The ethos of Forest School is to live life in all its fullness and is a valuable part of our school curriculum. These sessions enrich the children's time at St James and help to promote a growth in self-confidence and self-esteem and encourage children to handle risks in a safe and nurturing environment.
During a Forest School session the children participate in achievable tasks where each child has the opportunity to develop skills in practical situations. At St James, Forest School is taught alongside the curriculum to enhance children’s self-esteem, resilience and understanding of the world around them. Children take part in many activities including shelter building, tool use, identification of plants and animals and free play where children use their imaginations to explore the site and develop their social and communication skills. We have class sets of waterproofs which allow us to visit in all weathers.
Reflection time around a log circle allows the children time to share experiences and discuss what they have learnt and enjoyed. It is also an opportunity for the children to learn how to cook different things on an open fire - pop corn and marshmallows are always popular! The children love their sessions and even children who are a little worried about the wildlife are soon hunting for spiders and building 'bug hotels' for woodlice. Each group of sessions has a theme and flexible planning ensures children's ideas can be incorporated into activities for future weeks.
Forest School also gives us the opportunity to link learning to other subjects. Science, in particular, is often taught through Forest School activities and gives the children a context in which to look at nature, see the changes in the seasons and look at micro habitats and the plants and animals within those habitats.