Beechwood Park Forest School
Beechwood Park School has a well established Forest School within Its wonderful woodland setting. Forest School is one of the highlights in the timetable for our pupils and is often cited as their favourite thing at school.
The Beechwood Park Forest School Ethos
Our ethos at Beechwood Park Forest School is to give children the opportunity to appreciate the outdoor environment: the plants, animals, weather and the changing seasons and to learn about their impact on that environment.
Forest School provides children with time, away from the busy life that we all lead, time to stop, look, listen and feel, time to engage, follow their own interests, practise skills, manage risks, reflect and feel alive.
Children can, with the support of the Forest School practitioner, choose their own learning style in order to not only gain the best experience in the forest but also to develop their skills as lifelong learners.
We provide a long-term programme which the children access on a regular basis. The leader is both a qualified teacher and Forest School practitioner and is trained to facilitate the pupils’ social, physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual development whilst also supporting their skills of communication.
The school has a wonderful woodland and we are very lucky to be able to use this natural setting to inspire us.
What is Forest School?
The Forest School concept originated in Scandinavia and was introduced into the UK in the 1990s. It is an approach to learning which allows all children to succeed by participating in activities and games designed to build self-esteem, communication skills, independence and self-confidence through an appreciation of the natural environment and giving them the freedom to explore using all their senses.
What are the Benefits of Forest School?
Children love to be outside. Forest School sessions are fun, engaging and provide a chance to connect with nature. Experiencing life outside the classroom gives children a chance to boost their independence, self-confidence and engagement with learning. They will have the freedom to explore using multiple senses.
Creative and imaginative play is encouraged. Physical activity is a large part of Forest School; balance, coordination, fine and gross motor skills as well as general fitness will be enhanced through these sessions. Children will be encouraged to learn to take managed risks in a safe environment. Learning to discuss any feeling of frustration with tackling new tasks helps to build coping strategies.
Children learn about the diversity and identification of species and to respect the environment. Negotiation and team work are key elements of Forest School; pupils often work together to complete tasks which help them to develop these core life skills. For those children who can, at times, find it a little difficult to focus in the indoor environment, Forest School can offer a welcome and positive change to their day.
Children’s social interactions and respect for one another are always a joy to behold in the Forest School setting with many new relationships forming. It is impossible to pin the many and varied benefits down to a specific skill set or curriculum area; the following acronym can be a useful way to discover the holistic nature of Forest School:
Accessing the Forest School Programme
All pupils from Woodlands to Year 4 will have a regular Forest School session throughout the year allowing them to appreciate the woods through the changing seasons. Years 5 to Top Form experience Forest School in a different manner; each year they will have a Forest School day during which they will experience a range of activities from creating music from the natural woodland materials to learning about first aid skills in an outdoor session or using tools to create bird feeders.
We were assured by the head that we would be 'blown away' by the wealth of space and facilities - the fabulous covered pool, the enchanting forest school and woodlands where pupils are allowed to run free at break times, vast grounds, brand new all-weather cricket nets and breathtaking buildings - we certainly couldn't fail to be The Good Schools Guide, 2017