Children at St Mary’s have regular Forest School sessions. As part of the wider educational mix, this offers a long term holistic learning process that aims to raise the children’s self-awareness and self-esteem through experiencing the natural world. Where the landscape itself becomes the learning environment, Forest School seeks to consolidate all areas of the curriculum and to build and extend knowledge. All sessions use speaking, listening and literacy skills such as exciting vocabulary which then permeates all areas of learning.
Making use of our exceptional village location we look at different habitats; starting in the school grounds and venturing further into the surrounding countryside to explore hedgerows, fields and woodland. Sessions typically include: plant and tree identification; natural arts and craft activities; storytelling; ‘mini beast’ hunting; shelter building and knot tying. Once core skills and behaviour indicators are secure, we help children to learn and manage risks through opportunities to cut and shape wood safely using a range of tools.
Children also have time to be quiet, reflect or to talk and share ideas. We nurture a deeper bond with nature and consider how much joy it brings us, and how we in turn should respect and look after our planet.