During sessions we learn about our natural environment, its inhabitants, processes and treasures and our place in it. We get to do lots of fun nature-based activities that include bush-craft, survival and primitive skills, ecology and the environment and the creation and sustainability of our essential resources (food, air, water, fire). We also get the chance to be super-creative, making arts and crafts using natural materials and environmentally aware practices, such as upcycling and re-purposing. We do all of this using natural and kind bio-degradable materials.
Forest School is an ethos, the principles of which are about enabling and engaging all learners in a natural environment. It’s a great way to introduce the concept of embracing all that nature has to offer, both to children and adults.
Allowing time outside gives us the opportunity to exercise our natural exuberance and curiosity. Forest School allows every child the chance to enjoy the environment, develop confidence and build their knowledge of the natural world and essential life skills, whilst still supporting curricula and PSHE objectives.
The biggest benefits of forest school include building a strong resilient sense of self, raising personal esteem and having a positive impact on the mental health of every child. Our activities are delivered via planned, purposeful play, but we still encourage as much of the session as possible to be child-led to enable these characteristics to be fully utilised. What this means is we encourage children to move around, ask questions, be inquisitive, talk to each other, adapt approaches to tasks and problem-solving and find their own path. This supports learning by enabling those who may not naturally engage in a classroom environment to have opportunities to participate in sessions, contribute ideas and solutions and bond with peers whilst developing vital creative and critical-thinking skills, in an alternative learning environment.
Forest School also encourages our younger generation to understand the importance of guardianship of our planet. After all, if we cannot help children to connect with nature early in life, how will they understand or want to cherish and protect it in adult life?
So what can we offer Kent schools?
Since its introduction across Kent over the last 10 years, the successful integration of forest school into daily school life has been clear, with many now looking to extend their provision further. This is not always easy, especially for schools that may not have access to suitable outdoor sites or resources, or those who might be facing budget constraints. We understand this. We know that every school is super keen to have forest school but also understand that funding is incredibly tight. We will work with you to find a way to make sure that forest school is an achievable ambition.
We believe that there is no set way to present forest school as every school is different. Instead we trust that our collaborative approach ensures we can deliver a tailored programme that suits the school, its facilities and pupils perfectly. So whether you would like whole-class activities or smaller group sessions, we can provide the perfect solution for learners of all ages and abilities.
We also cater for schools that may have little in the way of natural resources, bringing everything to site that is needed to deliver a really captivating, enjoyable forest school session. We can even cater for indoor sessions for those situations where outdoor access is restricted. Whatever the sutuation, we will always operate on a 'leave no trace' basis.
When designing each Forest School programme, we try to ensure that the delivery of the programme is relevant to and abides by the principles of the curriculum. Ultimately, forest school demonstrates and delivers on the principle that EVERY CHILD IS UNIQUE, constantly learning, resilient, capable, self-assured and confident. We support this by providing a positive environment that makes it possible for every child to flourish.
We are confident that we can provide a truly wonderful forest school experience for your pupils, whatever the circumstances. But don't take our word for it – here's what a handful of our children, teachers and T.A's say about us:
Onodrim’s forest school sessions provide a safe environment for the children to explore outdoors. They are given opportunities to learn about their environment - looking at different trees and plants as well as taking part in creative activities. The children thoroughly enjoy their forest school sessions with Lorna and they really look forward to finding out what exciting activity will be next!
Great Chart Primary, Ashford
All Forest School sessions are delivered by a qualified Level 3 Forest School Practitioner, fully insured and with enhanced DBS checks. Full risk assessments are conducted to ensure the safe, successful delivery of each programme.
All resources used in our sessions are sustainably sourced from in and around Kent, both from our own HQ and from our trusty, friendly local farmers and woodland owners.