At Alexandra Infant School we are lucky to have a small natural outdoor space which provides the children with opportunities to explore nature and develop their understanding of the world within their local environment.
Forest school is for all year groups and the children can use the area throughout the year to encourage them to excel in all areas of their personal, academic development through planned activities in a positive outdoor environment.
What is Forest School?
Forest school is essentially outdoor, nature based learning that focuses on the holistic development of the child. During a forest school session activities are provided, but rather than being adult led each child chooses and tailors the activity to suit them. Forest school also encourages children to learn to care for their natural environment.
Research shows that being outdoors improves mental health, communication skills and social relationships.
Benefits of Forest School
- To develop a respect for our natural environment
- Encourage resilience
- Improve physical development
- Enable children to be self-motivated
- Encourage independence and risk taking
- Supports the development of self-esteem and self confidence
- Sense of freedom
Forest School Activities
A few example of child directed activities:
- Den building/ Swings – using sticks /tarpaulin sheets, pegs and rope
- Natural art –creating a collage using different colour leaves, sticks and stones
- Create a bug hotel to encourage insects, keep a log (Data) to see who’s moved in
- Bug identification and habitats / Mini beast hunts
- Obstacle course – Test balance, climbing and jumping
- Sculptures – use bark, pebbles, stones, logs and twigs to create a natural sculpture like the artist Andy Goldsworthy.
- Mud kitchen role play
- Whittling – use a vegetable peeler to whittle the bark of a stick. Sticks can be used for cooking sticks or decorated to create a wand, or character etc.
- Mud/Clay play – use the mud made clay texture to make faces, animals and pots etc.
- Chalk art – use chalk to draw on trees
- Tree and plant identification hunt
- Sensory walks/ foraging
- Bark/ leaf rubbing
- Playing games e.g. memory game - collect natural objects hide under a cloth can your partner remember what is underneath the cloth.
- Nature crowns/ bracelets/ bookmarks – using leaves, petals and grass.
- Leaf and flower printing onto a cotton cloth
- Stick people/ stick frames
- Bubble wands – use sticks and pipe cleaners/string to create a wand.