Forest School is underway at Knights Enham Junior School. Knights Enham's Forest School Lead Teacher is Mr Bishop; Mrs Bartley and Mrs Butler trained to Forest School Assistant level. We also have some volunteer helpers and parents.
The children are enjoying the Forest School sessions and so far have learnt about the 'outdoor code' and looking after our outdoor environment. They have made jewellery using natural materials, built animal shelters, learnt how to safely use friskars / pruners and small cutting tools and played games like 'Hide and Seek'. They will also have the opportunity to build dens and shelters, make made elder jewellery and stick men, explored the school woodland and cook hot chocolate and marshmallows on a camp fire. The children are given the chance to go into Forest School come rain or shine and are allowed to explore their natural surroundings and lead on their chosen outdoor activities within Forest School; whether that is running, hiding, rolling, model making, insect hunting, building bug houses, mark making with embers, whittling, excavating, cooking on a camp fire and building dens. It all helps to encourage learning, play and grow a sense of admiration, respect and passion for the outdoor environment and nature.
What we know about Forest School is that there are many benefits for the children, these include:
Physical health benefits:
Increased gross motor movement. Increased oxygen levels improve brain function. Sunlight increases vitamin D production which leads to increased resilience to illness.
Communication, teambuilding and language skills are developed.
Reduction in levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, in the brain. Being outside offers time to relax and have fun.
Playing outside allows a child to learn about risk assessment and risk taking. Children that are exposed to acceptable levels of risk at a young age are less likely to make bad judgements in the future.
Forest School also offers a range of other Value Added Benefits, such as:
- Rich supply of resources and materials for use in other curriculum areas
- Opportunities to involve parents and wider community
- Chance for staff to observe students in a different setting
- Opportunities for staff to learn new skills, and enjoy the benefits of Forest School too!
- Offers an alternative to our over reliance on digital and electronic sources for recreation, learning, socialising
- Offers an opportunity to become fitter and healthier
- Children and adults learn to recognise and assess risks for themselves