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Forest School

About Forest School

Forest School is an idea which was developed in Denmark in the 1950’s. It is an outdoor classroom where children can explore and find out about the natural environment. 

Forest School is an holistic approach to learning and gives children opportunities to develop independence, confidence, build self-esteem, develop social interactions and work collaboratively together. Through a range of activities the children use taught skills to problem-solve and risk take in a safe environment.  

Dovers Green Forest School

At Dovers Green, our Forest School takes place within our school grounds in the wooded area that runs adjacent to Lonesome Lane. There is a base camp or outside classroom where the children start and finish their session and gather together to share their learning. It is a short walk away from the main building along paved paths. 

All the children will have access to this outside classroom once a week. Each session, which is led by a fully trained and qualified Forest School Leader, will last approximately one and a half hours and will run throughout the year, except in high winds and during a thunderstorm. The sessions are uninterrupted and longer than usual so that the children can explore their natural environment and learn at their own rate.

The excitement of Forest School and the active learning experience for all the children begins as soon as they leave the classroom. The walk to Forest School allows the children to discuss with each other what they see and hear on the way, what they might explore at Forest School and a time to reflect or contemplate the awe and wonder of their natural surroundings. 

Rules of Forest School are reinforced at every session. There is an expectation that there will be a high standard of behaviour, a respect for one another and the environment and these values are reinforced through the Forest School approach. 

At the beginning of each Forest School session the Leader recaps on previous learning with the children and introduces a new learning opportunity giving guidance about how they can succeed. The children can then use previously taught skills and apply them in independently chosen activities. The children are taught skills such as leaf, tree and mini-beast identification, how to tie knots and other joining techniques so that they can build dens. They will also learn how to use tools safely.

The adults are on hand to encourage active learning and participation, supporting the children in their interests. At base camp resources such as flora and fauna identification books, magnifying glasses and digital recording equipment are available for the children to use.

During and at the end of the Forest School session, everyone returns to base camp to talk about their learning at Forest School.