Where there appears to be consistent agreement amongst educationalists, is the need for fresh air. How one gets fresh air may be on the sports field, in the playground or the brisk November walk to school at the start of the day; the benefits on the mindset and well-being of children have been quite obvious since the days of slate.
More recent thinking, however, recognises that the outdoors can also be an effective and even magical place to learn. Something that came as no surprise to us at Wandsworth Prep, was results from a study from the University of Illinois that found that children’s concentration and subsequent engagement in learning improves following time spent learning outdoors.
Wandsworth Prep has earned a reputation locally for its Forest School provision and emphasis on outdoor learning. Sitting alongside the emphasis we place on achievement throughout the curriculum, is allowing children the opportunity to develop the skills they need to reach both their academic and social potential.
During Forest School sessions, what we witness, is increased self-confidence, self-esteem and self-motivation. The nature of the tasks that the children undertake, lead to improved collaboration skills, ability to work independently and direct their own learning, imagination, resourcefulness, problem-solving and risk-taking.
For us, it stands to reason that children return to school after Forest School sessions as more efficient and effective learners for the experience. The mud may wash off, but the experiences don’t!
Bridget Saul, Headteacher at Wandsworth Prep School