Forest School at The Twyn School
The Twyn School and Surrounding Areas are Regularly Used for Forest School and Outdoor Learning
We are lucky to have log circles, outdoor classrooms, a large field with wildlife areas surrounding it, as well as a small piece of ancient woodland. The children take part in outdoor learning activities such as gardening and eco lessons. All pupils bring their wellington boots so that they can join in whatever the weather. The pupils grow produce which they use for their own cooking.
Forest School originated in Denmark in the 1980’s as part of an expansion of its Early Years provision. The philosophy of Forest School was based upon a desire to provide children with an education that encouraged appreciation of the natural world, and that would encourage a responsibility for nature conservation in later life. Evidence suggests that outdoor learning benefits children greatly and the natural world has a profound effect on the brain and thinking.
Forest School is an inspirational process that offers children regular opportunities to achieve and to develop
confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in local woodland or the outdoors. We use the log circle areas to start and end sessions as well as our unique, handcrafted outdoor classrooms.
The consultation paper for the Foundation Phase in Wales states that children learn through practical activities that challenge and motivate. Well-planned practical activities help children to develop their curiosity and independence as well as their knowledge, skills and understanding.
The Forestry Commission and Forest Education Initiative describe Forest School as ‘an inspirational process that offers children, young people and adults, regular opportunities to achieve, and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands on learning experiences in a local woodland environment.’
Forest School requires children to collaborate on tasks and learn together outdoors. Through problem solving and exploring together children are sharing their own knowledge and understanding and in turn developing and rethinking
ideas. The very nature of Forest School and its child led, relaxed and open sessions, free learners up to perhaps speaking more openly and raw thought pooling, thus shaping and re-establishing their own thinking in this unique learning environment. Austrian Theorist Steiner believed that ‘education should be designed to meet the changing needs of a child as they develop physically, mentally and emotionally. He believed that it should help a child to fulfil their full potential but he did not believe in pushing children towards goals that adults, or society in general, believed to be desirable.’
Forest School lessons allow children freedom within lessons to use resources and the natural environment, to think creatively around ideas that have been explored previously and take onboard these ideas.
Holistic education has been described as ‘the art of cultivating the moral, emotional, physical, psychological and spiritual dimensions of the developing child. Where ‘each person finds identity, meaning, and purpose in life through connections to the community, to the natural world, and to spiritual values such as compassion and peace.’ The term Holistic development was pioneered by theorists like Steiner and Montessori and is at the heart of Forest School. Forest School can promote holistic development by catering for a child’s moral well being. By giving children opportunities to look at our natural world, think about care and creativity outside we are guiding their thinking positively. We allow them to make decisions with others during Forest School, which helps build their self-esteem and by exploring ourselves we move towards becoming emotionally literate. Outdoors activity and using tools helps children’s physical well-being and studies show that the natural world is helpful to our psychological and spiritual well being. Forest School is an ideal platform for developing the whole child.
Forest School lessons start and end at the log circle. There are rules which help make it a special place and help us stay safe...
The Log Circle Rules
1.This is a quiet and special place.
2.We can enter the log circle on the teachers command.
3.We can enter/leave through the gaps, but not over the logs (enter/leave near log sat on).
4.The centre of the log Ccrcle (possibly marked with a hoop) must not be crossed.
5.We need to prepare for the log circle centrepiece being a fire – lets be safe and sensible inside the log circle.