Due to the success of the Forest Schools initiative in Scandinavia, which was initially developed there in the 1950's, Forest School is fast developing across the UK. We are excited that Wandsworth Prep School will be one of the first schools in Wandsworth to set up its own Forest School.
Via our Forest School programme we intend to bring learning to life, providing children with real experiences and by making their learning meaningful and purposeful. The aims of our programme are to encourage the children to:
- make choices independently
- develop an appreciation of nature and all living things
- assess their own risks
- work as part of a team
- develop inquisitive minds by questioning the world around them
- develop their problem solving skills
- develop positive attitudes to learning
Forest School will run 2 mornings a week using various areas in and around Wandsworth Common. All children will be provided with their own all-in-one wetsuit to protect their clothing and to keep them warm and dry in all weathers. The learning programme follows the children's interests and lines of enquiry. Each week the children will freely explore the changing natural environment whilst the teachers will look closely and document the children's questions, comments, and discoveries in order to set appropriate challenges and arouse further curiosity. Our Forest School ethos is embedded within the curriculum and is not something that is tagged on to the learning experience - the discoveries that we make beyond the boundaries of the classroom will often follow us back to school in both a physical and a conceptual way.
On the Common the children are set small, achievable tasks which are designed to reach all types of learners. These might include:
• climbing trees
• learning how to use real tools safely
• catching mini beasts
• collecting signs of seasonal changes
• problem solving - building 3d structures in the woods, hunting for treasure, cooking, getting dirty!
With consistent praise for achievements and for 'having a go', children will gradually develop self-esteem, self-confidence and ultimately a positive relationship with learning. As the programme continues the children will be eager to try new things in an environment that encourages them to make mistakes knowing that they have space to try again and reflect on what they could do differently the next time. In addition to this, the children will learn to take risks safely by learning to assess the risks of activities independently.
We look forward to getting stuck into the programme in September.