Forest School Education

Freedom to explore in an idyllic setting

outdoor_classroom

Taverham Hall’s 100 acres of ancient woodland with its outdoor classroom and pizza oven, provides the perfect environment for our Forest School lessons in which to bring learning to life. Children from Early Years onwards simply relish opportunities to get messy, make noise, offer ideas and explore all year round. A range of evidence, originating in Scandinavia and supported by the British Government, validates the importance of hands-on learning outside the classroom.

“When planned and implemented well, learning outside the classroom contributed significantly to raising standards and improving pupils’ personal, social and emotional development.” Ofsted

Forest School importantly stimulates children’s naturally inquisitive minds by offering multiple opportunities for exploration and creativity to take place away from the traditional classroom. Studies confirm that the more we allow learners to experience nature, the greater the benefits for both their academic performance and overall wellbeing. This outcome is echoed in a recent study undertaken by the Institute of Education at UCL which evaluated the impact that experiencing nature has upon children. The Wildlife Trust who commissioned this study commented:

“This research shows that children experience profound and diverse benefits through regular contact with nature. Contact with the wild improves children’s wellbeing, motivation and confidence. The data also highlights how children’s experiences in and around the natural world led to better relationships with their teachers and class-mates.”

At Langley Preparatory School at Taverham Hall we have tested outside-learning theories and reaped the rewards. Children, in Early Years, Pre-Prep and the Prep School, let their imaginations run wild all year round, in Donkey Pen, Elephant’s Nest and other areas within the extensive grounds. Structured tasks and achievable goals are set to increase self-confidence and encourage teamwork. Tending their own garden areas also helps children to understand responsibility.

Children’s social skills tend to flourish with increased independence, self-confidence and motivation as a direct result.

Central to Forest School is the whole human being – head, heart, hands, thinking, feeling and willing. Childhood is a precious time where a sense of wonder is embedded, something which Forest School looks to develop, helping children to grow at their own pace, connect with nature and become responsible environmental stewards.

‘The surrounding parkland is a paradise for pupils…’ ISI

National Curriculum subjects are reinforced and supported by practical, hands-on learning. Science, Geography, Art and Drama are just some of the subjects continued outside the classroom. Carefully planned and supervised activities allow children to take risks and make choices appropriate to their age and ability. Learning follows ‘enquiry through exploration’ principles.

‘The curriculum is significantly enhanced by sessions in the Forest School.’ ISI

  • Walks and trails in the woodland
  • Building dens and shelters
  • Arts and craft – creating items out of natural resources
  • Team building games and activities
  • Story telling
  • Pond dipping
  • Investigating flora and fauna
  • Learning about minibeasts
  • Managing the woodland
  • Understanding and exploring the seasons
  • Practical knotting skills
  • Science in the outdoors – nature studies
  • Geography – understanding the world environment
  • Collection wood and learning how to build a campfire
  • Toasting marshmallows on a campfire
  • Using the trees, plants and wildlife to give inspiration for creativity
  • Growing, cooking and eating your own produce
  • Baking Pizzas in our outdoor pizza oven

Qualified staff are given full specialist training in Forest School teaching and a number of our Forest School team members have achieved level 3 – OCN Forest School Leader Award status which means that they are delivering to the highest standard of Forest School practitioners. All activities are risk assessed to follow strict Health and Safety guidelines.