Visiting our ‘Future Forest’
Visiting the forest is a fun way of exploring and experiencing the environment through child initiated or child directed learning. Many children and adults are used to learning in a structured way. Visiting the forest allows learning through play and in settings not always previously experienced. There are opportunities to take risks and learn in settings with wider boundaries. Such visits fire the imagination of each individual to have a sense of awe and wonder of the natural world and achievement in their own skills.
We are lucky enough to have access to a large area of land, which we are steadily developing into a ‘future forest’. In 2019, every child in school, and many local residents, all planted a tree there; we all enjoy watching eagerly as these change and grow throughout the seasons. It is very special to think that your child will be able to visit this forest when they are grown up and still see their tree and know that they have made a difference to our village and the environment.
Where is our ‘forest’?
Our ‘forest’ is a short walk away across the main road and down a small lane. There is a huge amount of potential for learning there and our children and staff truly appreciate the opportunities available to us. It now has a storytelling area and a den building area and we look forward to it developing further as time goes on. We are even digging a pond!
Why do we visit the ‘forest’?
The forest helps to develop a range of skills including: self-awareness, respect for the environment, intrinsic motivation, communication and language, empathy, social skills, independence, a positive mental attitude, self-esteem and confidence.
Visits to the forest can enhance the children’s learning; for example we might make ‘traps’ for Burglar Bill or a house for the Three Little Pigs. In science, we might make wind chimes and in art we might make pictures from items collected there. While studying the Stone Age, we can work together to create a Stone Age dwelling, learning about materials as well as teamwork, and bringing history to life. The world is our oyster!
We have also taken part in whole school den building days, led by an expert, which have taken place on our large village field. Here children have learnt skills of team work, construction and perseverance, as well as learning about waterproofing, weather proofing and also having fun!