Forest School

St Joseph's Forest School
 
At St Joseph's we have a thriving Forest School which began its life in 2018, when the garden area which had been lovelingly tranformed by staff and parent volunteers was used by The Oudoors Group, Exmouth Forest School, to run forest school sessions for the children in our school.
They were such a success for the children and staff that Mrs Turner was asked to undertake forest school training in the summer of 2019 so that we could continue to provide this well loved experience for our children.
 
Creating our Forest School
 
Mrs Turner decided to have a permanent fire pit built and a parent kindly used his building skills to build the fire pit.
Mrs Turner then constructed the first of 4 versions of a tarpaulin shelter, using the skills she had learnt in her training. However, high winds, a large rainfall in 2020 meant that most sessioins began with the emptying of swimming pool size water puddles on the tarp and retying ropes to create a dry space for the children.
What are the benefits of Forest School?
 

Forest school sessions allow children at St Joseph's  to take risks and attempt new challenges they would not face in a classroom. There are opportunities for children to try more risky activities such as using a bow saw and building fires. This adds a sense of excitement and adventure for the children, who are free to explore and manipulate the environment around them using all of their senses. The weather has no impact upon forest schools, whether it be rain or shine, snow or winds, the children will be outside making the most of the experience. This is especially fun for children who tend to be sheltered in bad weather as they are given the chance to get mucky and wet!

Forest school promotes all aspects of children’s development and can even add new benefits that learning in a classroom doesn’t offer.  It also allows children to be physically active throughout the duration of their lesson, enjoying the fresh air and the new experiences the outdoors can offer. Over the course of forest schools, children’s stamina will build and children will become physically fitter, thus providing a healthier lifestyle.

 

The Development of our Shelter in Pictures!
Look how we have grown and devoloped over the last 2 years!
Our Forest School in Pictures

The Forest School Curriculum at St Joseph's

Our forest school curriculum is child-directed and play-based. The forest school allows learners the time and space to develop their interests, skills, and understanding through practical, hands-on experiences.

At a forest school, children have the freedom to explore, play, build, create, imagine, and use their senses to experience the outdoor environment and engage with one another. The sessions are carefully planned, led Mrs Turner, our trained Forest School Leader  and take place outside the classroom in all weathers in our own forest school area.  In the sessions, children can sing around the fire, learn to use and make tools, build dens, dig in the mud, identify bugs with magnifying glasses or retreat to the fore pit shelter for reading and a quiet time, or to watch the fire burning in the fire pit. 

At Forest School all participants are viewed as:

  • Equal, unique and valuable
  • Competent to explore and discover
  • Entitled to face appropriate risk and challenges
  • Entitled to experience regular success
  • Entitled to develop positive relationships with themselves and other people
  • Entitled to choose, to initiate and drive their own learning process and development