At Ronald Openshaw we embrace the ethos of Forest School as an opportunity for child-led learning through play, with a focus on the development of the whole child (physically, socially, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually).
Regular trips to the forest provide a vast and interesting space to run, climb and jump (especially into dry leaves to hear the ‘scrunch’!), to push the boundaries and take a few risks, to cut wood with real tools and manipulate clips to build tents. When we are back at nursery we can use the wood and make a real camp fire to cook our snacks! We can use our manipulations skills to handle mud and back in the nursery we have a whole mud kitchen to extend this exploration.
Regular trips to the forest are great to share with our friends, working co-operatively and collaborating to solve problems. We can bring these skills back to nursery and put them to excellent use!
Regular trips to the forest encourage us to welcome new experiences with confidence. They allow us to build up a familiarity with one site and let us voice our fears (all those trees can be a bit scary at first). They provide opportunities for us to show how much we care for our friends by the way we help them and work together. When we are back at nursery these are really important skills.
Regular trips to the forest
- give children time and space to explore on a much larger scale than in the nursery
- encourage children to be creative and develop critical thinking which they will bring back and apply to new situations
- encourage active learning through hands-on experience in the natural world- something which is echoed in our choice of natural resources in the nursery.
- allow children to create imaginative stories that can be built on each time they visit the site and bring these tales back to share at nursery
- encourage collections of sticks that can be used to create lots of things such as small shelters, making a special spot for each person, making trails to follow, creating ‘transient’ art. We can bring back resources to continue this at nursery.
- are a perfect time to create bird feeders using twigs and ‘cheerios’ and we can hang some of these in the nursery garden to help our birdwatching skills
- are a great place to hunt for minibeasts as there are so many more than in the nursery garden
- create opportunities for evaluations; this encourages children to talk about what they have learnt and is a lifelong skill
Regular trips to the forest let children to experience different seasons and weather so they can discuss the changes and understand their significance. They help children understand about sharing the earth with other creatures and why we have a duty to take care of it. The vast scale and wide range of natural features inspires genuine ‘awe and wonder’ and children can hug a tree and share their thoughts in privacy
A forest school approach is important for ALL children and we incorporate much of it into our approach to the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum. However, we do not have the capacity to take all the children on off-site trips. We prioritise children based on their ‘Personal, Social and Emotional’ needs. However, if you think your child would particularly benefit from this please speak with Norah who is our Forest School Leader.
Our off-site trips include the places listed below and they are all worth visiting so get on your wellies and go foresting!
Places worth visiting
- Wanstead Park blue bell gardens in Wanstead – postcode E11 2LT
- Epping Forest – postcode IG10 4HR
- Magpie close in Forest Gate – postcode E7 9DE
- Wickwood in Hackney – postcode E9 5PF
- Explore a wooded area in a local park
Link to Forest School websites