Forest School learning has proven invaluable for our children. The chance to play and explore freely with no pre-ordained outcomes, using all their senses helps develop all areas of their learning.
Children's language and vocabulary expands massively when faced with the natural world. Carefully led by our able and experienced Forest School leaders, children are encouraged to experiment with words, rhymes and stories to back up the treasures they find and the seasonal changes they see.
Another area where children have enjoyed the chance to explore and 'try things out' is physical play. They have all explored climbing, jumping, balancing and judging the levels to which they feel comfortable. It has given the staff great pleasure to see children who are naturally cautious slowly explore their own abilities and grow in confidence, whilst at the same time observing children who previously would have thrown themselves at all situations pause and weigh up the situation.
At Penmoor one of the things we believe in is that children should learn to be active, self motivated learners rather than learn to be taught. This approach will help them throughout the whole of life and is an invaluable skill. To encourage this we offer activities that stimulate exploration and curiosity and there is nowhere better to try these philosophies out than the Great Outdoors.
Forest School has been one of the most successful and popular additions we have made to Penmoor. Led by our qualified, experienced leaders, Jaime and Emma, ably supported by Sally, children from Red, Blue and Green Groups have made weekly forays into the forest. They have followed trails, cooked over an open fire, made dens and shelters, created natural gardens, worked with clay, fired charcoal for an art project and many more fun activities. This term we have increased the number of sessions on offer to enable more children to enjoy this fantastic experience.
Staff have been astounded by how easily the children are showing skills in all areas of development and how those children who do not necessarily lead the way in an indoors setting are showing strengths and abilities which might have remained hidden. One of the strongest areas observed has been problem solving, something which in an indoor environment adults are all too quick to rush to 'help with'. At Forest School children who have historically been quick to ask for help have taken great delight in trying out ideas, sometimes over a prolonged period of time. One great example was a group of four boys. They had spontaneously dug a channel in the mud and were trying to construct a bridge for animals to cross it. It took four weeks, lots of stones, sticks etc and a huge amount of trial and error to come up with something they felt would work.