiative to solve problems and to co-operate with others.
Through regular half termly visits to our woodlands site every child will access learning and development within the natural world around them. Every child will succeed through inspirational, stimulating, hands on experiences, developing their self-esteem, confidence and responsibility.
Our Woodland School is called Woodland Wednesday for KS1 and KS2. One year group a week, will spend the day utlitising the outdoors for their learning. Our progression of skills document ensures children learn age appropriate skills over the course of a year:
Year R have a weekly session of outside learning called ‘Muddy Mondays’. Every Monday afternoon they work on skills in line with the rest of the school, as well as take part in activities that improve their teamwork skills, independence, concentration and emotional wellbeing.
We have a purpose built outside classroom, woodlands around the perimeter of our school, a fully resourced allotment with greenhouse and a pond area. We may also take the children out into the local area to enhance the learning further.
Since its introduction in September 2022 it has been a real success. Here is some of the impact from our staff and children:
“It is great to try out new challenges” Year 6
“Get to be outside and spend time as a team” Year 5
“Enjoyed different activities outside which is fun” Year 3
“I loved the campfire and learning a school campfire song” Year 2
“Children are enjoying the experience of taking the learning outside with a focus on life skills as well as the curriculum”
“Some children have brought their learning from the classroom into real life”
“It was lovely to have the freedom to ‘get dirty’”