Forest Schools is a nature-based ethos of learning where trained practitioners nurture learner-led exploration and discovery, nurturing meaningful experiences for positive lifelong impacts.
Research shows us that learning outdoors elicits physical and emotional responses that can help make the experience more memorable. It is increasingly recognised that creative and challenging outdoor learning activities develop confident and responsible citizens who value and appreciate the natural environment around them.
Epi Primary Forest Schools programme continues to be an important part of our curriculum, especially now that outdoor learning has become so widely recognised as a fundamental part of a child’s development. Forest Schools offer a unique educational experience using the outdoor environment of the forest as a classroom.
It is an exciting time for Episkopi Primary School as we are developing our very own onsite Forest School. As lucky as we are to have the wonderful Happy Valley nearby, the time spent and the travel costs involved in using this facility means it is not easily accessible on a regular basis. The creation of a new onsite woodland area enables Forest Schools to be more easily available and gives a greater number of pupils the opportunity for regular participation in outdoor learning.
Evidence has shown that Forest Schools can make a difference in the following ways:
- Confidence: children have the freedom, time and space to learn and demonstrate independence
- Social skills: children gain increased awareness of the consequences of their actions on peers through team activities such as sharing tools and participating in play
- Communication: language development is prompted by the children’s sensory experiences
- Motivation: the woodland tends to fascinate the children and they develop a keenness to participate and the ability to concentrate over longer periods of time
- Physical skills: these improvements are characterised by the development of physical stamina and gross and fine motor skills
- Knowledge and understanding: the children develop an interest in the natural surroundings and respect for the environment
Our aim is to work closely with our own pupils and staff, and the wider community, including environmentalists and parents, to promote the ethos of Forest School and to give all stakeholders a better understanding of what Forest School is about, the impact it can have and how learning takes place.
We hope that our pupils enjoy our Forest School programme and that it helps form a framework for skill acquisition, learning, independence, resilience and, more than anything else, ADVENTURE!
“This has been my best day ever!” year 5 pupil
“Learning outside is fun. I seem to concentrate better. I love the sounds of nature.” Year 2 pupil