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What is Forest Schools?

A presentation to answer some of your questions and give you a taste of the vision of Forest Schools. The focus of this presentation is on the Forest Schools Programme for The Plains Schools Partnership, Wiltshire, UK.

Martin Carter

on 7 August 2013

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Transcript of What is Forest Schools?

Aims of Forest Schools
Sample Lesson Plan - Week 1
Teaching Techniques
Support the development of a relationship between the learner and the natural world.
Promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners.
Offer learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.
Use a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for development and learning.
Forest Schools is adaptive and each programme has elements that reflect the individual practitioners vision, however these are some common elements:
1. Meet the group outside the woods

2. Safety talk for walk in to woods - Told with a story and series of facts inside the bothy bag.

3. Introduce boundaries using: 1,2,3 where are you? - Hide and seek style game, which sets precedent for invisible boundary and recall method for learners

4. Woodlands Bingo - Using Field Survey Council cards learners search for types of flora and fauna.

5. Meet a Tree - Game within which one child leads another child with a blindfold.

6. Forest Mandalas - Use leaves, twigs and other foraged items to create a concentric design.
Martin Carter joined The Plains Schools Partnership from the Royal Navy, where he worked as a medic with the Royal Marines Mountain Leaders. He is currently completing the practical portfolio for the Archimedes Level 3 Practitioner Award, and is excited about developing Forest Schools in this area.
A Brief Introduction
Forest Schools is a type of outdoor education where learners visit forests or woodlands, to learn personal, social and technical skills. It has been defined as "an inspirational process that offers children, young people and adults regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence through hands-on learning in a woodland environment".

The Plains Schools Partnership's Forest School's unique position will mean it has strong educational and curriculum enrichment links.

An American University Dean conceived the idea of the school forest in 1927 .
Forest Schools saw an unprecedented growth in Europe in the 50's.
The Danish imbedded the concept into their under seven curriculum.
It came to the UK in the 1990's, where it has since seen amazing growth.
July 2012 saw the creation of a regulatory body called the Forest Schools Association.
The Origins
Tool Use
Fire and Cooking
Wild Art and Crafts
Links and References




The Practitioner
This video (from the Bristol Zoo Forest School), is a good visual summary:
Learners will have the opportunity to learn how to safely use a range of forestry tools. The teaching method and techniques used within Forest Schools allows learners as young as four to master the use of a billhook, bow saw, loppers, auger and many more tools.
Regularly spending educational time in a forest environment naturally imbues learners with a desire to see these areas developed and protected. Forest Schools nurtures this biophilia (love of nature) through: teaching how to identify types of plants, trees and animals, how to conserve an area, and how to enjoy yourself in nature responsibly.
Learners will make fire with a flint and steel, roast marshmallows, boil a Kelly Kettle and even cook full three course meals on an open fire. Alongside all activities runs a strong element of learning respect and safety around the fire.
Using natural materials most Forest Schools sessions see learners walk away with a memento of their time in the woods. These activities help develop creativity and social skills.
Forest Schools employs a reactive learner-centred pedagogical approach to all its sessions. Play and choice are seen as vital to learning and development. Working from Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences Forest Schools endeavours to engage all learning preferences and dispositions.

Each session begins with a reflective practice to ensure both learners and practitioners can understand their achievements, develop emotional intelligence and plan for the future.
During a Forest Schools session much of the learning is done through play. All the games played encourage interaction with nature, and a few end with you being very muddy!
Full transcript