So, what is Forest school?
Forest School is a child-centred inspirational learning process. It offers opportunities for all areas of a child’s development through play, exploration and supported risk taking. It also develops confidence and self-esteem through hands-on experiences in a natural setting.
Its origins come from Scandinavia where open-air culture, 'friluftsliv', or free air life, is embedded in the culture of the people. It arrived in the UK in 1993 and over the past 30 years has seen more and more schools integrate it into the curriculum.
Forest School at The Ridge not only helps and facilitate knowledge gathering, it also helps learners to develop socially, emotionally, spiritually, physically and intellectually. The Forest School Sessions aim to create a safe, non-judgemental nurturing environment for the children to try things out and take risks that normally they may not be exposed to. Risk means that the children are always developing their abilities by problem solving, building confidence and increasing their resilience. All of the sessions are fully risk assessed to negate the possibility of physical harm when taking risk. However, it is important that children experience risk as there are risks in everything we do day to day, and it is only through overcoming them, that we grow as a person.
Forest School is about getting children back outside in nature where it is hoped that they will develop a meaningful connection to the world and to understand their place in it.
At the Ridge all children have the opportunity to enjoy a 6 week block each year in Forest School, where they learn about fire lighting, tree climbing, den building, using tools, nature and lots, lots more. The children are provided with a snack of popcorn and a drink of hot chocolate. Because Forest School takes place throughout out the year, it is important that children come dressed in suitable clothing for that time of year.