Forest School began as a concept in Laona, Wisconsin in 1927 and has been spreading the globe since then, reaching UK shores in 1994. There are now over 150 Forest Schools and Forest School practitioners in the UK.
Forest School is a place where everybody is able to contribute something, whatever their ability or skill level. Pupils take away with them not just a memorable experience, but improved self-esteem, new skills and a greater understanding of the natural world.
What happens during a session?
To give you an idea of what to expect from Forest School sessions, a typical outline half day schedule for years 5 and 6 (9 to 11 year olds) might be:
- 9.30am: Welcome and Forest School Rules
- 9.40am: Name game – Children to think of animal or insect which begins with same letter as their name, e.g. Liz the Lion or Connor the Caterpillar. Children to make noise and action of the animal and all the group join in together
- 10.00am: In pairs, do ‘find your tree’ activity. Children are put into pairs and one of them blindfolds their partner, disorientate them and lead them to a tree. Feel tree, smell tree, make mental notes about tree. Return to group. Child takes blindfold off and has to go find their tree. Swap. Repeat with other person in pair.
- 10.30am: Split group into 3 smaller working groups to collect kindling, small wood, medium wood from around site to light our fire with
- 10.45am: Fire Safety Rules
- 10.50am: Build and light our fire. Each child to contribute something to the fire safely and choose one to light it
- 11.00am: Toasting marshmallows
- 11.20am: Make rainmakers around fire
- 11.40am: Musical activity
- 11.50am: Safely put out fire – each person to say what they have enjoyed about their day
- 12noon: Finish for lunch
For a full day session, we include other activities for 2 hours to ensure finish by 3pm. Other activities could be:
- Making fat balls for birds
- ‘Make a friend’ from what you find in the forest to keep you company on your adventure. They could make a stick person with twigs and string/wool or a pet. Can bring in paper plates and cardboard tubes
- Den building
- Fire lighting
- Bug hunting
- Wood whittling
- Making musical instruments
- Team games
- Art and craft activities
- Treasure hunts
Plus lots of other activities that may be suitable for the individual environment, for example a coastal forest school may involve collecting shells or sand art using materials on the beach.
There are so many different options that we can plan sessions to suit your needs with activities appropriate to the age group.
Don’t let the kids have all the fun!
If you’re thinking ‘Lucky kids! I wish there was Forest School when I was little!’ then why not book a Forest School session for your work colleagues or friends?
Forest School is a great way to celebrate a birthday or to get a team to work together better, so drop me a line to find out more.