Forest School offers our pupils a chance to get out into an ever changing, inspiring natural classroom. It has at its core a pupil centred approach that takes advantage of the changing seasons and conditions to promote many skills such as independence, team work, problem-solving and risk assessment. It nurtures attributes such as trust, empathy, self-awareness, and the satisfaction of meeting self-determined goals.
Sessions are very practical and hands on. No matter what prior skills and experiences they have all are equal and all can achieve.
At Our Lady of Lourdes, Forest School takes place in the Dingles; a pocket of woodland, river and meadow in our urban setting. Our pupils are given the opportunity to develop a relationship with the natural world alongside their peers. Children can explore and discover untapped skills and find new ways of interacting with each other. They are encouraged to think about their own safety and that of their peers when weighing up risks for themselves in new and challenging situations. The sense of achievement gained in Forest School is immense –from climbing their first tree to realising that the mud doesn’t hurt to immersing themselves in an adventure their den.
Research into the positive effects of getting children out into natural spaces is growing. Child psychologist Aric Sigman found that children exposed to nature scored higher for concentration and self-discipline; improved their awareness, reasoning and observational skills; did better in reading, writing, maths, science and social studies; were better at working in teams; and showed improved behaviour overall. (Sigman, A. (2007) Agricultural Literacy: Giving concrete children food for thought. www.face-online.org.uk/resources/news/Agricultural%20Literacy.pdf)
At Our Lady of Lourdes we want our pupils to appreciate and draw from the wonderful world we have been given. We seek to nurture a deep connection to the variety and beauty in nature and a desire to serve as custodians of our world.