Adventure Centre for Education Forest Schools

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” John Muir

We are at the forefront of developing Forest Schools in South Ayrshire and the growing interest in Forest School has been very popular among many schools locally.

Forest Schools developed from the Scandinavian education system and it is about children and young people building self esteem and independence through exploring and experiencing the natural world.

Sessions are run throughout the year by trained practitioners, within a natural environment and not necessarily a Forest!

Forest School is a mixture of learning new skills (e.g. knot tying) and exploring whilst playing in the outdoors. It is planned to meet the needs of individuals to ensure that children grow in self-confidence and through encouraging practical, hands-on experiences the sessions increase the understanding of the ethos of Forest School in the natural environment.

This method also allows teachers to step back and observe the children at the same time to see how they can also encourage and inspire them later to achieve and learn further.

In short, forest School fosters a love and respect for the natural world.

Where will we be going?
Adventure Centre for Education uses many Forest School venues around the area and we are continually developing new sites. All our approved sites are thoroughly risk assessed to ensure that current health and Safety guidelines are being followed and all sessions are always led by a trained Forest School Leader.

What will we do?
Forest School is normally run in a minimum of six week blocks, held all year round and in all weathers (unless weather conditions are dangerous). The participant led ethos of Forest Schools means that once at the site the participant can choose what to participate in, carefully supported and encouraged by trained leaders and Forest School activities can vary depending on the season and the participants needs.

Activities may include
• Hunting for mini-beasts and/or pond dipping
• Natural crafts – making crowns, dreamcatchers or collages from natural materials, weaving with long grasses, etc
• Mud sculptures
• Shelter building and knot tying
• Tree climbing under safe supervision
• Using tools for a purpose – such as peeling bark from sticks with potato peelers to make toasting forks.
• Sessions are planned around the individual’s and group’s needs, and built upon each week. All Forest School Leaders are qualified through nationally recognised and accredited training ensuring that Forest School is a high quality learning experience. The earlier sessions will concentrate on safety to establish boundaries and routines. As the children develop in confidence and familiarity with the environment the sessions will focus on developing and reinforcing skills and understanding.
• We will regularly share your child’s experiences at Forest School with you and would love to hear what they say about the sessions.

What benefits do children get from participating in Forest Schools?
Forest Schools supports the holistic development of the child through:

• Health and fitness – Through being active in an outdoor, natural environment.
• Increased emotional wellbeing – Learning to become confident and self-reliant.
• Social development – Communicating, and negotiating with other children and adults to solve problems and share experiences.
• Skills development – Developing fine and gross motor skills and coordination for practical purposes.
• Gaining knowledge and understanding – Using all of our senses, problem solving and real-life learning.
• Individualised learning – Careful observation allows adults to tailor support to children’s own interests and stage of development.
• Curriculum Links – Forest School supports many areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage framework, A Curriculum for Excellence, World Wide curriculum and the Every Child Matters agenda.

Health and Safety
The health and safety of all participants is central to everything done within a Forest School programme and all Forest School Leaders are fully trained in risk assessment and first aid and every Forest School has:

• A Health and Safety policy
• A seasonally and daily risk assessed site
• Risk assessments for activities
• Trained adult helpers
• First aid and emergency equipment.

Some of the activities the children may participate in are ‘higher-risk activities’ (such as campfire cooking or tool use), however, these activities are only available to the children once certain behaviours and boundaries are established. Children are encouraged and supported in recognising and managing risk for themselves, through real life situations and experiences.

Contact us for more information.