At Forest Academy, we have a wonderful outside environment made up of a woodland area, an environmental garden, playing field, extensive playground area and a sensory play area.
Outdoor Learning at Forest Academy embraces our vision of creating lifelong memories. We utilise our excellent outdoor environment to interweave Outdoor Learning in all areas of the curriculum, including Maths and English, because it has shown to improve engagement, resilience and children’s motivation in their learning.
As part of Outdoor Learning, Forest School is a nurturing, learning environment that teaches children through hands-on activities. The four key learning dispositions of Building Learning Power (resilience, resourcefulness, reciprocity and reflectiveness) are interwoven with the Forest School ideology. Children develop their understanding and application of our school’s aims and values while enjoying successful learning experiences. We recognise that many of our children do not get outside enough to experience the outdoors and nature. Forest School allows our children to have the opportunity to explore and learn outside throughout the year, experiencing the seasons and changing nature around them. Forest School research has shown to have a positive impact on children holistically which further impacts academic success and therefore we have decided to expand and enhance the breadth of our curriculum and teach Forest School weekly. Research has shown that Forest School increases the child’s:
- social skills
- communication skills
- self-esteem and confidence
- physical skills including the development of both gross and fine motor skills
- problem solving and risk taking
- Knowledge and understanding of the world around them.
Outdoor Learning is planned to enrich and enhance all areas of the curriculum and further children’s in-school learning experiences. Children also have opportunities to learn specific outdoor skills and make connections with other areas of the curriculum. This provides the children with an array of engaging activities to support other areas of their learning. As part of our Outdoor Learning provision, Year 3 and 4 had the opportunity to visit Brandon Country Park to expand their awareness and understanding of the local area. Forest School is a recognised teaching system that aims to meet the intent of this curriculum through holistic learning and child-led learning.
Through the implementation of Forest School and using Outdoor Learning throughout the curriculum, we have seen that the children have become more confident and resilient learners. Through discussions with children and parents, Outdoor Learning has shown to have positive effects on the physical and mental wellbeing of our children and this is beginning to show within the classroom too.