Forest school and Outdoor Learning
We are fortunate to have amazing grounds at Stanton CP including our very own forest. Named Freedom Forest by a child who said 'I feel free out in the forest' - what a lovely state of mind and one I'm sure many adults can relate to from their own childhood. Forest School sessions and Outdoor learning often adds context to topics we learn more about in the classroom and helps embed learning- again think about your own experiences as a child- how many of your memories are outside compared with inside? Not only are we able to see academic learning outside we also see life skills such as self-regulation, risk taking, team work, resilience and confidence building. There is also a lot of research in to how fresh air and nature is beneficial to not just physical health but to a persons mental health too! Win, win!
We welcome parent helpers to our Forest School sessions- many of which enjoy it as much as the children and look forward to it too! I've had parents learning how to light fires, climb trees, make tree houses, forage, cook on a fire for the first time and chill in the hammock- all under the pretense of 'helping the children!' An adult helper once commented during a session 'isn't this what children do?' I think perhaps it was for many of our adults but in our ever changing world I wonder how much free play like this our children actually experience. At the end of the Forest School Leader training we were asked how we saw our role, the response that resonated most with me was 'a protector of childhood'.
See our pupils childhood joy in the photo's below.
In addition to our Forest school leaders course some of us are continuing to develop our outside practice. I have been learning to spin wool, dye it using natural, homemade dyes, and to felt. Mrs Matthews has been learning more about storytelling to add to her existing skills in this area. Mrs Sheehy learnt more about Forest School activities for the winter months and even made herself a spoon! All courses were with The Green Light Trust.
Visit a woods near you!
Can you take your child to the woods at weekends and during the holidays?
In Stanton you have Bluebell Woods and Sid's Piece. I know that many of you go to Thetford Forest regularly but there are others you could visit too.
During the Summer holiday I visited this ancient woodland to see how it has been managed throughout the years, as it is something we have to write about for our handbook. It was great to see so many managment techiniques in practice and it inspired me to copice one of the trees in my garden so that the children have some sticks for den building during their Forest School sessions. It is free to visit as are many of the woodlands around us, they also have events of for children throughout the holidays as do the Green Light Trust.
Find out more information about some of the local forests and parks by clicking the links below