At Barley Fields we are extremely lucky to have our very own Forest School on site. This is important to us for lots of different reasons.
Intent – Why do we include Forest School into our curriculum?
Forest School is a child-centred inspirational learning process that offers opportunities for holistic growth, social, emotional, spiritual, physical and intellectual learning through regular experiences in the outdoors. It is a program employed by our school to support our growth mindset approach, develop play, exploration and supported risk-taking in a safe, non-judgemental nurturing environment. It develops children’s confidence and self-esteem through learner inspired, hands-on experience in a natural setting; solving problems, building self-belief and promoting resilience. Children have frequent opportunities to enhance their social skills, develop teamwork and collaborative learning.
We have designed and developed two forest school areas on the school site to facilitate the implementation of this curriculum subject and have several, fully qualified Forest School leads on the school staff.
Implementation: How will we achieve this?
Our children follow a carefully structured Forest School curriculum which has been devised to ensure children know more, do more and remember more as they progress through our school. Its content is supported by advice, requirements and guidelines presented in Forest School Guidance and involves a teaching delivery which holds to six key principles that shape and govern the Forest School ethos. These six principles are:
- Regular sessions, rather than one-off or infrequent visits; a cycle of planning, observation, adaptation and review links each session.
- It takes place in a woodland or natural environment to support the development of a lifelong relationship between the learner and the natural world.
- It uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for being, development and learning.
- It aims to promote the holistic development of all involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners.
- It offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.
- It is run by qualified Forest School practitioners, who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice.
Our Teaching Approach
Children participate in Forest School in blocks of lessons across the academic year which ensures children have opportunities for sustained periods of study and have time to embed and enhance their learning. Detailed medium-term planning supports learning, ensures continuity and carefully plans for progression and depth. Children have opportunities to use high quality resources and materials to support their learning in the carefully designed Forest School areas on the school site. Our curriculum covers learning around several key themes
- Using Knots
- Den Building
- Creative Development
- Recognising Seasonal Change and Observing Weather
- Introducing Tools
- Campfire Cooking
- Recognising Flora and Fauna in the local area
Throughout Forest School sessions, children will be offered the opportunity to engage with a variety of different activities each involving the study, awareness and use of the natural environment. Our Forest School promotes child-led learning – allowing the child to choose which activities they engage with whilst offering progression in the development of skills and experiences.
Curriculum Impact – How will we know that our children are achieving?
Although not measurable in the normal academic sense our curriculum does have clear end points and by the end of each key stage, pupils are expected to know, apply and understand the attitudes, skills and techniques specified in the relevant curriculum plans.
In addition, we measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods:
- A celebration of learning for each term which demonstrates progression across the school (Curriculum Floor book and Display);
- Pupil discussions about their learning (Pupil Voice);