‘Kate, what a truly wonderful way to spend a day! You are a joy and delight to spend time with and an inspiration to the children (and us adults too!) Every gorgeous smile on little faces today is proof of how wonderful you are. Every child enthused about their day learning, playing and exploring with you today. School days like this are so important and vital to the children's happiness and mental well-being.
I have thoroughly loved having you back at Trafalgar, Forest school is most definitely the highlight of our year! I am just so sad that our experience is over for this year.
Thank you so much for all that you share with us, it is an absolute honour to learn from you. Counting the days until your return.’
Kelly, Learning Support 🐨🌳🌱🌼🌸xx
'I just wanted to say a massive thank you from me for yesterday. The kids had a ball and were just 'kids' for the day which, as you know, is so important to me. You are amazing and I just love working with you. I am so grateful for all the effort you put in - thank you' ~
Kylie, Pennthorpe Teacher
'I like the food that we have at the end of the session that we cook on the fire.' ~ Jake
'My favourite was the mud kitchen because I liked getting dirty - Yay!' ~ Millie
'Friendship bracelets are fun to make because it's about teamwork and working together.' ~ Gregory
'The main thing that I thought was good, they taught us how to survive in the forest and stay overnight.' ~ Archie
From the Ashes... offers Forest School sessions either within your school setting or alternatively in the grounds of their own woodland. Based in Fittleworth, From the Ashes... is very central within West Sussex and happy to travel to your school to deliver Forest School sessions to children of all ages.
The Forest School values come from the Nordic expression of 'Friluftsliv' which basically translates to 'Free, Air, Life' and describes how the majority of our Nordic countries live their lives - outside. The Scandinavian approach to learning, based on 'Friluftsliv,' uses these elements which in turn gives children the connectedness they require to enable them to enjoy and understand the world in which they live. This philosophical lifestyle is based on experiences of freedom in nature and the spiritual connectedness with the landscape. It involves an unconditional encounter with nature, in the same way that a glance with a friend requires a connection between two elements. Learning through hands-on activities, children build confidence, develop skills, enhance self-esteem, broaden their understanding and knowledge of their environment and friendships flourish.
With the constraints of children not having the choice to roam free and due to our risk averse society and the concerns of parents with 'stranger danger,' children are not given the opportunity of experiencing outside play, unmanned by adults, enjoying the great outdoors where they can unleash their inner self. Forest School is an enabler of just that, giving children the freedom to experience the great outdoors, safe in the knowledge that all activities and sites have been fully risk assessed and checked prior to the children taking part in the experience.
The aim of Forest School is to develop the skills of collaboration, cooperation, team building and awareness of the natural environment. Children spend the sessions developing their knowledge and understanding of the natural world and generally having fun in a safe environment. The choices are child-initiated and adult-facilitated, giving empowerment to the individual, whilst at the same time understanding the risks and challenges of the tasks that they complete. Children improve their understanding and appreciation of their outside environment and the impact of their own actions on a place. Forest School is a unique educational experience using nature as a classroom where children can build a firm connection with nature through experiential learning.
Forest School Principles
The Forest School ethos has six principles which practitioners abide by for good practice:
1. Forest School is a long-term process of frequent and regular sessions delivered throughout the seasons
* Ideally once a week for six sessions, with the same group of children
* A programme is based on the observations and collaborative work between learners an practitioners
* Initial sessions establish the physical and behavioural boundaries in order to inform future activities
2. Forest School takes place in a natural environment, preferably with trees
* Forest School aims to develop a relationship between learner and nature, in order to encourage long-term enviromentally sustainable attitudes
* Forest School uses natural resources for inspiration to encourage ideas and enable intrinsic motivation of individuals
* Being delivered in an outdoor environment, Forest School provides the time and space in which to discover and explore
3. Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all learners promoting resilience, confidence, independence and creativity
* The Forest School Practitioner aims to link experiences and activities to home, work and education
* A Forest School programme aims to develop a learners physical, social, cognitive, linguistic, emotional and spiritual elements of life
* Forest School activites should promote self-esteem, confidence, resilience and character
4. Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take assessed risks appropriate to the individuals and the environment
* Forest School opportunities are designed to build on a learner's innate motivation, positive attitude and interests
* Forest School uses tools and fire, only where deemed appropriate to the group and the environment
* All Forest School activities are assessed with a Risk-Benefit process managed by both the Forest School Practitioner and the learners
5. All Forest School programmes are run by qualified Forest School Practitioners who continually maintain and develop their professional practice
* Forest School sessions are delivered by qualified Level 3 Practitioners, accredited by the Forest School Association
* A high ratio of adults to learners enables the activities to take place
* All Forest School Pratitioners must maintain their First Aid, Food Hygiene, Disclosure and Barring Service, Insurance and handbook regularly
6. Forest School uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community of learning and development
* The Forest School Practitioner endeavours to respond to the needs and interests of its learners and plans appropriately
* Play and choice are an integral part of the Forest School programme, as play is recognised as a vital part of learning and development
* Forest School provides a reflective, stimulus for all learning abilities and preferences, and through careful planning accommodates all dispositions