Outdoor Learning and Forest School Provision at Bushey Primary Education Federation
In the Infant years, we are very proud of the wonderful efforts of our parent association (BFF) in developing our school site to include an outdoor classroom, with a fire pit, bug hotel and outdoor reading area. We also have purchased an allotment space in Paddock Road and all classes visit the allotment for a half term each year to enhance Science learning. It has become a valued and much loved resource for families and children at evenings and weekends and is well maintained by their efforts.
Throughout the year, all children in the junior school take part in our Forest School programme, taught by our in house qualified Forest Schools Practitioner, Mrs Rook.
We are using the Forest School model as an approach to supplement our outdoor learning ethos, as well as designated ‘Outdoor Learning Days’.
Research has shown learning in the outdoors, and the Forest School model, to be hugely beneficial for children with a range of emotional and developmental needs. In these ‘Post-Covid’ days, with a focus on recovery and wellbeing, we believe that encouraging our children to value being in the outdoors and taking time away from screens, is a skill for life and an enhancement to their personal wellbeing and mental health.
Outdoor Learning through a Forest School model has a multitude of benefits for children, including:
Confidence – Forest School helps our children to grow in confidence as a result of the freedom, time and space they are given in their learning, allowing them to demonstrate independence at their own rate.
Communication – The sensory experiences provided by the outdoors help prompt language development, improving communication skills and promoting self-esteem.
Social Skills – Sharing tools and participating in play help teach the children to work together as a group, which strengthens their bonds and social ties.
Motivation and Concentration – High levels of interest lead to high levels of attention.
Knowledge and Understanding – Children develop an interest in the outdoors and respect for the environment. Encouraging our children to develop a relationship with the natural world will help in protecting the environment for generations to come.
Levels the Playing Field – Taking children outside of the classroom removes the pressures of academia and allows them to play to their strengths. This is beneficial to children who might struggle in the classroom.
Enjoyable for the Children – Forest Schools are fun. It is educational whilst also allowing children to explore and discover. Children who participate in Forest Schools are generally observed to be happier.
Forest School Curriculum Map