Stoberry Park School offers forest school experience for pupils to broaden their learning experience
By Wells_Jaqui | Monday, May 10, 2010, 21:19
The school’s forest school leader, Gael Witor writes: “Forest School is now a weekly activity offered at Stoberry Park School. With its roots in Scandinavia, forest school is now ‘branching’ out all over the world offering children the chance to learn by exploring their environment.
Tying the bundles together with(out) a hitch!
Hollowing-out the elder
Using a bow saw to cut lengths of elder
This is not rocket science however; our relentless ‘progress’, modern technology and pace of life means that the natural world is becoming increasingly more alien to adults and more alarmingly ….children. If nature can offer adults ‘the green gym’ then it can also offer children ‘the outdoor classroom’.
The benefits of forest school are almost too numerous to list in a short paragraph. I can only go by my experience thus far. The children at our school do gain so much from these activities which stimulate their inherent curiosity and a desire to learn in a non competitive and nurturing environment.
Some of the children who find it hard to work in a classroom setting and whose behaviour is often disruptive are happy, focused and fulfilled when they are engrossed in say, weaving a fence out of birch.
These small achievable tasks are designed to promote self esteem as well as encouraging children to work in groups where they need to co operate and help each other e.g. When building shelters or designing an area for wildlife.
So many of the subjects taught within the 4 walls of the classroom are covered simply by planting a packet of seeds. The reading of instructions on the back of the packet , the measuring of the depth and proximity of each seed and then of course the science of growth and the vital role that plants play within our ecological system.
I find that even the most simple activity, be it whittling an insect home from a branch of Elder as pictured above, not only calms agitated minds but re kindles a sense of wonder, self worth and also develops a respect for the fragile world around us.”
With environmental education becoming an increasingly important feature of the national curriculum, we at Wells People will be keeping a fortnightly diary on forest school projects at Stoberry Park School to monitor the group’s progress and educational outcomes.
More photos of this week's project where children chop, peel and hollow-out elder to make bug hidey holes can be viewed in the gallery.