Wexford Forest School

 

What is forest school?

Forest School is happy, healthy learning in a natural setting. It promotes success and achievement through quality time spent outdoors, in nature, on a recurring basis.

 

 

It offers opportunities for individuals to flourish and for their true potential to shine through with a focus on well-being, emotional development, social interaction and practical skills. It promotes success and achievement through personalised learning in a natural environment where all children can succeed.

 

 

Forest School is child-led and designed to develop the children’s relationship to themselves, each other, and nature in a safe way. Each child will engage with this in their own way and our aim is to support that as Forest School leaders.

By repeated time spent in the same woodland location, Forest School promotes the children’s sense of place and their connection to nature and the natural environment, and in so doing to develop future earth stewards and advocates for our natural environment.

Forest School is led by  trained Forest School Practitioners who are committed to delivering a high quality programme, putting into practise their knowledge of pedagogy, education and practical skills.

 

ACTIVITIES THAT GENERALLY HAPPEN AT FOREST SCHOOL

Forest School programmes are delivered at our own specially designed site on the slopes of Forth Mountain or at a local wood/park or in the school grounds, whichever is most probable. The programme normally consists of several weekly sessions of approximately 2.5-3 hours in length.

 

Activities that will be available include coppicing and crafting with hazel or willow, camouflage, tracking wildlife, whittling, fire-lighting techniques, making charcoal and crafts from natural materials, nature awareness games, foraging, making dens and shelters, how to use outdoor tools, earthen slopes to climb and slide down, shallow mountain stream to explore, storytelling, expanding the senses, sand, mud and clay play, mini-beasts and habitats, flora & fauna ID, orienteering, mapping, reflection time and we also play games and develop our nature awareness skills, all the time striving to follow the learning journey of each participant.

Through this there are endless opportunities for building social and emotional skills, developing critical thinking and expressing their own ideas.

We adapt teaching styles and resources to suit all learning needs.

During our Forest School programme participants will be empowered to choose their preferred activities with time set aside for child-led free-play. They will be given agreed boundaries, ground rules and we will have all prior risk assessments for activities on file.

Our sessions have a familiar routine and the activities on offer are varied and are chosen by the child and each session ends with feedback from the children to go towards designing future sessions and group development. The ethos that underpins our work is that of child-led play and personal development so learning happens holistically for each child.

 

 

For Your School: 

Class sessions combine curriculum  based outdoor learning with Forest School.  Our 6 week long programmes follow the Forest School ethos of child-led, holistic learning in the natural environment. Subject based learning stems from children’s interests and is taught through a wide range of methods.

Success is measured by outcome. This makes Forest School a safe, pressure free learning place. At Forest School we teach practical activities such as cooking on the fire and using tools. Risk taking is integral to Forest School and we carefully manage this with clear rules in place. As such, children learn to safely manage risk for themselves.

 

We use natural resources wherever possible and sessions take place in our woodland setting with multiple activities on offer (see above) Through this there are endless opportunities for building social and emotional skills, developing critical thinking and expressing their own ideas.

We are located 7km from town with access for a mini-bus to safely drop and collect the children. Sessions are run by Austin Gregg, a trained Forest School Leader with 16 years of experience as a primary school teacher and Outdoor First Aid trained. Along with his wife Nicola, they published the very successful children’s book ’25 Challenges to do Before You’re 12’ . He lives on the family farm with his young family on Forth Mountain and is passionate about educating young people on the merits of the great outdoors.

We go out in all weathers except high winds (Beaufort 7, 50-60kmph winds).

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